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Paul Johnson Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 6, 2012

Opening Statement
“Good morning. I thought that we played with some energy in the Maryland game. We came out and I was pleased with the effort and intensity we played with, especially early on. Certainly we’ll have to carry that over this week. We’re playing a team that’s really hot; has won five of their last six and is undefeated at home and they’re really playing well right now. They’ve had a week off to rest up and get healed up. I think they have some really good individual players and right now they’re playing well, so we’ve got to continue to build on last week and gain some momentum, and show up and see what happens. It’s a big game, a conference game and a chance for us to go 3-1 this second half of the season and get even overall. So it’s a huge game for both teams.”

On North Carolina’s defense…
“Well I think the reason usually for them having a lot of tackles for losses, is they stun a lot, slant, but they also get guys in long yardage situations, so what you have to do is stay out of long yardage stuff.”

On Tech in the Coastal race…
“I think at this time of the year, in November, we’ve got two conference games left. It’s time to talk about it. What we can do is only what we can do. We’ve got to go to North Carolina and win. If we go up there and win, then we’ll see how it unfolds. Certainly we’re not mathematically out of it by any stretch, but if we don’t win it won’t matter. You try to control what you can control and the big thing is going up there. Carolina has two losses. To me, even though they’re not eligible for the championship, it’s has to go through that. For us to have any chance, we’ve got to win this game and see what happens. Who knows, you might be in position if you win this game.”

On the competition in the ACC…
“Overall in the league, I haven’t thought a whole lot about it. I’ve had enough to try and piece together here. I think it’s fairly balanced. We haven’t played Florida State, clearly they’re the top ranked team in the league and I think leading the country in defense, so I think they’re probably pretty good. In the Coastal Division, all the games have been close. Even in Miami, they win here in overtime; they’ve been really close games. North Carolina’s won some, they beat Miami 18-14. Duke won a close game against North Carolina. I mean all the games have been fairly close.  I think the teams are somewhat evenly matched. Some of the things you can’t explain. You look at Virginia. NC State beats Florida State in Raleigh, and then Virginia goes in there, hasn’t won a game, and thumps then. Actually, you could make a case for Maryland before last week. Maryland could’ve won all their ACC games. They missed a 30 yard field goal against NC State and Boston College scored on almost the last play against them. So it’s just been that kind of year.”

On keeping [Giovani] Bernard under control…
“You’ve got to tackle for one thing. He’s the kind of guy if you miss a tackle; he’s going to go the distance. He’s got great speed. You have to try to rally around him. The first guy’s not going to get him down every time so you have to keep the guys coming. Clearly he’s the key to their success. Their tight ends have played well and they’ve got some great receivers, but I think he’s the key.”

On North Carolina’s temp on offense…
“I think what you do is you play two groups and as soon as the first one is busy, then the next one is ready to go in. It’d be impossible to go any faster than that so you replicate it the best you can. Now are you going to get the quality of it? That’s the issue. The hard part is having enough linemen to do that, but we can certainly rep two groups of skilled guys. They’re not real big on changing personnel; they just try to get a lot of snaps. What you hope is the nature of the way we play will frustrate them a little bit, too. You break down the UNC-NC state game, both teams had the ball 20 times. By contrast, you go to our Maryland game, they had it nine times; the week before we had it eight times. It’s going to fall somewhere in the middle. I would doubt there’s going to be 20 possessions. If we could get off to a good start and get that thing slowed down, maybe they don’t want to go as fast.”

On the advantage and disadvantages of going fast/slow…
“Really if you’re looking for numbers and you want to score a lot of points, the more plays you run clearly the more points and the more numbers you should have. On the flip side, the more opportunities your defense is going to have. If you’ve had 20 possessions, the other team is going to have 19 or 20, that’s just the way it is. So it’s just a philosophy on how you want to do it. I think that offensively if you can stay on the field and run a lot of plays, certainly you can tire the other defense out and hopefully score more points. On the flip side, you should be better defensively if you’re not doing that.”

On Tech’s defense being more confident against Maryland…
Well hopefully you build on it. Defensively we had some issues with our eyes, especially in the second half, but for the most part we probably played as well in the first half defensively as we had in awhile. You also take in to consideration who they were playing with, too. But I was really proud of the offensive line. I thought they came off the ball. Maryland was playing with a down-the-line quarterback, but that didn’t have anything to do with their defense. I thought our guys started with some intensity and played well, and defensively they had some good players. They weren’t fourth in the country or top 10 but they’ve played West Virginia and some other high scoring teams, so we did some good things that way. And I think defensively it is clear there are a lot of things we can build on.”

On it the success being more of an effort thing or execution…
“I think energy and intensity, and the whole nine yards. We keep a stat on defenders to the ground and we had more than we’ve had all year. I mean, not even close. It was guys getting after it, playing, playing with some urgency and that’s the way you’ve got to play to have a chance at being good. You can’t just go through the motions.”

On if having two quarterbacks throws off the opposition’s preparation…
“I would think they prepare the same way. We didn’t run any different plays or anything different with either quarterback last week. The way we practice, we run two huddles in offense. We really believe in maximizing reps and we get a lot of reps and the second group is running the same play as the first group if we’re not running a script back to back. And we interchange those guys all the time. For instance, we have an option period where we run live option plays for 15 minutes against all fronts. You might put Tevin [Washington] in the first huddle for seven and a half minutes, then the other guy, and they rotate and play with both groups and so I really don’t think that’s an issue for us. It’s not like we’re running two different offenses where one guy comes in and all of a sudden you change gears and it’s a passing offense. That would be awfully hard even for us to do, because forget the quarterback, the other 10 guys would have to learn two different things.”

On Vad Lee becoming more comfortable…
“I think he is. I think he is getting better every week. I think that it’s been good the way that it has happened for him. He hadn’t been thrown out there and I think as a quarterback it’s better to watch on the side for a few series and get a feel for the other team. Know where they are and what the checks are, and know what’s happening as opposed to just kind of getting thrown out there and not knowing. I think both quarterbacks bring something to the game. Tevin has a lot of experience. He’s played a lot of football. You’re not going to line up too many ways that he hasn’t seen or doesn’t know what to do. Vad brings a lot of athleticism and a lot of energy when he comes out there so you kind of get two different things out of both those guys. And as he progresses, like I’ve said all along, the more he gets accustomed to what we’re doing, the better he gets at it, the more he’s going to play. He clearly does bring some athleticism to the position.”

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