Head Coach Paul Johnson Weekly Press Conference Quotes

Sept. 2, 2008

Download audio of press conference.

Paul Johnson Press Conference Quotes

Opening Statement

“First Atlantic Coast Conference game of the year… the conference didn’t do us any favors when they gave us the two conference division winners on the road in back-to-back weeks. Boston College is a very physical football team. They have nine starters returning on defense, their front guys are imposing and they are very physical. They have a couple new guys in the secondary but all in all there are a lot of guys that have played a lot of football. Offensively, they have changed their identity a little bit from last season. I think they are doing a lot more with the running game. They are running some option which they didn’t do very much of with Matt Ryan, for obvious reasons. We are not sure which model to get ready for, last year’s model or what we saw in their first game. It presents an interesting challenge for us. We have to make some improvements in our kicking game from last week. We have made that a focus, working hard on that this week and hopefully we will see some improvement there, and some improvement everywhere.”

On lack of triple option against Jacksonville State

“We ran some triple option plays. Jacksonville State did a good job of hanging on to the ball in the 2nd half, we couldn’t get them off the field. We fumbled the kickoff to start the 2nd half, so that was a possession loss, so I don’t know how many times we actually ran the triple. I think it was about eight or nine times. We didn’t do a whole lot of stuff, but that is kind of the nature of what we do. We have our base offense and we try to get better at it every week. We are not going to surprise Boston College at all. We just have to go in there and execute. They know what we are going to do. We know what we are going to do. The question is, who is going to impose their will on the other team.”

On preseason perception of offense

“The thing I found out which is so ironic is everyone figured out what we were going to do before the season started. I mean, we hadn’t played a game and I read all year we were not going to throw a ball. We may play some games we throw it 30 times, we may play some games we throw it five. It depends on how the defense is playing.”

n how young players will react to road trip

“Hopefully, we will take this thing as it is, a business trip. We are not going on vacation. We have one purpose, to go to Boston College and play a football game. You know, you fly in, you treat it like work, you play the game and you come back. As for how these young guys will react, that’s why you play the game, you’ll see.”

On possible changes in lineup for the kicking game

“We are looking at some personnel changes and we are working on it every day. We went live against the defense yesterday, we will go live today. We will continue to work and continue to evaluate what we are going to do. We have to get faster with the operation. The snapper, holder, kicker have to get faster.”

On Boston College senior quarterback Chris Crane

“I think you play to the strength of the guys that are playing. He is a big guy, he runs fairly well for a big guy, he’s got a strong arm. I’m sure experience-wise they feel like he’s a freshmen. He’s probably 22, 23 years old and he’s been here five years. His maturity level is far different than a guy coming out of high school. You know we are not going to underestimate him. We have a lot of respect for Boston College. And certainly he is very capable of beating us if we don’t go up there and play very well.”

On Focus

“I think you have to be dialed in to the game and be focused in on what’s happening out there. Its okay to make a mistake, but you shouldn’t be making the same one over and over when you get corrected. To me, it’s an intense game — it’s hard to go out there and play tough physical football when you go out there and are just like ok that was nice. Well that was a nice block. It’s just a personality thing — you have to get into the moment. We talk about being in the moment — being in the situation. If you notice guys when they get their dander up a little bit or somebody gets after them and they go a little harder, they look a lot different. We have to learn to go that way all the time. You can turn it on and turn it off when you need it.”

“There are some guys that play harder than others. We certainly pointed it out after the last game to them. Some of the older guys — I mean Daryl Richard plays hard. When I watched the tape, he plays hard. He’s played, he knows what it’s about. Michael Johnson as a general rule — he usually plays hard. He got gassed the other night and we have to help him some that way. And there are some guys on the other side that play hard. I think it’s something that is not just a sometime deal. You learn to play that way all the time. We are making progress. When we got here, I think the first scrimmage we had, we probably had 170 efforts. We cut that way down in the last game — it’s not where we need to be but we will keep working and get it down.”

On whether Michael Johnson will continue to play on all special teams

“We are going to evaluate that. He is probably not going to be on all the special teams he was on the other night. He has a different role on this football team. Michael is the type of guy that wants to play every play and he loves special teams and he’s really good at it. In years past, he was a third down pass rush guy and he was only playing 20 snaps on defense. We can’t expect him to play 40 snaps on special teams and 55 snaps on defense — it’s not going to work. We are going to have to find a way to use him to help us some on special teams, but he can’t be on all of them.”

On the grading system

“We grade everybody for effort, lack of effort, whatever you would call it — you get a technique grade and an effort grade every play. It’s different for us- every coaching staff is different in the way they look at it. At QB if you throw and they catch it and you’re not chasing the ball it’s an effort, you have to run down there anyway, you might as well run down there. And vice versa- a guy breaks a long run and you’re the right tackle, don’t lay on the ground and watch it. Get up -you never know. A great example you can point out is the other night when they didn’t call the fumble- one of Greg Smith’s catches. The ball came out as he was going down. They got eight guys around the ball, we got four. Where are our guys? They are down there -they ran down there. You never know when it’s going to happen. You never know when you may need to be there to cover the ball. You never know when somebody is going to get loose, you might get a block. Everybody doesn’t have the same ability. Some guys can run faster and some guys are bigger and some guys are quicker. But you can control your effort – you can play hard every play- that doesn’t have anything to do with ability.”

“There are guys that are trying but I think it’s a process. Guys are going to do what you make them do- that’s the bottom line. My daughter does what I make her do. I mean that’s the bottom line- like an expectation level. My goal here is after a year or two it’s just second nature. That’s just the way everybody plays because they know if they don’t we will point it out on the field and everyone will look at it and be like man you didn’t play him very hard. A lot of it becomes peer pressure or whatever, but it’s our job as coaches. Everybody thinks they are playing hard. Nobody goes out there and intentionally say I’m going to take this play off. I think if guys don’t take the right attitude they can go out there and say I’m a left tackle and the pitch is going down the right side why does it matter if I chase the ball. I’m not going to block anybody- I’m not going to get over there. As opposed to just being natural and going after the ball as hard as you can. You don’t know what’s going to happen- it might get knocked out, kicked around four or five times and a guy falls on it. Or the guy might have to reverse field and something crazy happens and you are there. So it just becomes a habit. It’s like I tell the kids on offense all the time. If the ball is down there, you got to go down there anyway. Why wait till its over to run down there? Go while it’s going and get your tail down there.”

“I think that if you play with great effort then you give yourself a chance. It doesn’t guarantee you are going to win but you definitely give yourself a chance. If you don’t play with great effort, you are probably not going to be very good. It all comes together- you have to execute but you have to play with great effort. You have to do it all together all the time to be good. I don’t care how good you are- if you don’t play with effort you will not be consistently good.”

On the depth issue

“We don’t have a lot of depth. We knew that going into the season. Strictly from a scholarship count, we are under the numbers. I’d like to redshirt as many guys as possible in the freshmen class. We are going to have our hands full so we are probably going to have to play more of them and we would like. We can dress them out and take them with us for two or three games and try to keep them from playing unless you need them. Just like Thursday night, we played one game and we may have lost two linebackers for the next game. One is out for sure and the other is doubtful. Somebody has to play. You have to have some guys step up and play.”

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