Paul Johnson Press Conference

Oct. 12, 2010

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ATLANTA –

Opening Statement
“It is good to be home again, like I said last week it’s always good to play a home game. Now that we have won a couple games in a row, hopefully we can continue to get better and try to gain some momentum going into the rest of our conference schedule.”

“Middle Tennessee is an interesting team. They have some really good players and have won a lot of games over the last couple of years. They won 10 games a year ago and just got their quarterback back last week for the first time all year. He presents a lot of problems. He is definitely a very good player and has good speed. There are a lot of kids from the state of Georgia on their squad, two dozen or so, and I am sure they are going to come in and be highly motivated to play. Hopefully, we will be ready to play and we will see some improvement and progress as we move forward and get ready to play our last half of the season.”

On the team’s first half performance
“The record assesses the performance — it was ok for four weeks and not so good for two. We can still play our best game, so hopefully that is in front of us.”

On having the top two rushers in the ACC
“Both of those guys [Joshua Nesbitt and Anthony Allen] are good players and they are coming off of good games, so we will see how it unfolds as the year goes on. I don’t get caught up in all of that stuff. We have been doing this for a very long time and I stand by what I said: at the end of the year that position [B-Back] will be over 1,000 yards for whoever gets the reps and Joshua had over 1,000 last year. It is what it is.”

On the outside linebacking corps
“I think like anything, the more they play, the better they are going to get at it. Certainly the defense is geared towards them. Anytime you are playing a 3-4 the linebackers should be making more tackles and more stands than the inside guys that are trying a two-gap. The more they play, hopefully the better they get.”

On Joshua Nesbitt
“He is a good player. He is versatile and I think what we do really fits him well.”

On redshirting players
“You would like not to [play guys for just a few snaps in their freshman year]. I tell guys in recruiting, if you are good enough to play and you are going to play meaningful snaps, then we are going to play you and that is what you try to shoot for. We have had a few guys in the last couple of years that we probably should have redshirted them, but as a head coach sometimes you get talked into it. `I have to have this guy, we are going to use him.’ Then you get halfway through the season and the kid has played five snaps other than special teams. Once you make that decision, and you do it the first game, you are locked in and there is no going back from there.”

“I try to be as forceful and as straight-up. If you have a guy that is going to help you win now, you have to take that into consideration as well as taking their best interest into consideration. Sometimes you factor in academics, (or) if you think a guy might be an NFL type player and could be three-and-out. There is not an exact science, you just have to think best case and sometimes the kids just don’t progress like you think they would. If you are thinking that they are close to playing that first game, you think by game four or five they will be ready to play and sometimes they aren’t, but you cant go back.”

On the need to create more turnovers on defense
“It is a function of a lot of things. You have to get more guys around the ball and try to knock it loose. We work on it every day. Sometimes you have to be fortunate and just be at the right place at the right time. But it is something that we have addressed and talked about that we have to be better in that area, whether it is taking care of it, or taking it away. It is going to be a big stat down the stretch. Maybe it is the law of averages and it’s going to catch up with us and we’ll get some.”

On the Middle Tennessee’s offense
“I think they are going to throw the ball. They play at a fast pace and can spread you out. They couldn’t run the ball very well against Troy. They are going to throw the ball; [Dwight Dasher] is probably going to throw it a lot anyway even if they have success running. It is what they do.”

On preparing for the ACC schedule at the end of the season
“We are just trying to get better and build momentum. We tell the team all the time: you never stay the same, you get better or worse. Hopefully you don’t take a step back, you keep growing. Even in the NC State game, defensively we got better at Wake Forest. We are not where I would like us to be but we played better. The same thing offensively last week. It is not where I would like to be but it was better than it had been. You just keep working and trying to progress and see what happens.”

“You don’t approach this game any differently than the last game; you have to approach them all the same. The next game is the biggest game of the year because it is the next one. You can’t worry about the end of the year, you have to worry about Middle Tennessee because if you lose that, it takes the luster off the next one.”

 

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