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Paul Johnson Press Conference

Nov. 22, 2011


Opening Statement
Good morning. It’s an exciting week. Anytime you have the opportunity to be a part of a big rivalry game it’s always exciting and certainly we’ll have our work cur out for us this week. The University of Georgia is probably as hot as anybody in college football. Having won nine games in a row and playing well statistically, I think their defense is ranked in pretty much every category, so they’ve got a heckuva football team. We’re looking forward to the challenge on Saturday and I know it’s a big game for both sets of alumni and fans, and everybody in the state. You have to pick a side; nobody gets to kind of remain neutral. It ought to be a lot of fun on Saturday.

On Georgia’s offense and defense and whether that adds extra motivation
I don’t know about extra motivation, you’re motivated to play Georgia. They’ve got a good team and a good program, so we’re going to do what we do and I’m sure they’re going to do what they do, so the rankings is not going to change any of that.

On the difference in Georgia from last year to this year
They’re playing hard. They’re playing fast. Jarvis Jones is a really good player. Other than that, it’s pretty much the same guys up front. They’re playing different spots but a lot of the same guys that played a year ago.

On injured Jackets Orwin Smith, Stephen Hill and others with injuries?
He’s (Smith) good to go….We’ll know more after practice today, but we’re assuming we’re going to have all those guys.

On the home field advantage
I don’t know, it could (be) I guess, but it hasn’t. It hasn’t made a big difference. This is my fourth game being here and they’ve all been pretty close games, whether they’ve been in Athens or whether they’ve been here. Last year was the biggest point total but really a one-point game until the end. They’ve all been fairly close games and have gone right down until the end in the fourth quarter no matter where they’ve been since I’ve been here.

On the Tech seniors
It’s a small group, but like anything, it’s always in motion because especially with this group because they’ve been here with us from the start. They’ve seen a lot of ups and highs and a few lows along the way, but they’ve stayed with the program and we’ll see how this year finishes out. But, they have a chance to be apart of a pretty good stretch over their four years. If we can find a way to win a couple of more games they’ll have accomplished a lot over their career, so they’ve been pretty special to Georgia Tech.

On missing Orwin Smith and what it means to the offense
I think it’s the nature of what we do. Orwin’s a really good player and we’re very hopeful we’ve got him back for the game, but Embry [Peeples] filled in last week and he pretty much did about the same. So, it’s a situation where those guys have taken advantage of their opportunities when they get the ball and we fill like we’ve got more than a couple of guys that can play.

On Tyler Melton’s recent production at wide receiver
Well, I think he’s made some big catches. Stephen Hill wasn’t out there (in the second half of the Duke game) and he kind of became the go-to guy. Again, we haven’t gone out of our way to get one guy the ball or another guy the ball, it’s just kind of the nature of what happens. But, when the ball’s going his way he’s made a couple of nice catches and come down with it. He’s blocked very well the last few games. He’s probably playing his best football the last two or three games.

On Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray
He throws the ball well. He’s a talented young man. He’s got a really good tight end. [Orson] Charles is a good player. They’re kind of receiver by committee more so now than maybe they were with A.J. Green, but they’re very talented. [Malcolm] Mitchell, the freshman, is very, very good. So he’s got some good targets and they’ve been efficient when they throw. They’ve been able to run the ball enough if they can set up and they can protect him during this stretch and he’s had some big games.

On defending Georgia tight end Orson Charles
I think you just have to watch for the guy, but you can’t do anything special for him. The thing that he can do is he can do some things that wide receivers can do. He can get downfield deep. He’s got good hands. He’s a good player, but we’ve played against other tight ends that are good players. The guy from Clemson [Dwyane Allen] is a really good player. He’s probably an early round draft pick in the NFL.


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