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Paul Johnson Conference Quotes

Sept. 25, 2012

Opening Statement:
“Good morning. Clearly, coming off a disappointing loss. One that eats at you. The good news is you get to play again and we are looking forward to going back out there Saturday and seeing if we can’t get the ship righted and play a little better. I think Middle Tennessee is a hot team. They’re coming in with two straight wins and have scored some points. Their returning quarterback throws it around a lot and they’ve got a couple of running backs that transferred who are pretty good. Defensively, they have a new defensive coordinator, Tyrone Nix, who has been to South Carolina, Ole Miss and Southern Miss, and has had a lot of successful defenses. With a week off, I’m sure he will have a lot of different looks and stunts for us so our goal is to come back, try to have a great week of practice and play well on Saturday.”

On how MTSU likes to distribute the ball between passing and running the ball…
“I mean they’re fairly balanced, but I think they throw a lot of bubble screens and have a quick passing game.  They’re the typical spread type offense; they have a couple good receivers, and their quarterback is experienced and has done a good job throwing it around.”

On the secondary and what it should get better at…
“I thought before Saturday that they played very well. Saturday was not a great day for anybody. But it’s like anything else when you’re playing coverage back there and there’s not a lot of pressure, there’s going to be some exposure You have to give the other team some credit, too; they had some pretty good receivers, their quarterback was hot and they made some plays. You continue to evaluate.”

On the progress from Jamal Golden…
“For a guy who this is his first year playing, I think Jamal has done some good things. Like everybody else, there have been mistakes along the way. It wasn’t one of his better games tackling, but all in all he has been a real positive back there, helping guys get lined up and those kinds of things.”

On the liveliness Jamal brought to punt return game and will he be back this week…
“I think so. He did a nice job on two punt returns and that was a real positive. Got good field position and nice plays by him.”

On if our walk-on quarterback from MTSU is able to shed any light on what they do…
“No we haven’t asked [Tim] Byerly to help us with the game plan. Maybe we should. You’ve got film and the games so you try to put in the plan that gives you the best chance to win the game. There is some familiarity from an offensive standpoint, but this will be the third time we’ve played them and the third defensive coordinator, so it’s three different looks actually.”

On GT’s field and how it is maintained versus others you’ve played on…
“Well I think this field is always immaculate. He [Jon DeWitt] does a great job. I don’t think there’s anybody who has more pride in what he does, and spends more time and effort. We’re fortunate to have him; he does a great job with the field.”

On the team’s spirit and mentality after Saturday…
“I think they were down a bit, as you would expect. That was a tough loss and we’ve had a couple this year that have been tough. We’ve talked a lot about adversity, and how you respond to it and how you react to it; it helps to define you. I think they’ll come back and play on Saturday. I’d be disappointed if they didn’t.”

On playing this many conference games right off the bat, there’s no margin for error…
“Well, are we in a position that we’d like to be? No, we’re not. But we put ourselves in that position. It’s disappointing, but you keep playing. You would think that we lost games 50-6 or something. The program’s in disarray, but they were pretty good football games. I think the first one was against a ranked team at home, and the second one was on the road to a team that has lost one game to a team that might be pretty good, Kansas State. They went and beat Oklahoma so they might be good. Could we have won those games? Certainly we could’ve, had we played a little better. I don’t think we’re ready to sack the bats and call it a day.”

On how it’s not over and good things can happen…
“Right, I mean, you keep playing. You know, I’ve always said from a coaching standpoint from whatever that you do, you just keep playing one game at a time and if you do what you’re supposed do, come November there will be some big games. And we’ve still got a ton to play for. We’ve played one third of our season so you can get on a roll. Last year is a great example. We got off to a great start, and didn’t finish well. This year we got off to a mediocre start, maybe we have a great finish. You can’t get too ahead of yourself, you just gotta keep going. There are a lot of positives. In the last three games we’ve scored a lot of points. We beat a conference divisional team at home pretty soundly. I’d be more concerned if we were trotting out there every week, and getting pummeled 50-6 and there wasn’t much hope. Maybe call me an optimist, I don’t think anyone has ever called be a real optimist about things, but I guess I see it a little differently.”

On the first year players…
“We probably need to play those guys a little more. D.J. White has not played yet, but he is going to play this week.  We’ve got some injuries and we need him back in the secondary so he is probably going to play. Adam [Gotsis] has played a little bit. We get Chris Jackson back this week at wide receiver, so that will certainly help with our depth some there. Anthony Autry is going to start to play more, so you start to phase those guys in a little bit. We’re trying to do our best to redshirt most of that class and not waste a year for them to be mop up guys.”

On T.J. Barnes…
“I think he’s done well.  I think he played about 20 snaps Saturday. He’s been on the regular defense and not so much on the nickel-and-dime stuff that they use, but I think overall, for all four games, he has acquitted himself quite well.”

 

 

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