Paul Johnson Press Conference Quotes

Sept. 17, 2013

Opening Statement:

“I was proud of our team on Saturday. I thought we did a lot of things well. We still have a lot of things to work on in different areas. But overall any time you can go on the road and win like that you have to be satisfied. This week, I think the competition level ratchets up a little bit. North Carolina was picked in the preseason to be one of the top teams in our division. They’ve got a returning quarterback that is a great player and a good set of skill guys. Their tight ends are as good as anyone’s in the country. Defensively they seem to be playing better this year than they were a year ago. They’re running around making plays so it’ll be a big challenge for us on Saturday.”

On past success against North Carolina…

“I think we just take it like any other game. We try to get ready to play them like we do anybody else. We don’t do anything different.”

On North Carolina’s running backs…

“Romar Morris is a very fast guy who we tried to recruit here. A.J. Blue is more of a physical 215-220 pound back who breaks tackles but also has good speed. He was a high school quarterback that we tried to recruit at Navy. They complement each other well and give their team a good dimension or changeup. They’ve got another young guy in Khris Francis who’s quick, fast and maybe not quite as big as either of the other two, but more explosive.”

On the four passing touchdowns against Duke…

“We we’re just trying to call plays against what the defense was doing. They were rolling down hard trying to stop the run. We were able to hit some wheel routes. The guy ran by the guy that he was blocking. It’s not something we put more emphasis on and hadn’t put enough emphasis on in the past. We always look out there and see how the defense is playing and then try to run the best play that gives us a chance. Saturday, it just so happen, that a lot of it was in the red zone. We haven’t thrown a lot down there and the opposing defense probably wasn’t expecting us to throw down there. I think Vad can throw the ball. He settled down though. At one point, I think he was one for seven to start the game. And then he got settled in a little bit.”

On the diamond formation in the offense…

“It takes the line off the line of scrimmage. It doesn’t hit as fast, but you don’t have to get the movement. We only ran three plays out of it, but we’ve got more plays. Will we see it Saturday? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on how they [North Carolina] play.

On cut blocking rule changes and the diamond…

“Our guys are attached to the tackle anyway so they can block from the slot back position. It gives you better angles sometimes, especially if you are trying to get linebackers. You have a little better run angle and you’re running downhill, but it doesn’t hit as fast. There are tradeoffs both ways. A lot of it depends on how the defense is playing. I think it’s a good package to have in our offense, but it’s not an offense unto itself. We don’t want to be a team that lines up in that every snap.”

On whether this year’s North Carolina game will be lower scoring…

“I don’t ever try to figure out how the game is going to go. It could go 6-3 and that would be fine if we had six. They’re very good offensively and I don’t know that you’re going to be able to hold them down like that. Usually when you think it’s going to be high scoring, it is 10-7 or 6-3 or something like that. Who knows what’s going to happen? Last year we had a kickoff return and we had a short field. They also had a pick six and scored on defense. Sometimes when you get crazy scores like that it adds up quickly.”

On other team’s having success against North Carolina by controlling the ball…

“I don’t think it is so much time of possession. You’re not zeroed in on that, you’re zeroed in on third downs. You try to stay on the field and try to stop them on thirddown. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go, if you’re not making first downs you’re not going to be out there. Now when they get that thing humming and they’re in rhythm and they’re making first downs, they can wear you out. Anybody can when they’re moving that fast. Just like our offense can too when we’re converting first downs and holding the ball for eight minutes. It’s the same deal. If you ask kids would you rather play no huddle or be out there for eight minutes, I don’t know what answer you would get, so both are effective if you can stay on the field and do it correctly.”

On North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron…

“He’s a really good player. He’s probably an NFL guy. He’s versatile enough to where they can split him out when they’re in 12 personnel. In fact, they’ve got two good tight ends. So when they’re in 12 personnel they can split both of them out wide and still run their offense. We’ve just got to play our scheme and try to get guys around him and get pressure on the quarterback. He’s going to make his plays. He’s a good player and you’re not going to shut him out.”

On North Carolina Quarterback Bryn Renner…

“You’ve got to get ready to play them like you do every team. You put together a plan defensively, practice it, and then you go out there and do it. We won’t change the way we practice or the way we play. You’ve got to get your system and then try to execute at a high level. There’s nothing magical you can do to where you say `ok they’ve got a great quarterback so we’ve got to change this or that.’ You try to change coverage and to get pressure at times. Hopefully you can get pressure with a four man rush. You’ve got to get them into some third and longs. They’re a big screen team and a lot of their passes are quick games and screens so it’s hard to get pressure when they’re doing that.”

On Vad’s performance against North Carolina last year…

“I wouldn’t say necessarily that he was hot. I would say that he was fortunate in that he hit a couple of plays. Last year we had Darren Waller behind them [the secondary] and we threw it where he could catch it. Last week we had Darren behind them and we threw it over his head. On the pass to Robbie [last year], Robbie made the play around three guys and brought it down. Vad broke some tackles scrambling. He made some things happen. If you back and look at last year, they would probably tell you that their biggest problem last year was missed tackles. They missed a lot of tackles. There were plenty of times where they had guys with opportunities to make plays and our guys either made them miss or broke the tackle.”

On Justin Thomas’ playing time…

“Yes, nothing’s changed there. We had the ball three times in the second half three times last week. And that’s another thing those eight minute drives will do for you. The game is over really quickly. I’ve said all along that it’s about situations and Justin has continued to work hard and I have no problem putting him in the game if it warrants that. I didn’t see a reason last week to put him in the game. I’m not going to put him in, just to put him in. That’s usually not the way I do things.”

On Shawn Greene’s availability and impact…

“He is good to go this week. Shawn played a lot of football last year and I think he has shown himself to be a guy who can go in there and give you some snaps. What kind of football shape is he in? I don’t know. Coach Pelton will probably base his rotation and how much he plays off of how much he practices, I would assume. And I’ll leave that up to Coach Pelton. He is the guy who works with them every day. If they’re making firstt downs, holding on to the ball, and making a lot of plays, the more guys you got the better.”

 

 

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