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#MeetthePress: @GTPaulJohnson Previews #PITTvsGT

Oct. 12, 2015

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson discussed the Yellow Jackets’ home game against Pitt with the local media on Monday morning. Saturday’s game against the Panthers will kick at 12:30 p.m. ET on the ACC Network at Bobby Dodd Stadium. 

Full audio of Coach Johnson’s Press Conference 

Opening Statement…
“Well, disappointed in where we are in the season right now.  Glad to be home and have a chance to play the next game at home.  We’ve got a lot of areas to get better at and we’ve got to keep working.  You know, we’ve got a lot of young guys that have got to keep working and it doesn’t get any easier.  The sixth-ranked defense is coming in now and it seems like we’ve played Top 15 every week in defense.  They’re a team that’s one play away from being undefeated. A 6-0 team kicked a 57-yard field goal on the last play to beat them.  So, it will be a huge challenge, but we get another opportunity to play and see if we can’t get better.”

On if the team is pressing on offense…
“It’s some of it.  We’ve played good teams. I mean, I looked out there on the field Saturday, we’ve got five true freshmen.  That’s not redshirt guys, that’s five true freshmen playing.  You’ve got the B-back, both A-backs, one receiver and an offensive tackle.  Will [Bryan] came in January, but the rest of them showed up in August.  There are going to be some growing pains now.  And you couple that with the guys who are returning aren’t playing very good up front.  So, it’s a deadly combination.”

On if there is much of a difference between Pitt’s two quarterbacks…
“Yeah, I think this guy [Nate Peterman] is more of your prototypical, quote unquote, drop-back quarterback.  The [Chad] Voytik kid was a really good runner.  Not that he wasn’t a good thrower, because he could throw, but, he was probably a little better runner than this guy [Peterman], this guy probably has got a little more pocket poise and a little more of a drop back passer than the other guy.  But, I think they both still play.”

On what led to Justin Thomas’ interception at Clemson…
“It wasn’t supposed to go to Ike [Isiah Willis]. What happened was Ike and Ricky Jeune were clearing out and we had a drag.  Really, if you watch the tape, Clinton [Lynch] came across the field, the linebacker hooks him and holds him around the waist and he couldn’t get free.  Those two guys couldn’t get out of the way.  They didn’t clear out fast enough.  I think he was throwing it to Ike. It was a poor decision.  You know, if all of that happens, pull that thing down, run with it, punt the ball and live to fight another down.  The last thing you want to do is let them score on three plays and then come back on your third play and throw an interception.  That’s not the way to start a game, especially not against the No. 6th ranked team in the country on the road.  Not a good recipe.”

On going what ‘going back to the basics’ entails…
“You go back and you practice the plays that you run and practice the offense.  When you line up, and you are trying to run an option play, and the kids can’t tell the difference between a 50 defense or a 4-3 or a 6-1, you’ve got issues.  I mean, if you can’t look and see if the guards are covered or uncovered, you’ve got issues.  So, you go just back to basics, you keep repping it and hope that they do that.  If you try to load the read-key and you load the pitch-key, you’ve got issues.  And, we’ve got to do a better job of coaching that up.”

On if this approach is similar to a preseason mentality…
“Well, I don’t know about preseason.  I think you have got to go back.  You know, the worst thing that you can do when things aren’t going well is throw the baby out with the bathwater and just panic.  We’re not bad on third downs because of the scheme.  I mean, we lead the nation and set an all-time record last year running the same plays.  We’ve got to do them at a higher efficiency and play better.  And, it doesn’t do any good to add more plays and add more stuff when you can’t do the basics of what you are doing right.

And, I think what happens is when you play good defenses, and we have, we’ve played good teams, and you have young people, and then you start trying to fix things to help.  Well this guy is not good at pulling and this guy is not good at scooping and this guy is not good at this, so we’ll try to give you a call where you don’t have to do that where we can do this.  And then what happens, before you know it, you’ve got it all jacked up.  And I look out there and I don’t even recognize it.  It doesn’t even look like what we do.”

On Gotsis’ leadership and play this season…
“Well, the last game he didn’t get to play.  He was out in the second series, but in this game he played really well.  And he was trying to be a leader as a senior.  I was proud of the way he fought and kept playing.  Yeah, he played hard.

I don’t know if we have an issue with kids playing hard.  It would have been really easy to come out and lay down in the second half now.  And they come out and played as hard or harder than they did in the first half.  So, you just have got to get it fixed.  It’s not like guys are going, ‘Oh crap,’ you know, ‘I’ve had enough.’  That’s not happening if you watch the film.  They are playing.  We are making mistakes and we are not good enough to overcome those mistakes. 

If you have got a bunch of guys who are hell-bent and running to the ball and can fly, then a guy misses a gap, well somebody else will get the guy.  Just like them, if they overran one, there are three more coming.  Or on offense, when we miss that cut, when the two slants out to a three, and we don’t cut inside, instead of gaining 40 yards, we lose two.  Well, we are not good enough to make second and 12 right now.  Or, when we go to load the read-key and we load the pitch-key and lose four yards, it’s second and 14.  We can’t overcome that.  So, we are not making any plays to overcome it.  And that’s why I say there is a small margin of error.  And, really there is a thin line between winning and losing.  You could make a case, maybe not the last game, but you could make a case in almost every other game where if a play goes this way or that way, we could have won those games.  You know, especially the Duke game and North Carolina, for sure.

And really even Notre Dame.  We don’t get the touchdown called back, that’s 16-13 in the third quarter and you’re in the game.  But, you know if ifs and buts were candy and nuts; it doesn’t happen.  You have got to make it happen.”

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