Quotes From Tuesday's Paul Johnson Press Conference

Dec. 2, 2008

ATLANTA – Paul Johnson Press Conference Quotes

Dec. 2, 2008

Opening statement

“I’m excited about the win on Saturday. I was really happy for our fans and the team, and for the way our guys played in the second half. They came back and really played well. Now we are jumping into the recruiting phase of it. We have coaches on the road today. They will be out all week, and we will do some home visits before taking a couple of weeks off. We will come back December 12 and prepare to play. Right now that is our plan unless we are thrown a curve ball in the bowl selection that causes us to play earlier.”

How does the win over Georgia on Saturday impact the recruiting this week?

“I’m sure it won’t hurt but I don’t think one game makes as big of a deal in recruiting as some people make it out to be. We have a pretty good idea who we feel we are going to get and who is on the fence, so certainly that game didn’t hurt us, but I don’t think it will make a huge difference on anyone we are recruiting.”

After spring practices, how did you foresee your season going?

“It sounds like somewhat of a cliché but I don’t ever look past one game. I try to take it one game at a time. I knew after spring practice was over that there were a lot of things we had to get better at, and my main focus was to not get embarrassed by Jacksonville State (in the season opener). I wanted to go out there and try to win that game. You go from there to Boston College and then to Virginia Tech, and you can see we didn’t have an easy schedule to start out with on the road in the league. We played the two teams that are playing in the ACC Championship game back-to-back on the road as our first two league games, so we really just took it one game at a time.”

Does the possibility of going to the Chick-fil-A Bowl (and playing in Atlanta) take away from the experience of having a road bowl game?

“I don’t think so. When I coached at the University of Hawaii, we played in the Aloha Bowl, and for a lot of the guys, when we went down to Waikiki and checked in the hotel, it was like being anywhere else. Here we would do the same thing. We would check in the hotel and participate in the regular bowl-game stuff, and I’m sure it would be great. If we do go somewhere else that would be fine, too. We are just excited to be in a bowl game and are looking forward to playing wherever we go.”

Do you think being the highest ranked BCS team that you should get the first pick of the bowl?

“I have a hard enough time coaching my team. I’m not going to be the bowl committee guys. They will take who they feel they need for their bowl game and we will see. As I said before, I try not to worry about things I don’t have much control over and I don’t have control over that, so we will just let it play out and see what happens.”

What does it mean to be the overwhelming favorite to win coach of the year?

“I think it is an honor for our football program and our coaching staff and players. As a head coach you accept the award on behalf of the football program and certainly Paul Johnson didn’t win that award by himself. It was a great group of assistant coaches and players. There are a lot of great coaches out there in the ACC, so it is humbling to win the award.”

If having a layoff will help the team heal?

“I think it will. We have been going very strong since the last week of July and first week of August, so I think it is good for those guys to step back and get away from it for a little while. It will also be good for our coaches to have a chance to get out on the road and start doing something else. We are deep into recruiting as opposed to being deep into film and game planning. We will have time for that when we get started.”

What were the days like after the win over Georgia?

“It wasn’t that much different from any other game. I didn’t come in early Sunday morning because it was the last game of the regular season. I received a few more e-mails from alumni and fans, but honestly you probably get more e-mails when you lose from people telling you what you should have done. For me, it just wasn’t different that any other game.”

On Cooper Taylor and Rashaad Reid stepping up as freshmen this year?

“They are both great players and we are excited about them. There is no question they will get better with more experience but they both went in and played well. They got a lot of snaps this year and they did some good things for us.”

What Jonathan Dwyer has meant to the program this year?

“I am really proud of Jon. He has a lot of talent and is a very gifted young man from that aspect. We didn’t have a lot of depth behind him, and he didn’t miss a game or hardly any practices, so his work ethic, durability and toughness were very impressive to me. I think Jon is going to continue to get better. He has some things he can work on but he is a very talented man and I think he deserves to be named ACC Offensive Player of the Year. He is certainly was as good as anyone I saw in the league.”

How much better can the offense get?

“We can get a whole lot better. We can get better at almost every area offensively in terms of execution. We can get better at our reads, our steps and fundamentals. We will get more of it in and understand our schemes better. We have to be able to throw the ball better, and that goes back to protection and route-running. We will have a spring to work on that stuff. I would love to get some of the run and shoot stuff in that we didn’t have a chance to get in. So, as you can see, there are a lot of things we can get better at. I feel like we have only scratched the surface on offense. I didn’t think we were very good on offense this year from my standards and I think we can do better.”

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