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Paul Johnson Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 8, 2013

Opening Statement
“Well we’ve got a huge challenge this week, I think, traveling to Provo, coming back off a road trip to Miami. I told somebody just a few minutes ago that we had a chance to play in 90 degrees on Saturday, and maybe the high 30s this Saturday, going across two time zones but more importantly you’re playing a really good football team. I think BYU has developed quite an identity on defense the last few seasons. They’re physical, sound and you can always count on them being in the top 20 it seems like these last few years. This year they’re rushing the ball very well offensively; they’ve kind of committed to a different philosophy where they’re more option-oriented, more run-oriented, than the BYU teams in the past. They have a very talented quarterback, a good group of running backs, Jamal Willis and a veteran offensive line, which I think I saw they have three starters returning, three guys back this week on the offensive line so I think that’s good timing for us. We did not play very well against them a year ago here. They kind of physically got after us and took us to the woodshed probably as good as any time since I’ve been here so it’ll be a challenge to see if we can play well in Provo. It’s a tough place to play, I’ve been there a few times; they have a great crowd that’s in to the game, usually they sell-out their games so it’ll be quite a challenge.”

On how BYU runs its option…
“This week we have to play assignment defense. I think that no matter who you play, you’ve got to eliminate the missed assignments and the big plays. Taysom Hill is capable when he gets in the space of turning seven/eight yard plays in to a 70 yard play. He’s got that kind of speed, is hard to tackle and so do their backs. It’ll be a little bit of a change in gears for the defense, going from Miami, which is a pro-style team, to this. The principles are the same, you have to be consistent and have your eyes where you belong and do what you’re supposed to do every week, but it’ll be a challenge for them, no question.

On if it’s refreshing to play a team outside of the ACC..
Well, I don’t know about refreshing. I mean, you’ve got a physical, tough opponent to go play on the road so it’s a challenge. Nobody likes to lose and you want to try to get that out of your system as fast as you can, so it’s a chance to go play another game. And we can play better, we need to play better. We did some things well at Miami, some things not so well. We have to keep getting better. It’s like I told our football team, we still have more than half the season to go. We’re disappointed that we lost two games in the league but also the two teams that beat us are combined 9-1 with their one loss coming to the number one ranked team in the country. So you try to get better and see if you can’t win this game. You take it week by week. We can still have a pretty good season if we can get the thing turned.”

How BYU’s defense looks compared to last year…
Well they’ve got a lot of new guys but Kyle Van Noy, the outside linebacker, is very talented and probably a first round draft pick I would think. There’s three or four guys who played last year, several new guys. It’s hard to tell with them because they come back off mission so it’s not like they’re freshmen. It could’ve been guys who were playing and starting two years ago, or three years ago, then they go on mission and come back and start up where they left off. They’re talented, they’ve got good players.”  

What stands out about BYU LB Kyle Van Noy?
“He’s just a really good football player. He’s probably 6′ 5″, 245, can run and he’s got great football skills. I mean, you look at their last game, the very first play of the game they tried to throw a quick game pass out there, and the outside linebacker jumps up and doesn’t knock it down, he catches it and scores with it. He makes a lot of plays, he’s a good player.”

Is last year’s game motivation for this year?
“You would think. I don’t know if “beat down” is the right term. We got physically on the edge, they got after us pretty good. We were 0-10 on third down and we had one third down that was less than five yards. We got ourselves behind the eight ball; they did a great job. I just went back and broke down the game for about the 10th time to see if I’ve missed something. We had the ball twice in the first quarter; they did a good job controlling the ball and staying on the field and converting third downs. We didn’t make our third downs. We had a couple of different times where we had second and two and we tried to throw a play-action pass and we got a holding penalty or we got sacked. And you have to give them credit for making plays but we’re not going to survive if it’s third and 10 every time, nobody is. Contrary to popular opinion, there aren’t a lot of teams that make a lot of third and 10s so you’ve got to stay out of that.”

Can you pinpoint your team’s troubles?
It’s been a myriad of things. You know, we’ve been blitzed some, we had the protection called when we had the maximum protection against the blitz when we hit it right, which we have several times. We haven’t blocked right or we haven’t thrown hot when we should’ve thrown hot, we haven’t run very good routes, or the protection. It’s everything; it’s not just one guy. It’d be easy to fix if you could say the quarterback couldn’t throw it in a barrel, so he can’t throw. That’s not the case. Or this guy can’t pass block so you know you’ve got him out, that’s not the case, it’s a different guy. We just need to be more consistent and coach it better, work at it and we’ve got to pay attention to detail. We can’t just go out there and wing it and do what we want to do.”

Have injuries contributed to troubles on O-Line?
Well, I think that we thought that was going to be a strength of the team. We thought we had a lot of guys returning there. We have yet to have the group that we thought we were going to have when the season started play, but that’s the nature of the beast, that’s what happens. We’ve had some injuries there and we’ve had a lot of injuries in the second. I was looking the other day, we were going in to the season thinking Fred Holton and Isaiah Johnson will be the two safeties. Neither of them have played a snap.  Then Jamal Golden gets hurt. You’ve got guys who are out there competing and getting better, but that’s the nature of the game. Every team has injuries, you just have to move along with it. Guys have to step up.”

Talk about Charles Perkins development…
Charles has a great attitude. He has fought back through some really tough injuries. He could’ve felt sorry for himself and just kind of went through the motions. At one point, the medical staff said that they could DQ him medically and I talked to him and his parents to see if he wanted to do that. He would’ve stayed on scholarship, he would’ve had everything, but he was determined that he wanted to try to play. He didn’t want to look back twenty years from now and think about how he missed out on a chance. He worked hard to rehab, he’s come in and any success he’s had I’m just really happy for him and proud of him because he has worked hard to get there.”

Is there one game vs. BYU from your time at Hawaii that stands out?
“Maybe the one that I can remember best is when Ty Detmer had just won the Heisman, they had made the announcement and we played them that night in Hawaii, so the announcement came at what, four o’clock Hawaii time and we had the game at seven and we beat them 56-14. They were ranked third or fourth in the country. That one stands out. I remember we sacked him like nine times in the game. But we had some great games with them. You know, 35 years starts to run together but I think the one game I remember out there, we actually lost. It was either 39-36 or 36-33 or something. We had a 20-yard field-goal to win the game, the score was tied, and we had the ball on their three yard line, lined up to kick a 20-yard field goal, we hit the upright and they threw two passes and beat us in the last play of the game. Those are the ones you remember. You remember the losses more than the wins sometimes.”

How is mood/confidence of team?
“The confidence of the team? I think in this day in age, with young people, they’re plenty confident. I don’t think you’d have anyone on our time if you singled them out that wouldn’t tell you that they think they’re very capable of playing at a high level and winning games and that kind of thing.  I don’ have a concern about that, you just got to do it.”

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