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ACC Football Kickoff 2009

July 26, 2009

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The 2009 ACC Kickoff is being held Sunday and Monday in Greensboro, N.C. More than 250 media members from across the country are on hand to interview representatives from all 12 league schools.

Paul Johnson spoke with the media on Monday and below are some of his quotes:

On Jonathan Dwyer:
“I think Jonathan is a great kid. He’s got a lot of God-given ability – a very talented young man. He has some things he needs to work on, but the sky is the limit for him. He has all the tools.

“Jon’s got a great sense of humor. He’s the butt of all the jokes in the locker room and he takes it well. His teammates enjoy being around him and he enjoys being around them.”

On playing at Florida State:

“Any time that you go there, it’s going to be electric. Florida State has a lot of great players and has a Hall of Fame coach.”

On the second year of the Tech offense:
“We will be better this year on offense. That may not result in more points or more wins, I don’t know, but I can tell you that right now we are a better offensive football team than we were at any time last season. We may not score a point the first three weeks of the season. Jacksonville State, Clemson and Miami are good football teams. But I do think we will be better.”

What about the defense?
“We lost three good football players on defense, but I don’t know if we have any more holes to fill than anyone else. I think we have the personnel to be better on defense. We have some young guys who are excited about the opportunity to show what they can do.”

On playing Clemson:

“Clemson has great players. Defensively they have some big kids who can run. I thought they did some nice things against us last year, we just somehow managed to score a few more points. I have a great deal of respect for Clemson – they have as much talent as anyone in the league.”

On the quarterback in the Tech offense:
“The more they play, the better they become at the offense. You’ll see Josh (Nesbitt) this year, he’ll be better at running the offense.’

On special teams:
“Hopefully, they’ll be special. We worked on the return game a lot this spring. We also have to kick the ball a little better, and I think he (Scott Blair) will.”

Is Virginia Tech the team to beat in the ACC?
“Until someone knocks them off, they are. Frank (Beamer) and his staff have done a great job. We had a chance to beat them last year in Blacksburg. Had we won that game, we probably win the (Coastal Division). Who knows? That’s why you play the game.”

On keeping all those running backs happy:
“Our guys have a pretty good attitude and they probably know that’s not a good topic to approach with me. There will be some games, like the Virginia Tech game last year, when they took Jonathan (Dwyer) out of the game. Now, we didn’t do a good job of making them pay for that and we should have.”

Juniors Jonathan Dwyer and Derrick Morgan represented Georgia Tech on Sunday, head coach Paul Johnson on Monday.

Below are a few of the quotes from Dwyer and Morgan:

Derrick Morgan

On playing Clemson early in the season:
“We’re not looking past Jacksonville State, but our fans are excited for that game. It will certainly be a good test for both teams early in the season.”

What is the biggest misconception about Tech in 2009?
“One of the misconceptions is that our defensive line is going to be the weak link, and I don’t think that will be true. We lost a lot of great players, but we have some talented young guys who are going to do just fine.”

If you can’t vote for Dwyer, who is the best running back in the ACC?
“Hmm…. I’ll go with (Clemson’s T.J.) Spiller. But there are a lot of great backs in this league.”

On Jonathan Dwyer’s chance’s of winning the Heisman:
“I think it’s a legitimate possibility. If you look at how he played last year and knowing that he has another year of this offense under his belt, he’s a Heisman-type player.”

On leaving early for the NFL:
“One of my dreams in the NFL. Your junior season is important to anyone who wants to play in the NFL. It’s in the back of my mind, but my focus is on our team and helping us win games.”

Which opponent’s offense potentially will give you the most trouble in 2009?
“Well, we had a hard time stopping North Carolina last season. They are one of just several really good offenses that we will face this year.”

Jonathan Dwyer

On his preference – running over defenders or running around them:
“I guess just whatever happens at the moment. I like to make people miss and outrun people, but I don’t mind trying to run over someone too.”

Did you know last year at this time that the offense could be such a big-play offense?
“I knew we had potential to be a big-play offense, we just had to get everyone on the same page.”

What was it like to beat Georgia last season?
“Feels like a monkey jumped off of everyone’s back. It was a collective sigh of relief because Georgia had such a long winning streak over Tech.”

How fun is it to see the frustration on the faces of defenders?
“It’s great, that means the offense is controlling the game. That allows us to just go out there and play.”

What game are you looking forward to the most during the 2009 season?
“Right now we are focused on one game only, and that is the season-opener against Jacksonville State. Then we can focus on the other games. That game is going to be one of the most exciting games in Georgia Tech history. We have a new video board, new ribbon boards and a new sound system, so the fans are really going to be in it. JSU is a good team and we will be ready for them.”


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