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Paul Johnson Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 13, 2012

Opening Statement –

“Good morning. It’s nice to have a chance to come back and play at home this week. It’s a big challenge for us. I talked to the team yesterday; we haven’t played particularly well at home since the Virginia game early in the year. It’s our last chance, senior day, and there’s a lot at stake for both teams, so it should be a great afternoon out here on Saturday. Hopefully we can come back and play with the energy and enthusiasm we’ve played with the last couple weeks and transcend that to a good home crowd.”

On if he expects Duke to throw the ball a lot…
“I’m sure that they would like to run the ball and I think they’ve gotten better at rushing the ball than years past. I think they’re averaging 30 yards more per game than they did a year ago. I’m sure they would like to have some balance. Clearly they’re going to throw it probably more than they’ll run it but I think we’ll see them run the ball, especially if they’re having success doing it. It accomplishes a couple things and it also keeps you off the field.”

On Duke’s progress as a program since he’s been at Tech…
“That’s a tough question. You’ll have to see after we play them this week. They’ve played us tough since I’ve been here. We’ve managed to win the games, but they’ve all been fairly close.”

On if this year is similar to 2009…
“Well I haven’t thought much about it. In 2009 we won more games and had a better record. I think we got off to a better start. With the start we got off to this year, especially in the conference, we dug ourselves a huge hole. With all the things that have happened and the balance in the league, especially in our division, we’ve been able to crawl back. For me this is more like 2008 when we tied for the division. In 2009, I felt like the better team.”

On Vad Lee getting more playing time with more experience…
“He did okay against North Carolina. He didn’t grade out great, but he made a lot of plays. He has some ability in that sometimes when he misses a read, he can follow it and still turn it into a positive play. He got a little tired, that’s the most he’s played so he had a lot of efforts. But that’s a learning experience; the more he plays, the better he is going to get. Overall he had to be happy with the way he played. He had a lot of big plays, brought a lot of energy and I think he has come along great. He is still a redshirt freshman.”

On any Similarities between Vad and Josh Nesbitt…
“No, they’re different players. Josh was a very good player for us, but Josh’s thing was toughness. Josh was really kind of quiet; he didn’t have a lot to say and was a fierce competitor. Vad competes, too, they’re not different that way, but their personalities are different. Vad’s a lot more outgoing, but they’re both good players. Josh had a great career here and hopefully Vad can, too. Josh was more of a grinder I think. If it was third and one, you’d want the ball in his hands, he is going to get it. To this point, it’d be hard to compare the two. Vad’s played a couple games; Josh played for two years. It’s hard to tell.”

On the offensive line with Morgan Bailey playing…
“Effort wise and coming-off-the-ball wise, we’re better. There’s still some room for improvement, just like with everybody else. I think we’re coming off the ball a little harder and a little lower, and when you can do that things happen. The last two games we’ve had the highest number of defenders to the ground since I’ve been here total. We had 80 the week before and this week we had 100, so that’s pretty good. Now that’s not all the offensive line, but it’s a big part of it. Robert Godhigh had 13.”

On anything you’ve done to create some energy…
“I don’t know, clearly something happened. It has for the last two game, we’ll see if it can continue. We’ve done better that way and you never know what it is. It may not be anything I said or did, it could be something someone else said or did, you just don’t know. If you knew you’d never have a problem; it’d be that way all the time. I’ve been really blunt with these guys.  I mean I haven’t sugarcoated their performance. They understand.”

On the offensive goal of scoring on every possession…
“We still made a lot of mistakes on offense. We converted some on third down until the end of the game where we missed the last two or three. Even though we made some big plays and played hard, we missed opportunities. You want to have a standard such that you point out all things that you missed; even if we scored on a possession, maybe you should have scored two or three plays before or whatever, you still had some missed assignments.”

On Orwin Smith’s career…
“I think he’s had a great career. Unless something crazy happens, he’s probably going to leave as the all-time leader in the ACC in yards per carry, he’s going to be in the record books at Georgia Tech and he played on a Championship team. He’s had a great career. Orwin marches to the beat of his own drum. I don’t think he is too concerned about what people think of him or what they say; I think he’s comfortable being Orwin. He gets emotional sometimes, and sometimes we have to scale it back on the field. He can be too demonstrative out there, as we’ve seen, but I think he likes to play the game and likes to compete.”

On the senior class…
“Anytime you spend four or five years coaching guys you become close to them and you want to see them be successful. In this group, a lot of them have graduated already. You hope they will be successful outside of football, most of them, the ones who don’t have a chance to play and I think they will. It’s kind of a bittersweet deal. Some of them I’m sure are ready to move on with their lives and do other things. At the same time, they’ll miss their teammates, playing and being a part of it. I think you do miss it when you finish, but it’s always a difficult deal. Losing a class is part of the business when you’ve been in it that long. You have another class coming and those guys know we will do for them what we can and they’ll be part of it for as long as they’re here.”

On Senior night influencing the decision on who will play QB?
“Probably not. I shouldn’t say probably not because being a senior means you’ve been around the block, so being a senior is a factor but the way we’re doing it has been working pretty well. Unless something crazy happens in practice, we will probably continue to do it how we’ve been doing it. Vad has a long time to play football here and if he plays as well as he played on Saturday, we will play a majority of the snaps. Tevin graded 20 points higher than Vad, but he didn’t have the plays, but people tend to forget the very first play of the game. We didn’t take [Tevin] out because he wasn’t playing well, we just took him out because the plan was to give those guys a couple series. Then, once the thing got going, Vad did nothing to have me take him out of the game. Once he’s scoring on every possession it’s hard to take him out. When we got to a point in the second half when we’re so deep in to it, to me it is then Vad’s game. When he threw the interception, the worst thing I could’ve done was to take him out. He has got to go back out there and right the ship, and that’s what he did. He drove the team down and that will help his development in his confidence than anything else you say to him.”

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