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Paul Johnson Conference Quotes

Sept. 6, 2011


Opening Statement
“Good morning. This week got around pretty quick again and it got back to us. [I’m] excited about winning the game last week. I think that there were a lot of positives and still some things that we can keep the team grounded on. A lot of things to work on. We got to play a lot of players, so that’s always good for morale. Got a chance to see some of the young guys and I’m looking forward to seeing how much improvement we can make from week one to week two. Certainly the competition level is going to ratchet up a little bit. We’ll see if we can make some improvement in a ton of areas from last week to this week.”

On any differences in Middle Tennessee in the game against Purdue compared to last year
“No, I think they’re very similar. I think that Rick [Stockstill]’s kind of had a plan and they’ve stuck to it. Both guys that are coordinators I think were on staff. So there’s a lot of continuity with what they were doing a year ago I think.”

On special teams and fumbling issues in week one
“I think you just keep practicing. We fumbled one straight handoff, the other fumbles were quarterback-center exchanges. The other fumble was a defensive lineman trying to go fall on a punt; it wasn’t the special teams, the defense was on the field. We didn’t have a punt returner in and we were going to take the ball wherever they kicked it and we just made a poor judgment call to go down and try to fall on the ball. You just keep working on it. It’s frustrating to everybody. It’s frustrating to me that you have quarterback-center exchange problems. We work on it everyday in practice and we continue to work on it and make it a big deal and hope those go away. A lot of it is fundamental issues. Well not a lot of it, all of it is fundamental issues. Of course there’s always a story. The ball’s always slipping or something happened, but it’s unacceptable. Can’t allow it.”

On the quarterback-center exchanges
“Well, it depends on who you ask. If you ask the center he’d tell you he’s snapping it up there. If you ask the quarterback he’d tell you he’s not getting it. It could be a myriad of things. A couple of them I think we pulled out quick and a couple of them were just bad snaps.”

On adjusting the special teams personnel
“Well I just want to be better on special team scheme. I think sometimes when I come in and say something maybe we make a bigger deal (out of it). I’ve got to be careful what I say. You look at the special teams, the kickoff return team was O.K. We got the ball out past the 35-yard line. We only had a chance to return one punt and returned it for over 15 yards. The kickoff team was O.K. The placement of the ball wasn’t great. But when I said we’ve got to work on the special team certainly you’ve got to get better in all of it, but really the big snafu on special teams was getting the kick blocked. We’ve addressed that. I thought we had it addressed before but we addressed it again and hopefully that won’t happen again. We’ve also got to kick the ball higher too. We had one blocked yesterday in practice. Same way, he kicks it into the line. I don’t care how good you block it; if you kick that thing head high and somebody sticks their hand up they’re going to hit it. So, from hat aspect we’ve got to keep refining and doing those kinds of things. To me, it’s way too early to change a lot of personnel on special teams and those kinds of things. It’s hard to evaluate the punt return team. I think they netted 33 yards a punt with them running sideways and kicking it on the ground you’re not going to have many returns.”

On the success of passing game helping confidence of quarterbacks and receivers
“It might. I wouldn’t make too big of a deal out of one game. We didn’t. It’s just kind of the nature the way the game went, it’s the nature of the way they were playing, and some individual guys made some good plays. Two of the long pass plays were hitch routes where Stephen [Hill] and Tyler [Melton] stiff-armed guys and got away from them. As the competition increases that will be less likely. I thought we did throw the ball more efficiently. We protected better than we did last year which gives us a chance to throw the ball.”

On how important is it to get better at rushing the passer this week
“Well, it’s always important. I think we had four sacks. You’re probably not going to get many more than that in a game. The big question is going to be as the competition gets better, can we continue. If you average four sacks a game you’ll probably lead the country at the end of the year. You’re never satisfied anytime the guy has more time to throw than you think he should. You’re always trying to work on it and get better. We’d like to be able to get more pressure without bringing pressure. That would be a positive. I think most of our sacks last week, with the exception of maybe one, we had pressure coming. We’d like to be able to do better without bringing extra guys.”

On how sophomore OL Tyler Kidney came to Tech
“When Tyler was in high school, a guy named Pat Spurgeon, who used to help coach at Georgia Southern, helps a bunch of high school teams. Everyone knows him as `Doc’ Spurgeon. Doc called me and asked me if Tyler could walk-on. He thought that he could be a good player. He fit with the academics so we could get him into school. So it was a deal where we brought him in to walk-on.”


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