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Paul Johnson Press Conference

Oct. 19, 2010

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ATLANTA, Ga. – Head Coach Paul Johnson’s Opening Statement
“It will be good to get back into conference play this week. I thought that we made some progress last week in the game against Middle Tennessee. Certainly everything is not where we would like for it to be, but all you can do is keep working on it, keep trying to get better and I think the last couple of weeks we have made some progress.”

“Going up, historically, and even since I have been here, the three times we have played them, all of the games have gone right down to the end. Historically, they have all been close. It is a tough place to play, it gets really loud and it ought to be a great college football game.”

Johnson on the progress of the team
“You would like to be more efficient in all areas. We got some turnovers in the last game and that is an area that we talked about. The points per game (on defense) has been down the last two or three games, so hopefully we can continue to do that. Offensively, we have rushed the ball more like we normally do the last couple of games. Though, we can be better there. We can be more efficient throwing it. I thought that [Joshua Nesbitt] maybe had his best game of the year throwing the ball on Saturday, we just dropped a bunch.”

“There are several areas that we have gotten better at, but can we improve? Sure. I think it all comes back to expectations. A great example is on offense, we aren’t where we would like to be but we are still averaging 31 points a game and are third or fourth in the league in total offense. It is a lot better than it used to be, but it is not up to everybody’s expectations and our expectations. Sometimes I am not sure if I create some of that myself because I have such high expectations. There are very few offenses that score every time they get the ball. That is our mindset, though.”

Johnson on last season compared to this season at this time
“I think we knew what the strengths of our team were last year. You knew by this time last year that [Demaryius Thomas] was going to make plays. You could count on it almost every game. You also knew that for the most part, if you had to win in a shootout, you knew what the strength of your team was. This year, the game could be 14-7 or it could be 42-40, I don’t know. It is not like we are dominant in any one area. That is probably more normal than the other way. It is the same for everybody. If you ask anybody what do you expect out of your team, watching Clemson on tape, they’re one dropped pass from beating Auburn. They should have beaten them. Then they probably didn’t play as well as they would have liked at North Carolina. That is football, that’s why you play the game. Same goes for South Carolina. Tey played near perfect against Alabama and then not so near perfect against Kentucky. You are dealing with 18-22 year olds, you don’t know what to expect week-to-week, that is why you play the games. That’s what makes it fun.”

On Nesbitt potentially becoming the most prolific ACC runner
“Anytime you have good players that is going to help you be a better football team. Certainly he is a kid that is very tough and resilient. I think the offense has been a good fit for him, too. He fits what we do and had some success doing it. We are glad that he is on our team because he is a really good player.”

On Da’Quan Bowers and DeAndre McDaniel
“Bowers is a really good player. McDaniel might be one of the best football players that we have played against since I have been here. He is a really good football player that makes a lot of plays. He is right at the top in tackles, if you turn the film on him he makes just about every other play and he did against us in the ACC Championship game last year.”

On the Tech defensive line
“With the return of [Emmanuel Dieke and Ben Anderson] it gives them some depth and any time you can play more guys it certainly helps from an energy standpoint. By this time of the year you should be in pretty good football shape, but the more people you play the better it is for morale, if you can get them in there and they know what to do.”

On success in winning five straight ACC road games
“We have a routine that we go through and we try to keep the routine the same. There isn’t anything that we really have talked at length about it. We just show up and play and don’t get distracted by the surroundings and crowd. We have done a pretty good job of that in the conference. We didn’t play particularly well in Winston-Salem, but we found a way to win the game. I didn’t know that we had won five-straight ACC road games until it was said. I just try to compartmentalize one week at a time. Clemson is going to be a tough place to play.”

On Jason Peters returning
“We got a good report on him this morning so we will see. I think that he has been upgraded from doubtful to questionable. If he keeps making progress we will see.”

On Kyle Parker, Clemson quarterback
“I think Kyle Parker was a good player a year ago. By the time that we played him in the ACC championship game, he was a lot more experienced than he was the year before. This year they are breaking in some new wide receivers, but he has thrown the ball really well. He was in a position to win the Auburn game, their tight tends have made a lot of catches and Andre Ellington is also a really good player. He can go the distance anytime he touches the ball and they have some highly recruited, young wide receivers that are in the program that I am sure they are waiting for them to step up and be the go to guy.”

On Clemson losing players to the 2010 NFL draft
“Besides [C.J.] Spiller who, was the ACC Player of the Year, they lost Jacoby Ford, who is a big play guy for them and a tight end who was a good player. The tight end that has replaced him has stepped up and filled in and is a good player in his own right. I think Ellington is a really good player who took Spiller’s place. Where they probably have not replaced their production at this point is at wide receiver, but they have talented guys it is just a matter of time before they step up and play like a guy with a lot of experience. They may be the most talented team in the league, they have good players.”

On the special teams battle
“Clemson creates a lot of field position and their punter has had a great year. Their kicker has done well and they found Ellington to return kicks last week and he took one all the way back. They have good players in all of those facets so you have to try to at least match up with them and be even.”

“I thought that (Tech punter) Sean Poole kicked the ball well for us last week, with the exception being the punt before halftime. That wasn’t probably up to standards, but he did have one about 65 yards, he pinned them inside the 20 four times, he did some good things and hopefully he will continue. I was happy to see him have some good kicks, hopefully we wont use him as much this week. He did pin some guys down deep.”



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