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Paul Johnson Conference Quotes

Sept. 13, 2011


Paul Johnson’s Opening Statement
“It’s good to be playing back at home again this week. I think after going on the road we had some questions with a young team, how they would respond. I was pleased with the way we started the game. I thought we came out and played with some intensity and focus early on offense and defense. We lost our intensity or focus there a little bit at the end of the first half. We came back and reestablished in the third quarter and at the end of the game with the reserves I wasn’t particularity happy with the way some of those guys played. All in all it was a good win to go on the road and get to 2-0 and the competition level will ratchet up this week. We have 2-0 Kansas coming in [who] beat us last year in Lawrence and I think they’re a better team now than they were then. We’ve still got a lot of work to do and hopefully we can continue on the progression of getting better. It’s kind of what our goal is; to try to get better each week.”

On the reserve corps
“I guess it would all go into who you would count as reserves. Some of the guys who were playing at the end play a lot of times during the regular games. Off the top of my head I can’t think of anybody I thought executed at the level we’re looking for with everything involved. There were some guys that played hard, but didn’t always do everything the right way.”

On Tevin Washington’s performance against MTSU
“I think Tevin played well last week against Middle Tennessee. He had the one time the ball was out and tried to pull it and lost control of it. But he ran the offense fairly efficiently. He’s thrown the ball. He’s given guys the chance to make a play. He had a couple under throws but at least he gives guys the chance to make a play. He worked on a lot of his problems he had the week before, so he did a better job in that area. I think he got better last week.”

On offensive big plays
“Contrary to popular opinion, the nature of what we do lends itself to big plays. It’s not three yards and a cloud of dust. I think you have to give the individual kids a lot of credit, they made the plays., but you’re going to get put in space with one on one situations a lot. You’re going to get some favorable matchups at receiver sometimes and I think that’s what’s happened on a couple of the big plays. We’ve been fairly adept through the years of going on some long drives and time consuming. When you run the ball as much as we do sometimes you’re going to have long drives. I think it’s always good where you can execute at a level where you don’t screw yourself up before you get down there. Sometimes that’s hard. Somebody will make a mistake or a penalty or do something to get you behind and we didn’t do that on those long drives.”

On Stephen Hill
“I think Stephen’s grown up a lot. He’s worked hard during the summer and I think he’s got all of his personal life in order. He’s committed to playing. Stephen’s always had a lot of ability and I think a lot was probably put on him a year ago, maybe unfairly. I don’t know that he was ready for it and it didn’t start out well and it just kind of nosedived. I think his confidence is up. He’s worked hard and to this point hopefully he can continue to produce the way he has.”

On how Hill has changed from 2010 to 2011
“Stephen had to make some decisions. He had to get himself squared away. I think he’s committed himself to working hard and going to school and doing all those things he needed to do to get squared away. I think he’s grown up. Sometimes we forget these guys are just kids. They have to grow up and mature. I think that’s starting to happen to him now maybe a little more than early.”

On the passing game and Washington’s confidence
“We probably making too big of a deal of the passing part of it. We’re probably not throwing the ball more than we threw it a year ago. We’re just completing some. It’s a lot more fun when you complete them. I think the quarterback is having more of a chance to do that. I’ve said all along that we need to be more efficient in the passing game and to this point we’ve been more efficient. If you do that, the nature of what we do will lend itself to big plays in the passing game. But it doesn’t do any good to get behind people if you throw it over their head or don’t catch them or can’t get them off or whatever. To this point, for the most part, when we’ve had a chance to make a big play we’ve made them. I think you get confidence from that as a play caller if you’re not getting sacked every other time you throw you may tend to throw it a little more and play to the strengths of your team.”

On Quayshawn Nealy
“Quayshawn’s got more playing time because we played more nickel and I’m not sure people are making more out of that than is there. We didn’t play much base stuff at all until the second half defensively and when we did Daniel [Drummond] went back in and played. Quayshawn is on the nickel and dime team and when you play a lot of that he’s going to get more reps. I think he can be a good player. We’re excited about him. He’s not where he needs to be, like a lot of our guys, so he’s got to continue to work and that was his first game of playing that many reps and he didn’t handle it particularly well in my mind.”

Comparing 2010 Kansas to 2011 Kansas
“A lot of the same guys are back. There is some different personnel but I think they’re bigger and probably more physical and stronger. They’ve got some new guys as well. They’ve got a bevy of running backs with some new guys there. Their quarterback I think is remarkably better than he was a year ago as you would imagine after playing. And they’re a little bit more physical. They’ve given up some junk yardage on defense at the end of the first game like we did with some of the reserves and skewed their stats a little bit. They’ll hit you and they run around so they’re a very formidable opponent.”

On the first play of the game at MTSU
“I saw it watching tape last Sunday. If we could get the b-back matched up with the linebacker and with the personnel I didn’t think that that guy could run with Tony. I’m not sure he could have run with David [Sims]. But I wanted to make real sure. We worked on it during the week and went into the game and I didn’t want them to recognize as quickly so we held them on the sideline and decided to do it on the first play. It just worked. If it hadn’t have worked, you’d get up and play second and ten. You have to give credit to Tony [Zenon] and to Tevin [Washington] because they are the ones who made it work. They threw the ball and caught the ball.”


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