Paul Johnson Conference Quotes

Nov. 7, 2011

ATLANTA

Opening Statement
Good morning. It’s good to be back. We are coming off a bye week, like I said last week, was well needed. I think our guys had a weekend to get recharged. I met with our training staff this morning and everybody’s good to go for practice, so that’s a positive. We should have everybody available today. A huge challenge again this week. Another top 10 team coming in; it’s a big game. We’re looking forward to it on Thursday night. We’ll go out and hopefully have a big crowd and great atmosphere, and get ready to go.

On the game Thursday against Virginia Tech
I think you just get ready to play the next game. Since I’ve been here, this game has been a big, big game every year. This game has been a big part of the division race. Again this year, if we lose we’re out of the race, so to speak, so it’s a big game for us… Historically, they’ve kind of built their team on defense and special teams and this year they’re giving up about 15 and a half points a game. Offensively, they’ve got a great tailback in David Wilson, who’s a big time player. Their quarterback [Logan Thomas] is huge, 6’6″ and two good receivers. I think they’re just a solid football team. Every year they do a good job and they’re pretty consistent, and have a good all around team.

On the team’s bye-week
I think it helps you more physically probably than mentally, just to kind of get over some bumps and bruises and some of those kind of things. Most people pick up an extra day of preparation, that’s about what you pick up. We took Monday off and then we practiced early Friday morning. We took Saturday off and so we’ll pick up a day. I think they [Virginia Tech] did it the other way. They took Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and practiced through the weekend, so they probably picked up a day or two. I don’t think it’s as big of a deal as people think it is.

Would you rather have played last week coming off the Clemson game?
It’s kind of a double-edged sword. You never really know until you play, but it can be a good time for us. If we would have played on Saturday I doubt we would have had Jay Finch back and may not have had Will Jackson back. We had a bunch of guys banged up and they’ll be good to go for this game, so it’s probably a blessing in disguise that we had this off week.

On injured offensive linemen Jay Finch and Will Jackson
I feel like they’ll be ready to go. They could get hurt today, but if we had to play today then they’d play.

On quarterback Tevin Washington’s confidence
I think it remains to be seen. Hopefully, he got some confidence back (against Clemson). I thought he did some things really well. You don’t know until you’ve played. I don’t know that Tevin has ever really lacked for confidence. But anytime you’ve played well it’s got to be a plus.

On linebacker Quayshawn Nealy’s emergence as a starter
I think just experience. He’s a redshirt-freshman, so he hasn’t played a lot. He got a lot of time on nickel and dime. When he got out on the field, he did fairly well and I think he got some confidence. He’s a good athlete. He runs around and I think he earned his playing time. He’s the starting inside linebacker.

On the playing time of center Jay Finch
We’ll see how it goes. When you get out there, we’ll see how it goes. See how it goes in practice and in a couple of days we’ll have a plan. If he can play, he’s the starter for a reason. If he’s good to go then he will give what he’s got. If not, I think Nick [McRae] came in and played really hard and we feel O.K. about putting him in if we need to.

On the game’s atmosphere
I don’t know that they’ve (the team) talked a lot about it but when you run out and the stadium is packed and the crowd is into it. You can kind of feel the atmosphere and when things started going well and the fans got behind them, I think you feed off that. Whether they’ve talked about it a lot, they know it’s there and it’s fun to play. It’s fun to be out there when that’s going on.

On Hokie quarterback Logan Thomas
I think that you’ve got to try to get him off his spot where he throws and contain him and not let him hurt you throwing the ball because he’s a good athlete and he can pull it down and run it. Rush lanes are important and you hope that he doesn’t get hot, because when he gets hot, he goes in streaks. He got hot in the Miami game and he was unbelievable. You’ve got to change some things up and not let him get comfortable and hope that you can do some things that maybe he hasn’t seen.

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