Paul Johnson Press Conference

Sept. 7, 2010

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ATLANTA – Head Coach Paul Johnson’s Opening Statement
We are getting into our routine this week and back into the game week where yesterday was a lot of error correction, introduction, conditioning and we will go out today and tomorrow and have a good practice with pads. Try to polish it up on Thursday and get ready to go to Kansas for the first road game of the year. We have a lot of young guys that haven’t played on the road so that will be an experience for them and we expect to get Kansas’ best shot as they come off of last week. I am sure they are going to, like every team, make a lot of improvement from game 1 to game 2. I feel like they gave the game away with turnovers and mistakes and it should be a heck of a game. We are also playing someone from the Big XII and we haven’t done that since I’ve been here.

On the defense’s problems
We have our own problems on defense. We played better in the second half but we have to do better against the run and we didn’t get a lot of turnovers last week, but we turned it over a couple of times. That aspect we are more worried about Georgia Tech than we are about the other team. We have to focus on getting better as a football team.

On making adjustments on defense throughout the game
You play the game as it comes. That might be way overrated, I think it still comes down to; you have to get off blocks you have to tackle people and get into the right gaps. We had a lot of missed assignments as you would expect the first time out, guys playing different positions. The one thing that is scary is that you had four weeks in camp and two weeks to get ready for that opponent and this week you have three days. We have to make sure that we get down on that. The best way to win is not to lose, you can’t beat yourself. When kids are getting their butt whipped it is always the scheme, or they need to make an adjustment. Sometimes they just need to man up and make a play. You are not going to have two guys every time unblocked go and tackle somebody, you need to wade through a blocker and make a play. Same thing on offense, you need to block people. It is too easy to say, we did this and that helped, what we need is to play a little better.

On having everyone available to play
I don’t know. We get Robert Hall back, I think [Emmanuel] Dieke is probably still out, we will try to make an assessment on Will Jackson here tomorrow. Coop[er Taylor] we will see how that is going. Those are the only people that I can think of.

On the ACC/Big XII matchup
I am sure that someone might point it out. To me everybody fends for themselves. If you look over all of the conference, we only lost two games in the first week, that’s pretty good if you have 12 teams playing. Both games that the conference lost certainly Virginia Tech had every chance to win the game and from what I hear so did North Carolina. It is a lot better than a year ago the first week. People are going to think what they want to think anyways.

On the decision of who will be the starting safeties
I think that they all had some positives and all had things that they could do better. The things that we see when we watch the tape is that we had some missed assignments back there that could really hurt us and give up big plays. We will evaluate it again this week and could have two different guys starting. The guys that play the best and practice the best are starting.

On the Tech pass rush
You’ll never get the quarterback when they are in the shotgun and they are throwing underneath them, its just catch and throw. I thought we got some pressure at times, got our hands up and on a couple of balls, you will be able to tell more about the pass rush when guys are conventional seven step drops and they are holding the ball a little bit. I think the [SC State] kid got sacked only three or four times all of last year.

On the Kansas offense/defense
I think we have an idea of what Kansas will play defensively. Their defensive coordinator was at Mississippi State a year ago when we played them. You watch the tape and they are playing the same defense, not really any drastic change. Offensively, you know what Turner [Gill] did at Buffalo, you know what Chuck Long did at San Diego State and you saw what they did last week, everybody does the same thing so its no revelation to me. We just need to stop the run and that is the way that we need to play football. My experience through the years, you stop the run and you run the ball you are going to win more than you lose.

On Nesbitt’s passing game
It is what it is. I think there are games that he is going to throw the ball really well, and he has in the past, and there are games where he may struggle sometimes. What you hope is if he struggles, it is a game that you don’t need to throw it. I really believe that we could have won the game on Saturday not ever throwing the ball. We have played a lot of games that way. We are going to be more efficient, but six attempts is a pretty small sample size to announce something dead. Especially when one guy dropped, one was a pass interference, it wasn’t that big of a deal to me. Would I like to see him throw a couple of balls better? Yes. But I have seen the kid and he can throw the ball. If you are waiting for him to complete 70 percent of his passes you are going to be waiting a long time.

On Orwin Smith
Orwin has a chance and is probably going to start this week. He isn’t perfect on everything, but if he has a good two days of practice he is starting. I think he plays a little harder than the other guys. Part of it is effort and playing hard, he has to have a better understanding of what to do all the time, but he’s a talented kid. He is as good a runner as every one else, he can catch the ball. If he plays harder then he is going to be the guy to start and play.

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