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Paul Johnson Conference Quotes

Oct. 11, 2011


Opening Statement
To accomplish something that hasn’t been done since 1966 (starting 6-0) certainly speaks volumes to those guys. We celebrated for the day and then we get back to work. I thought we had a good start yesterday to the week. Going up to Charlottesville is always a challenge, [it’s a] tough place to play. They’re 3-2 this season, but I think their two losses have come to two teams that are a combined 10 and 2. It’ll be a tough game. Defensively, they’re in the top 25 in the country. They’re in the top part of the conference in most every stat. Offensively, they have a big, physical offensive line. They are a challenge for all phases of our football team.

On Maryland’s defense
I thought they really played hard. They limited the big plays. We didn’t hit a lot of big plays. The defensive lineman that they had, [Joe] Vellano, probably played as good as anybody that I’ve played against in a long, long time. He had a heckuva game. Twenty-two tackles by our (film) count, he was all over the field, he was sideline to sideline. He was tremendous and I thought they played hard and played good and kept us away from big plays. We did enough to where we would stop ourselves with penalties or a miscue in some way. We had some opportunities to hit some big plays and didn’t hit them especially early. The game just kind of went as it went. It’s 21 to 3 with 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter, they broke the long play for a touchdown and then came back, and we didn’t move the ball, and got a bad punt, and they scored another touchdown. They got right back into the game. It’s been unusual that we didn’t answer when that happens but we didn’t this time and the defense found a way to get them stopped the last time they had it in the quarter. They scored the other two times they had the ball in the fourth quarter. Third time we got them stopped and were able to run out the clock.

On what players understood on offense after watching game tape
It’s like anything, you see what you didn’t do right or this or didn’t get the block or missed the throw or dropped a ball or whatever, and it’s like anything, it’s pretty evident. When they saw it, they knew.

On Tevin Washington’s 32 rushing attempts vs. Maryland
I don’t think I said he should have pitched it, I don’t think he would have carried it 32 times if he had gotten the thing around. It wasn’t just pitching, we should have handed it off inside and done some of that, and at the same time, when guys are in your face in there, it makes it really hard when you’re not getting anybody knocked back. There was some of that, there always is. We missed some plays in the passing game. We missed some blocks on the perimeter when he had the ball. They were running a lot of two-three exchanges which people have done that for a long time. The very first time he carried the ball was a two-three exchange, which was the same way they ran the rest of the game. The very first time he carried it he gained 22 yards, we blocked the guy. The next few times we didn’t always get them blocked. Number 11 [David Mackall] [gave] him a hard time reading. He did a nice job.

On Virginia coming off a bye week
I think it (the open week) can work both ways once you’ve played as many games as we have. (It’s) probably just a chance to refresh physically more than anything else and heal some bumps and bruises. I don’t know that it’s a huge advantage.

The extra time is probably an advantage preparing for any offense. The more days you get, the better you should be prepared no matter what you do. I think that might be over-hyped a little bit. It’s along the same lines you have to play disciplined defense. We’ll have to play disciplined defense against Virginia this week. We’re not disciplined and our guys don’t play the gaps they’ve got and their responsibilities, we’ll get gashed. So you have to play disciplined every week.

On the play of the linebackers
I thought that we did some good things. Quayshawn [Nealy] made some good plays and the interception was a nice play. Julian [Burnett] is a good player. You know how I feel about him. The guys who went in did some good things. They had some ups and some downs. It’s a learning experience. They got that experience now and you would expect them to play better the next time out. All in all, I think they did okay.

On the challenges Virginia brings
They’re experienced. They’ve got a lot of seniors that have played a lot. They’re big on the defensive line like most people we have played. It’s not any different than most people you play in the league. Like I said, statistically they’re one of the better teams in the league right now. They’re in the top 25 in the country [defensively]. It’ll be a challenge. We’ll have to play a lot better than we played last Saturday.

On Richard Watson and the kickoff return team
Richard did okay. Morgan Carter was out there and he had a nice block on Tony’s [Zenon] long run. There were several guys that were different (than the previous week). We need to be more consistent. We had the one big return but we’ve got to be more consistent. Certainly, we’ve still got a lot of work to do in that area. We’re not where we’d like to be.

On the attitude of the B-Backs
Their attitude has been really good. I think Charles [Perkins] has worked really hard in practice. In fact I grabbed him yesterday and told him he’s busted his tail really hard. Last week he practiced harder than anyone. We’ve just got to get some ball security stuff worked out and some things like that and we need to get him in the game. Richard Watson’s a great kid. He’s like anybody, he wants to play but I think he’s a good team guy. He’s had a great attitude. I talked to Richard yesterday for a long time. Not about football in general, with school. I told him how much I appreciated his attitude and the way he’s approached things. Both those guys have been real positive.

On the preseason predictions by the “experts”
I haven’t thought about it and honestly I don’t worry about that. I try to approach it like I tell the team, you just get ready to play this week and historically I’ve found through the years coaching that if you do that you can look around in November and say, `wow we’ve got ourselves a great opportunity’. You start worrying about that stuff halfway through the year and it won’t end well. You better just focus on this game. Like I tell them, when you win it makes the next game bigger. This Saturday makes it the biggest one of the year so far. It’s a divisional conference game on the road. It’s the biggest game of the year, the biggest one that we’ve had to this point.


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