Paul Johnson Press Conference

Sept. 14, 2010

ATLANTA – Opening Statement
I am actually looking forward to getting last week behind us and getting into conference play. We were disappointed with the results last week, but we didn’t play well and things like that happen. My hat is off to Kansas, I thought their kids played really hard, they had a good plan and they came out and beat us. You hopefully learn from that and move on and we are going to plan a Carolina team that has had a lot of turmoil around it. They played hard against LSU and never really gave up and they have a lot of good players. Don’t think for a minute that they don’t have any good players left, their linebacking corps is solid and the best in the league overall, they have two inside guys on defense that have played a lot and are very good players, a quarterback that played better than I have ever seen him play in that first game and they are much improved on the offensive line. It will be a huge challenge for us to go up there and play on the road.

On North Carolina’s defensive tackles

They are good players and starters. One guy was a defensive end and they moved him inside and in the second half they actually played him back at defensive end. But they are both experienced guys and good players. Against LSU they started their true freshman, but he didn’t play very much in the second half. The other defensive end is a big kid that is about 6-6 or 6-7 and runs really well. They have some good athletes and that goes for the secondary as well. More athletic, the two safeties are young, but they held their own.

On the Kansas game
There are a lot of things, it is never is as good or as bad as it seems if you watch the tape. We just didn’t play really solid and I think that if we just played solid in any one phase it might have been enough to win the game. We really didn’t get a solid performance out of anything, special teams, defense or offense.

On Steven Sylvester

I don’t think there are any plans to put him out there on third down. He had a sack in the game Saturday where I think they turned him loose, nobody blocked him off the edge. He had one that caused a fumble, but if he hadn’t been in the nickel package I don’t think that he could have, I don’t know.

On mentally preparing for Kansas
We were talking about it as a staff this morning, the practice this week wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t that bad, we have practiced a lot worse. I think it was a couple things, Kansas is not as bad as everyone thinks that they are. They made a bunch of plays when they had to make plays. And we just didn’t play with any zip or burning desire, they wanted to win more than we did. You can’t play that way. We can’t play that way at Georgia Tech. I’ve never coached anywhere where you can play that way and win. Where you can just punch the clock. There might be a few teams out there that can do that, we cant. Bottom line we still had a chance to win, we just couldn’t make any plays when we needed to make them. Penalties, we were our own worst enemy and couldn’t get out of our own way and a lot of that has to do with being mentally ready to play.

On North Carolina’s Jheranie Boyd
We try not to focus on just one guy when we put in our plan for North Carolina. He had two big long catches and I think anytime they are able to throw the ball that far down the field like they did to him, the quarterback has a lot of time, scrambled outside the pocket and he has good speed and good ability, but we aren’t going to do anything special for him.

On the change in starters
We will probably switch some people around by the end of the week. Not just on defense, there will be different starters on a lot of teams. I don’t think you are going to see wholesale changes if that is what you are looking for, just a couple of guys on each side of the ball. From injury alone we will get Will Jackson back on offense, if he can go that is one. We are always looking at receiver and A-Back.

On preparing for North Carolina

I think you know what they do, you prepare for the schemes, not the individuals. I think that you have to match up but whoever they play at receiver has got to be a good player. It is not like they have a first round draft choice here and the guy that replaces him is a walk on. They are all pretty good players and the same thing is on defense. Coach told me one time they all came highly recommended. I am sure they are all highly recruited and sometimes you don’t know how somebody is until you see them play. The guy that was a backup might end up being better than the guy that is playing.

On Stephen Hill
Stephen had a nice play on the touchdown. I think he has the ability to be a playmaker, but I go back to my original statement, show me don’t tell me. I want to see it. You have to get it close to him so he can catch it, but he did have a chance to score another touchdown. I don’t think there is anybody who is playing that cant play better, and we need to coach better, the whole operation needs to be better.

On North Carolina Quarterback T.J. Yates
He had a great game throwing the ball against LSU, especially in the second half. I thought he played really well, was poised and had a lot of deep throws. He had a 96-yarder, a 75-yarder, they are going to add up pretty quickly when you are doing that. He played well and had a lot of poise.

On the Calvin Johnson ruling in the Detroit/Chicago game
I didn’t watch it but I saw the highlights and it looked like a catch to me.

On the injury report
Cooper Taylor is back and 100 percent. Emmanuel Dieke is back, I don’t know if he will play, but he is back. Will Jackson is back, Jeremy Moore is still out at receiver but that is going to be a four or five week thing. Roddy [Jones]is going to be ok, he may not practice today but we think he just has a bruise. If we were going to list him, we would say he is probable.

On North Carolina getting “revenge” from last year’s loss
Two year’s ago when we were up there we got beat. They pummeled us, 28-7. Last year we got some semblance of revenge and I am sure they are going to be waiting this year to get their revenge that is the way it works. I told the guys on Monday, if you don’t think every game is going to be a street fight you better rethink it because nothing is easy. Nobody is going to give you everything so you better be ready to lay down and brawl, because they will be.

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