VIDEO: Paul Johnson Weekly Press Conference (Game 11 - Virginia)

Paul Johnson Weekly Press Conference - Nov. 13, 2018

Paul Johnson Weekly Press Conference (Game 11 – vs. Virginia, Nov. 17)

Opening Statement:

“Like I said after the game with Miami, I was proud with our team’s effort. I thought that we played extremely hard. Fortunately, we made a couple more plays than they did and we found a way to win the game. It’s like every game, you know; after we went over the film yesterday and reviewed it, you flush it [and] you move on. Now our focus is on Virginia, which is having a tremendous season. They have a dynamic quarterback who is as good as anybody in our league. And defensively, I’ve been really impressed with the numbers. I think they are second in the league in scoring defense. They have really put together a good season. I think their quarterback transformed their football team for them.”

On Georgia Tech’s two takeaways on special teams vs. Miami:

Pressley [Harvin III] punted the ball really well the other night and we got the one muffed kick. The other [turnover] was a really nice tackle by Tariq Carpenter. The guy had him stood up and he came in and knocked the ball loose on the kickoff and Ajani [Kerr] got it. So yeah, anytime you can get turnovers, we’ve been fortunate, we’ve gotten a lot of them this year.”

On Virginia’s improvement on defense:

I think probably just another year in the system and they’re more diverse. They do a lot of stuff. And I think their secondary and linebackers have played really well and they’ve gotten people in a lot of third downs. When they’ve done that, they’ve had some really good pressure stuff.”

On Senior Day:

I think it’s always emotional. I think it’s emotional for them. It kind of hits me when I stand out there and you see them with their parents and how quickly it goes by and flies by. In their own unique way, they all have a story. You know, some of them have come in and achieved a lot of success on the field and stuff. Others maybe haven’t achieved what they wanted to, but in any regard they have all been a big part of the program and a part of [it] moving forward. You can’t stay in a group or a family-type atmosphere for 4-5 years and not be a big part of it and not be close and drawn together. So, it’ll be emotional. And then you got to put it behind you and go play.”

On his assessment of his team 10 games into the season:

I think our football team can be a pretty good football team when we don’t self-destruct and you can probably say that about a lot of teams. I think when we have played pretty clean and we don’t have all the turnovers and the penalties, we can be a pretty tough out. When you turn the ball over and that kind of thing, it’s kind of Jekyll and Hyde. I think offensively, you could throw some stats out there. I think we’ve had the fewest three-and-outs of any team in the country. We score touchdowns on 43 percent of our possessions and we’ve done some really good things.  And at times in games we’ve disappeared for a half or turned the ball over or not done good things. And defensively you can say the same thing. We’ve been pretty good on first down. We’ve been pretty good at not giving up big plays. We’ve gotten a lot of turnovers but third down has been horrendous. When we put it all together and don’t beat ourselves, we can be a pretty tough out.”

On his thoughts on Georgia Tech’s turnaround from its 1-3 start:

You can’t quit after three games. I mean it’s like the South Florida game, we played awful and we still should have won the game. We were up 10 in the fourth quarter and that was a great example of self-destructing. We’re going back to go up 10 and we turned the ball over and then we let them score the last three or four times they get the ball. We did everything you could do in a game to lose a game. The next week at Pitt, whether it was a hangover or not, but we disappeared for the first half, really on offense and defense. Neither was really good in the first half. And then we played Clemson and everyone thought the sky was falling. And low and behold, if you go back, we probably played Clemson about as good or better than anyone has, other than Syracuse, who got to play against their walk-on freshman quarterback for a few quarters. It’s like I tell the team, ‘It’s never as good or as bad as it seems in anything,’ and I think that’s probably the rule with this team. We probably weren’t as bad as people thought early and as you go through, games are hard to win. You go through and look at our games now. North Carolina is 28-28 in the fourth quarter you could have lost that game. We certainly could have lost the game the other night [against Miami]. There are very few teams in America that are going to show up every week and blow people out. There’s too much parody in college football. When you play clean and make plays, you have a chance to be successful and if you don’t, the other thing happens. This league is so balanced that, it’s like I said at the start of the year, other than Clemson, everyone is pretty similar. And if you don’t play well you can lose. Just kind of the way it is.”

On Georgia Tech’s offensive line:

“It took a while to get healthy and to get the five [starters] out there. We’ve got probably 6-7 guys we’re playing. There’s probably four of them that are pretty consistent. And then sometimes it’s hit or miss with the other three. You know sometimes they’re good, sometimes you just have to find the right combination. I think that Parker Braun has been good all year. He’s a good player. You can kind of count on him. The rest of those guys, you look at the tackles, once we got settled in with Zach [Quinney] and Andrew [Marshall], once Andrew was healthy. And then Jahaziel [Lee] is out there where he played a few years ago, which helps. That’s kind of where he is at. And then the other guard has kind of been Connor [Hansen] and Brad [Morgan], a kind of [rotating] role in there and that’s kind of been a work in progress. It’s kind of like who’s playing better when they’re going in there?”

On the offensive line’s energy:

I’ve never seen Parker [Braun] not be energetic. I think he just likes to play. In practice it’s just like ‘whoa.’ It’s never ‘go’ with him its ‘’whoa.’ I guess Andy [Marshall] is older, he is a senior. Andrew has never been a problem in practice. He’s one of those kids that’s going be where he’s supposed to, do what he’s supposed to. In the time that he’s been here, I don’t know if he’s ever been in my office for anything. Parker has never missed a class since he’s been here. Never missed a breakfast check. They are just those types of kids. They are not problem children.”

On if Braun and Marshall’s energy is infectious:

“I guess. We haven’t had a problem with practice all year. I mean truthfully, practice is kind of is what it is. You know, there might be a day you have to yell at them. In 40 years I’ve never coached a team that wasn’t like that. But for the most part, practice has been okay. These kids work. They don’t complain.”

On walk-on seniors Cheyenne Hunt and Melvin Davis:

Guys like Cheyenne [Hunt] and Melvin [Davis] are invaluable. I mean, people don’t get to see them play but they are a huge part of the team. Melvin is kind of always holding court every day in stretch in practice. I joke with Melvin, I walk by him twice a week and ask him if he’s still here. I go, ‘You’re still here?’ And we have a good time going back and forth but he takes a ton of practice reps early [and] he’s been on the scout team. Guys like that are invaluable. Cheyenne has always been on the scout team ever since he’s been here and even as a senior, we don’t normally put seniors on the scout team, [but] he wants to go to the scout team because he wants to play. And he knows he probably isn’t going to play on the other field. So, to do what they do and balance, I think Cheyenne has got probably a 3.8 grade point average and all those kinds of things, they’re fun to have on the team because again, they are guys that never come across my desk for anything. Everything that they do is usually positive. And they are a big part of the team. You’ve got to have those guys. And it’s really hard to get walk-ons here.”

On if there is personal satisfaction in rebounding from 1-3 start to become bowl-eligible:

My expectations were certainly not to go 6-4, I can tell you that. They never are. But once we got started 1-3 to dig yourself out and we still got a couple of games left … This is a big game on Saturday. If we can clinch a winning season and get to seven and then you got two games left. I guess as a coach, you don’t really get into all of that. You kind of take the next game and try to help the guys win. It’s kind of like I said, as a season or career or whatever, there is plenty of time to look at that when it’s through. You don’t have time during the season. You’ve got to get ready for the next game”.

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