VIDEO: Paul Johnson Weekly Press Conference (Game 7 - Duke)

Paul Johnson Weekly Press Conference - Oct. 9, 2018

PREVIEW: Georgia Tech vs. Duke (Saturday at 12:20 p.m.)

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Paul Johnson Weekly Press Conference (Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018) –Click HERE for full audio.

Opening Statement

“I thought our kids played well on Friday night. Still, there [were] a lot of things we could do better. Certainly we need to improve in a lot of areas to get ready to play what I consider a really good Duke team. I think they’re experienced. They’re really good defensively and may be one of the better defenses we play for the rest of the year. Historically, the last few years, it’s kind of been a challenge. I’m looking forward to having a chance to play again on Saturday and it’s good to be back home.”

On Georgia Tech’s young linebackers and defensive backs:

“I think they’re very talented. I think there’s a good nucleus of young guys, defensively. There’s a lot of guys who probably aren’t playing who I think will end up being good players that are redshirting or whatever. They just have to be able to stay in school and keep working hard. I think some of them have a bright future.”

On whether Juanyeh Thomas is stuck behind Malik Rivera given how well he’s performed recently:

“Well, we can use Malik [Rivera] in other places when Juanyeh [Thomas] comes along. I think he’s matured and gotten to where he understands [the defense] better, especially in some sub packages and that kind of thing. We can get Juanyeh out there more.”

On how Duke’s program has changed and evolved:

“I think they’ve made leaps and bounds since I first got here. They probably have the second- or third-largest staff in the conference. I think they’ve poured a lot of resources into their program, like with their new stadium and a lot of that stuff. It was interesting just looking at the two-deep, I was looking at the defense, nine of their starters are from nine different states. I don’t think any of their two-deep on defense are from North Carolina. And I’m sure the offense would be the same, I just didn’t look at it as I was looking through the personnel. If you looked on defense, they were from Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, New York, Connecticut, California, Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Nine different states. Which tells you they have a huge recruiting base and a huge recruiting office.”

On if Georgia Tech would like to have a wider recruiting net:

“The broader the net you cast, the more people you can find. I don’t know that we would ever want to play here without kids from Georgia because the football here is really good. We wouldn’t mind having a good player from California or New York or somewhere. If we could find them and get them to come here, it would be great. We’re gaining [staff] … I think we’re trying to get it right. [Georgia Tech athletics director] Todd [Stansbury] understands it. He’s trying to get the thing right. It takes time.”

On how Georgia Tech’s offense can still improve after two-straight impressive showings:

“Well, we had 10 or 12 missed assignments. We had two or three plays that went for nothing. We miscalled a formation in a play. It wasn’t perfect. And we had to kick a field goal. So, there were things that we could’ve done better. Now, having said that, what [the offense has] been able to accomplish the last two weeks, going back to the [Bowling Green] game and then [the Louisville] game, I don’t remember that happening – maybe when I was at Georgia Southern –that we could score like that consistently. But that’s, I don’t know exactly how many possessions, but I think they’ve scored on [17-of-18 possessions]. It’s crazy. It’s been pretty remarkable.”

On if there’s any added motivation to beat Duke after last year’s game (a 43-20 loss):

“I don’t know how kids operate. I think it’s a brand-new team and it’s another game and it’s important to both teams. If you want to stay alive in the conference race, it’s a huge game for both teams. You’re just trying to win another game. You take them one at a time. They’re all hard. It’s a home game for us, it’s an important game for us, so we need to put our best foot forward.”

On whether lopsided victories have affected the perception of Tech’s pass defense:

“Maybe. You still have to play the whole game. I think that, as a whole, if you look at stats, I’ve always said you have to look at it like a body of work. You don’t go off of one game or two games. Over the span of the season, it’ll work itself out. You’ll play some teams that aren’t [going to put up big numbers in some aspect of offense] – Louisville’s pass defense is going to look real good after last week’s game, right? But what I’m saying is, if you take it over the whole gamut, over six, seven, eight games, they’re usually pretty close to what they are.”

On how it feels to think back to the first few weeks of the season after recent success:

“It’s disappointing, I’ve rehashed that to them. I’m sick of rehashing it. We should’ve won at South Florida – we gave the game away. Pitt, you have to give them credit – we played horrible in the first half. But that’s water under the bridge. I’ve said all along, let’s play out the year. I don’t know what’s going to happen from here on. But before you jump off the bus, you may as well get on the main road. You’ve got to see where the thing’s going.”

On TaQuon Marshall and the offense’s recent play versus earlier in the season:

“TaQuon did a great job in the last game with what we asked him to do as far as the fronts go. I think, too, early on, he was trying to do too much. You have to let the guys around you play. We just got outmanned against Clemson. We didn’t play well and physically they’re not the team … if you don’t play well, they’ll embarrass you. And, you know, we’ve just played better. If we’ll continue to take care of the ball and play clean and play without penalties, then we’ve got a chance to be decent on offense. If we don’t, then it’s hard.”

On 200 career victories is something he thinks about (he enters this week with 185 career victories):

“Nope, not one time. I just try to think about coaching and going out there and getting better, trying to help the kids win the game. I’ve said before, when it’s all over and done, I’ll probably sit down and take a look back and say, ‘Wow, that was a long time.’ But right now, my focus is trying to beat Duke. That’s what I ask the kids to do every week and that’s what you’ve got to do. You can’t worry about all that other stuff.”

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