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#MeetThePress: @GTPaulJohnson Previews #VTvsGT

Nov. 9, 2015

Georgia Tech head football coach  met with the media on Monday morning to discuss the Yellow Jackets’ upcoming Thursday night game against Virginia Tech. Kickoff at  Stadium is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Full Audio of Coach Johnson’s Press Conference 

Opening Statement
“Well, it seems like the bye week came at a good time.  We were certainly beat up.  It gave us a chance to get three or four guys a few days off and hopefully get back healthy.  We’ll see today who all we’ve got practicing when we get started.  Hopefully we’re going to have a few more guys back and even the guys who were playing were beat up so they’ll be healthy.  The Georgia Tech – Virginia Tech game have always been hard-fought, close games for the most part.  Certainly, it’s what we’ll expect to see on Thursday night.  We don’t expect to see anything different.”

On if he can remember a Virginia Tech team without Frank Beamer and his lasting legacy
“No, I can’t.  I can’t.  I mean, he’s been there forever.  Certainly what he has accomplished there is Hall of Fame material.  I’m sure that he’ll be in the College Hall of Fame.  Well deserved.   I think if you go back and look at all that he’s accomplished, in today’s world, you wonder if they would have let him accomplish that.  But, he’s been a fixture in the ACC and I think he’s probably as respected or more respected than anybody in our profession as a head coach.  So, certainly the game of football is going to miss him.”

On what’s been his experience getting to know Frank Beamer on a personal level
“Well, I’ve probably gotten to know Frank a little more through the golf outings and stuff like that.  He’s got a home at Reynolds [Plantation] and that kind of thing.  I think he’s just a genuine person.  What you see is kind of what you get.   He’s competitive.  Very competitive.  Most people in this profession are.  I think that he’s always tried to do things the right way.  He’s certainly built Virginia Tech. I think people would agree that the football program has been outstanding.  And you have to give him credit.  It wasn’t necessarily like that when he went there.”

On if any previous Virginia Tech games stand out to him
“You remember the ones you lost.  I remember a few years ago here we had them backed up and got a crazy penalty and went on to figure out a way to lose the game.  Of course it looked they had us beat up there a year ago and we found a way to win the game.  It has just been kind of some hard-fought, crazy games.”

On what stands out offensively for Virginia Tech
“Well, their quarterback has been injured.  He’s just now getting back so they’re kind of running a myriad of offenses.  When they had the other kid in there playing it was more run-oriented.  So, now it’s kind of a combination of both.  But, I think their receivers and tight ends are pretty good players.  The [Travon] McMillan kid has started to run the ball well.  The tight ends I think are good players.  The [Bucky] Hodges kid is a hard matchup guy.  But, I think that would probably be the key. 

We’ve got to play better against the run.    If we don’t play better against the run it doesn’t matter what anybody is going to do.”

On if playing Thursday night at home will give the younger guys some energy
“Well, I was talking with the staff this morning.  I think if you look at this year, we’ve probably played a little better at home.  We didn’t win the North Carolina and Pittsburgh games, but we probably played a little better.  So you hope.  I mean its Thursday night, national television, home game, you would hope that you would be geared in to play.  And playing a team, while this year it’s not going to happen, every year but one since we’ve been here, the winner of this game had won the Coastal Division.  So it’s as much of a rivalry as anybody we play.  Or it has been since I’ve been here. “

On how important it was for Justin Thomas physically to have a break this past week
“I think it was important for everybody on the team.  I mean, you’ve played nine-straight games nine-straight weeks.  It’s been physical and he’s taken some shots.  But, I think anytime you play for nine-straight weeks everybody is going to be beat up on this level.  And especially the young guys, even the lineman are beat up.  They’re trying to play, but they’re beat up.  So, it was good to give everybody a couple of days off and we rested a lot of people the latter part of this week.  So, today will be the first practice for a lot of our guys.”

On what his thoughts are on this year
“I haven’t thought anymore about it than I would have last week.  I try to do like I tell the players, you try to take it one game at a time and focus in on that.  And that’s pretty much what I try to do.  If you look back, yeah it’s frustrating.  This is new for me too.  I haven’t gone through one of these.  So it’s frustrating me.  You either keep playing or you quit.  I’m not going to quit.  And I think the majority of our guys aren’t going to quit.  So you just kind of keep plugging along and bring the freshmen along.  They don’t know any different.  You know, they’re still just playing.  And it’s been frustrating for everybody.  I’m sure it’s frustrating for them. 

I think it’s a great example in ‘don’t believe everything you hear.’  You know, you get hung up in listening to everybody else and you forget how you got there.  And, having said that, if’s and but’s, you know.  But you could make a case that this team could easily be 6-3 just like its 3-6.  It wouldn’t have to be turned very hard.”

On if this year makes the past seasons sweeter
“Well, winning is hard.  It’s like I’ve said, winning is hard.  You know, all you’ve got to do is watch.  I got a chance to watch college football this past Saturday.  And again, it’s like I’ve said before, outside of 10 or 12 teams, anybody can beat anybody on a Saturday.  I mean the margin is very razor-thin.  And if things don’t go well, or you don’t get a break, or the calls don’t go your way, or whatever, there are very few teams that are good enough to overcome that week in and week out.  Now there are a few.  But, very few.  So, that’s what makes the game fun and great.  If you knew who was going to win every time before you went to play, it wouldn’t be as exciting or whatever.  I think that yeah, last year was a great year.  You win 11 games and win a BCS bowl game and beat your instate rival, yeah, that probably hasn’t happened here a lot.  But, certainly that’s the goal every year.  That’s what we are trying to do and trying to accomplish. 

You know, fans are going to be fans.  As long as you win once a week they’ll be happy.  And that’s certainly their prerogative and their right.  You know, I heard a guy say this weekend,  and I was telling the staff this morning, I can’t remember who it was.  They were talking about a Heisman race and he’d been hurt, ups and downs.  I’ll think of who it was in a minute maybe.  But, he said the best advice he ever got was don’t listen to all the compliments and don’t listen to all the complaints.  He said his dad told him that when he was in high school and he’s tried to do it.  That’s pretty good advice.  I mean, all you can do is do the best you can do.  And nobody’s going to have higher standards, and I can promise you nobody wants to win worse than the coaches and the guys who are playing.  Might seem like it, but you don’t.  That part of it is frustrating, but whether you win or lose you’ve got to put it behind you and get ready for the next game.  That’s why you play.”



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