VIDEO: Paul Johnson Weekly Press Conference (Game 10 - Miami)

Paul Johnson Weekly Press Conference - Nov. 6, 2018

Paul Johnson Weekly Press Conference (Game 10 – vs. Miami, Nov. 10)

Opening Statement:

“Fortunately in the North Carolina game, we found a way to come back and win the game. I felt like we had the game pretty well in hand but then we lost focus a little bit there and, to their credit, they came out and seized the momentum, but we did enough in the end to win. Certainly, we’ll have to play better this week against a very athletic team in Miami. I think they’re second in the nation in total defense and first in tackles for loss, way up there in scoring defense. They’re really athletic and run well and offensively, they’ve got a lot of good athletes. Whenever they put it together, they’ve got a chance to explode.”

On comparing Miami’s quarterbacks:

“One’s a fifth-year senior [Malik Rosier] and the other is a redshirt freshman [N’Kosi Perry]. One’s more experienced. I think Perry is very talented; he can sling it. He’s a good athlete. But so is Malik Rosier. He was the quarterback when they were 10-0 a year ago, right? It doesn’t matter, they’re going to run their system and they do what they do.”

On if there’s a rivalry between him and Miami head coach Mark Richt:

“Not really. I mean he and I are kind of offensive coaches, so it’s a little different. Our teams, as head coaches, have played each other but we’ve really kind of gone against the guys on the other [defensive] side as far as calling plays and those sorts of things.”

On Georgia Tech’s No. 1-ranked rushing offense (377.0 ypg):

“I think that we’ve just kind of played. We haven’t thrown the ball much so therefore, you’re going to run it more. When we haven’t gotten penalties and stopped ourselves, we’ve been pretty efficient running the ball. I think it’s kind of the nature of the beast; it’s kind of what you do.”

On Anree Saint-Amour’s success this year:

“I thought he would be a really good player, but I don’t know that you’d ever know that he was going to have those kinds of sacks and tackles for negative plays. I think he’s a good fit for what we do defensively.”

On what has been different from 1-3 start to winning 4-of-5:

“Up until the last game, at least on the road, we’ve done a better job of taking care of the ball and the penalties and those types of things. We just executed a little better. It’s not like we’ve added new stuff or doing whatever. We’re just playing a little better. And I really think that most everybody in our league is pretty similar with exception to one team, who’s clearly better than everybody else. So we’ve won the games, but we could’ve won the two league games we lost. We just turned the ball over and didn’t make plays.”

On Georgia Tech doubling its takeaways (20) from last season (10):

“When you’re more aggressive, you probably get more takeaways. It’s like I said before the season, I think sometimes we take something and kind of run with it and it’s usually somewhere in the middle. I think that we’ve probably gotten a few more negative plays and a little more pressure. And sometimes you go through years where they throw it to you and sometimes they don’t. It happens. If you go back and look, I think [defensive coordinator Nate Woody]’s had a pretty good history of creating turnovers with what they do. So I certainly don’t want to diminish that, but at the same time, I can promise you that we’re not doing anything in practice that we didn’t do before. I think it could maybe be a function of getting a little more pressure, but still, our sack numbers are not very good. But we do have more tackles for loss.”

On Georgia Tech’s slow start this season:

“They schedule wasn’t bad to start out. The second game of the year [at USF] just killed us. There’s no way we should lose that game and we go down there, find a way to let them return two kicks for touchdowns, then we find a way to fight back and go up 10 in the fourth quarter and then they still come back and win. I’m not taking anything away from them, they played well. And then we go to Pittsburgh and we no-show offensively and can’t make a third down and we get ourselves so far down, we can’t come back. Then the next game against Clemson, who we’d have to play really, really well to beat. So you start out 1-3, so you’re digging right from the start and everybody wants to bury you anyway, so it sort of just compounds.”

On where Georgia Tech’s defense can improve:

“Third downs. Sometimes it seems like we’re better at third-and-3 than we are third-and-12. I think that probably anytime that you put something new in, the run fits probably come a little easier than back end and we have new guys in the back end. I’ll give you a great example: in the first series of the game the other day [at North Carolina], the first third-and-long, we’ve got a guy who’s supposed to drop underneath one and he rushes. If he drops underneath one, then you’re off the field. It’s just those types of things that unless you know the call or what’s going on, you don’t really realize what’s happened.”

On if tough losses get easier the longer you coach:

“I don’t think they ever get easier. It’s like I’ve said before, I can remember the ones we’ve lost far more than the one’s we’ve won. It’s just like Miami, they were talking about games and the one I remember was the one here [at Bobby Dodd Stadium] when Tevin [Washington] was the quarterback [2012]. I can remember that like it was yesterday because we were up seven and we had the ball at midfield and it was fourth-and-1 with about 1:30 or 1:40 to go – there wasn’t much time. And I wanted to go for it and we didn’t, I got talked out of it, which was probably right. Four plays later, they score and we’re in overtime. Then we get in overtime and we get down on the goal line and we’ve got fourth-and-6-inches and we check a play and run a different play and lose the game. Games like that are the ones that are tough to let go because I keep thinking, ‘I should’ve went for it on fourth-and-1 because if I make the first down, then the game’s over.’”

On the biggest factor in Georgia Tech’s rushing success this season:

“Honestly, I think if you go back and look, I don’t know that it’s a whole lot different. I think we’ve run the ball more. I think if you go back and look at average per rush, it’s probably been close most of the time unless you were behind and throwing it. Typically, we probably throw the ball 15 times a game. But with the nature of how we’ve played the last few – and a couple of those games, [like] the Louisville game, there was no reason the throw the ball. Some of those games, especially Virginia Tech, once you get up, there’s really no reason to throw the ball. So it’s just kind of happened.

“The key is making first downs because you stay out there. We made 35 first downs at Virginia Tech and it was so unusual for our football team, we never had a play over 20 yards. Now contrast that with Saturday at Chapel Hill, we had a ton of plays over 20 yards. What we were able to do, is we were able to stay within third-and-3, third-and-4 and we could convert the first downs. So if you do that and make 35 first downs, you’re going to accumulate some yards.”

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