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#MeetThePress: @GTPaulJohnson Previews #GTvsND

Sept. 14, 2015

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson met with members of the local media on Monday to talk about the #14 Yellow Jackets’ upcoming road trip to #8 Notre Dame.  Saturday’s game at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind. will kick at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC.  

Full Press Conference Audio

Opening Statement
“I thought that, for the most part, we got out of the Tulane game pretty well, injury-wise.  We got to play a lot of guys again and that is always a positive.  Now, moving forward to Notre Dame this week, certainly it is a huge step up in competition.  It is really a tough place to go in there and play.  They have a great home field advantage, a lot of tradition and some really good football players.  We are looking forward to the challenge of going in.  It will be our first road game of the year.  And we will have about 30 to 40 guys who have not traveled before, so it ought to be interesting to see how they can react to the first road game.”

On what sticks out about Notre Dame on film
“I think their athleticism.  They have got some really good individual players.  Overall, their offensive line is pretty good; they are really big and long.  Defensively, they run well.  They have got good players.  They have recruited well.  They always have good players.”

On if Notre Dame’s change at quarterback will affect how they approach the game
“Maybe a little, but, I do not think you can change much.  I am pretty sure they will just run their system.  That is what they do.  They have had a lot of quarterback run game; I do not know how much that will still be a part of it.  But, they are not going to get away from it totally because it fits his M.O.  That is what he [DeShone Kizer] was recruited for and that is what he fits.  So, they may try to rely more on the offensive line and they have got one of the best receivers in the country.  So, he has got a lot of weapons around him.”

On how the team will respond to the leap in competition after the first two games
“It is going to be a step up.  We have just have to go do our thing.  It does not matter.  It is as much about us as it is who we play.  We have got to go and be dialed in.  We were not as sharp to start this game [Tulane] as we were the first game.  The first game on the road, the older guys who have played and who have been in that situation, we need them to step to the forefront and be leaders this week.  And we need to have a great week at practice.” 

On if there is something special about playing in South Bend
“They have got a lot of tradition, a lot of history, and they have had some really good teams.  But, it is just like going to play anybody else. You have got to get ready to go play.  We never made a big deal about going there to play.  It is just like going to Clemson to play or going to somewhere else.  You will be playing against good players.  But, it ought to be fun, you ought to embrace it – a chance to compete.” 

On Patrick Skov’s and Marcus Marshall’s performance against Tulane
“Well, they played within themselves.  It is a team game.  When the guy came down, we were not blocking and took him, there is not much they can do except get to it.  It is just part of the game.  When they got a chance to run the ball, they ran hard and did some things on plays where we were going to make sure they had the ball.  But, the one good thing about this group, the last couple of years especially, we have not really had many selfish guys.  Our guys are pretty much team-oriented and they know that sooner or later it will be their turn.  And, when it is their turn, they have got to be ready.  Even if somebody is taking you every play on the option, you still have got to roll.  You have got to run up in there hard and make sure that they take you and do not come off on somebody else.” 

On when you are evaluating guys for your system, if you have a catalogue of former players that you say, `He reminds me of this guy’
“Maybe sometimes you might say that, but not really.  We just kind of recruit the way everybody else does.  We just try to find the best players and go recruit them.  We do not get hung up on height and length.  I am really bad if I see a guy who is a good player on tape, then I think he is a good player.  I do not care that he ran a 4.8 [40 yard-dash] at the combine or did not get a high Nike SPARQ score or whatever.  Sometimes you hit on guys like that and sometimes you do not.” 

“But, the biggest thing to me about recruiting, and that is why I get such a kick out of trying to rank, nobody knows how hard those kids are going to work when they get to school and how much better they are going to be.  Nobody stays the same.  They are either going to better or they are going to get worse.  And, nobody knows how hard they are going to work.  When you move up in competition, if you have always been the fastest and the biggest, but you do not have any work ethic, it is not going to work too well for you when the level moves up and everyone around you is big and fast.  I think, sometimes, we get a lot of guys with chips on their shoulder, sometimes we get the guys who are bigger and faster and they are good players. It is just kind of a combination.  But, I think that is true for everybody in recruiting except maybe for 10 or 11 teams.” 

On if Shaq Mason is one of those guys
“Sure. We had him in camp and he was bulldozing people in camp.  And we knew he was a good player and we offered him.  He worked his tail off.  He did not just come in and just go okay I got a scholarship.  I think he played with a chip on his shoulder and wanted to show everybody he was a good player.  That is a great example.  He was a guy that was 6’0 or 6’1, and a lot of people will not recruit lineman that tall.”

On the meaningfulness of Navy’s 2007 defeat of Notre Dame
“We finally won the game.  We had almost beaten them a couple of times before and we just did not get it done.  You got a monkey off their [Navy’s] back.  Then two years later they [Navy] beat them again.  Anytime you have a long streak like that it is good to win.  But, honestly, it was just a game, a regular-season game.”


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