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#MeetThePress: @GTPaulJohnson Talks #GTvsMIA

Nov. 16, 2015

Georgia Tech head football coach Paul Johnson met with the media on Monday morning to discuss the Yellow Jackets’ upcoming Saturday game at Miami. Kickoff at Sun Life Stadium is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET on the ACC Network.

Full audio of Coach Johnson’s press conference

Opening Statement
“Good morning.  Looking forward to moving on and getting ready to try to play Miami – I think a very talented Miami team.  They’ve had their ups and downs similar to kind of the way we’ve had our ups and downs this year.  But make no mistake. They have a lot of very good athletes who are very talented.  On any given day they can play with anybody in the country.  So, we’ve got our work cut out for us.  We’ve got to try to regroup, correct our mistakes and see if we can finish this thing off the right way and lay a foundation for next season.”

On if the team has to provide their own energy heading into Miami
“Possibly.  But, that’s part of the game.  You’ve got to be able to motivate yourself to play, and you’ve got to find some angles and go play.  If you’re a competitor, you love to play the game and it’s another chance to go compete.  We have not done well historically there at Miami so there’s an opportunity for this team to break that trend.  And it’s just another chance to play another game.”

On the personality of this team
“Every team is different.  I think that this team had continued to try to play hard.  I think they want to do well.  I think they’re frustrated just like every body else is, the coaches, the players, the fans, I mean everybody is frustrated.  Other than maybe the Clemson game, almost every game this year had been a one-possession game at the end.  And we haven’t found a way to get on the right side of enough of them.  But they’re all different.  Last year’s group had their own chemistry and this year’s group does too.  It’s different.  I don’t know any other way to describe it other than its different.  I don’t think this group is dysfunctional or anything like that.  I think that it’s just different.”

On making those game-changing plays at the end of games last year
“Well, that’s football.  If you watched football this weekend, it’s like I’ve said repeatedly, there’s a very thin line between winning and losing. It’s making one play at the end.  I mean, there are a zillion plays.  We run the first play when we get down on their side of the field, I think we make about six or seven yards to the B-back and nobody is going to see that.  But if we are on track a little better and we clear, game over.  That’s a touchdown.  We’re this far off track and the guy gets him by the foot.  Last year we would have been on track, the guy wouldn’t have gotten him by the foot and it would have either been a touchdown or down to the 10-yard line, game over.  There are all kinds of those things.  And that’s the fine line.  You get a break before they score a touchdown or you get a call or you get a turnover or we don’t turn the ball over.  That’s the things that are disappointing.  This year, it seems like whatever has had a chance to go wrong goes wrong.  And I think you make your own breaks, I’m not crying about that.  We’ve got to do a better job of doing the detailed things to make our own breaks.”

On how the defensive tackles held up during the game despite being shorthanded
“I thought they played okay.  We played fairly well in the second half for a time.  We’re probably still not as good against the run as I’d like to be.  We are not as good running the ball as I’d like to be, for sure.  But, their running back had 130 yards or something.  But, I thought that we gave ourselves a chance to stay in the game defensively by keeping points off the board in the second half.  And if you don’t turn the ball over, I guess it was the fourth quarter going down the first turnover, we’re down in field goal range already.  It was just an unfortunate play.  We don’t do a very good job of blocking on the perimeter or sealing the inside.  And he tried to split a guy and fumbled.  You’ve got to take better care of it, but it happens.  The next fumble was just a zone-give and we don’t get a guy cut off, but you can’t fumble the ball.  It’s a called hand off.  And when you do those things, you’re not going to win very many games.  When you don’t snap the ball on 3rd and 1, I mean the snap was on sound and you don’t snap it.  And everybody thinks the left guard is an idiot for jumping offside, but he was the guy going on the snap count.  So, there are all kinds of things.”

On how Justin Thomas has handled this season with the inconstancies on offense
“I think he’s handled it okay.  He’s been inconsistent himself.  I think he’s frustrated like everybody else.  And I think he’s beat up physically.  He’s really a tough guy.  I mean he’s physically a tough guy.  I think that it would be fair to say that everybody is frustrated, especially if you’re not used to this.  I don’t think he is, I ‘m not, and I doubt very many of our guys are.  Sometimes it’s a valuable lesson in that you learn that winning is not easy.  Sometimes you take it for granted.  And it’s not easy.  It’s never easy.  But I think he’s handled it about as well as you can handle it, probably.  He’s a very competitive guy himself.” 

On if he will change everything on how he rotates guys
“I’m going to try to win the game on Saturday.  I’m going to do everything I can to try to win the game.  I think that guys earn playing time.  And if guys earn the time then they get to play by how they perform.  I fully intended to try to play Matthew Jordan on Thursday and the situation never presented itself that I felt like there was a time to put him in.  Again, there weren’t very man possessions and especially when you fumble them away on the first play.  The second play, instead of playing nine or ten, you’re playing with seven.  So we ran 60 plays.  So there wasn’t a lot of time.  I’d like to get him in the game at some point, but I hesitate to say, “Okay, I’m going to put a guy in in the third series.’  Because as soon as you do, the ball will be on your 1-yard line or something happens.  And I don’t want to put him in a bad spot when he goes out there to play.  So we’ll see.  Hopefully he can play.  Justin has been taking a lot of physical shots.  It would help him I think.  I think you try to play guys that give you the best chance to win.  That’s what we are trying to do.”

On if it would have made a difference if he had Tim Byerly
“Yeah, I think that was a critical injury when Tim Byerly got hurt.  It took away basically, for lack of a better term, a package that we like to run with him, like goal line and follow plays and stuff he was really good at it.  It kind of took that away.  In hindsight, looking back, we probably should’ve had Matthew Jordan do some of that.  But again, he was a redshirt freshman and at the time we’d moved him from A-back back to quarterback.  But yeah, there’s no question we miss Tim Byerly.  Not only from that, he’s a good leader and he’s a big part of the team.  So yeah, that was a critical injury.  It affected several positions too.”


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