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Paul Johnson Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 27, 2009

Opening Statement:

“I was proud of our guys after the Virginia game. It’s another streak that people liked to talk about that our team put an end to. I don’t know if we played our best game of the year. You have to give the kids from Virginia a lot of credit, they played hard. But, we did enough to find a way to win the game. Once we got deep into the third quarter, we felt good about where we were. It was a concern that for the second week in a row we started out committing penalties on offense and hurting ourselves by stopping drives. On the first drive, we had a fourth and short that we were getting ready to go for and we jumped offside’s. Then, we take it into the end zone and have a chop block that wiped four points off the scoreboard. That’s a concern. On the flip side, I thought we did a good job defensively, especially in the first half. We held them and made them kick some field goals. If you can do that [not giving up touchdowns] you usually have a pretty good chance to win the game. All-in-all, we played ok and won the game. It just makes this week’s game that much bigger.”

On Vanderbilt:

“I have a great deal of respect for [Vanderbilt head coach] Bobby [Johnson]. We’ve played against each other a lot. He and his staff do a great job and they’ll have their team ready to play. I think they’re a much better team than their record would indicate. They’ve played some teams close, coming off last week’s 14-10 loss at South Carolina. I think they’re in the top 25 in scoring defense and they usually don’t beat themselves. We’re going to have to go on the road to their place and play well.”

On the importance of Saturday’s game with Vanderbilt, despite it being an out-of-conference game:
“I think our football team, to be a special one, has to go out and want to win every game. I can’t imagine ever playing a game where you didn’t feel like it was important, not me anyway. We hear a lot about the SEC here and there’s always comparisons between the two leagues. We have an opportunity this year to play three SEC teams and this is our second one. So, we’ll see how we measure up against them.”

On worries of the team letting down against Vanderbilt:

“I’m not worried about that. I hope our guys are mature enough to realize that Vanderbilt is a good football team. We’re playing against the SEC, we’re not supposed to be able to compete. It’s a chance for our guys to match up with [an SEC team] again. Like I said, I know what we’re walking into. I’m sure it’s a game [Vanderbilt] feel they can win. Why wouldn’t they, they’ve played everyone on their schedule close. Georgia blew the game open late with some kick returns, but that was a pretty close game throughout. The rest of their games have been close. They played LSU tough in Baton Rouge. They have a pretty good football team. Their record is deceiving, I think.”

On success of the offense in the second half of the last two games:
“Like I said earlier, in the last two games, we’ve hurt ourselves early on with penalties. It would interesting to go back and see how many times in the last three or four games where a drive hasn’t been stopped by a penalty. I think you would see that it hasn’t happened a lot. We’ve kind of inflicted that on ourselves, which is tough to overcome. “

On Virginia Tech safety Kam Chancellor’s accusations of illegal blocks occurring in the Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech game:

“I don’t know, I don’t pay any attention to what players say. That game was two weeks ago and its over with. He has his opinion. I think there’s more publicity and exposure now; I don’t think the officiating has changed. I’ve said before, I wouldn’t want to do their job and I think those guys do a great job. But, they’re human, they’re going to miss calls just like coaches aren’t going to call the perfect play every time. Now, because of all of the TV coverage and the internet, boy if they miss one, it’s documented for everyone to see over and over again. There’s a lot of scrutiny put on them. There’s a lot of judgment calls in a football game that opposing fans are going to disagree on. I think, overall, officials do a good job for what we ask them to do.”

On the improvements of the defense:

“We’re getting a lot closer to having a base system on defense, similar to what we have on offense. You add a wrinkle or two every week and guys get better adjusted to that. You know where weaknesses are, so you know where to tweak it if guys are getting hurt. The last few weeks, we’ve been better against the run. Virginia Tech gashed us a little bit, but that was on quarterback scrambles for the most part. Virginia had a very tough time running the ball. We’ve also been fortunate in that we haven’t had to run many plays on defense. We’ve done a good job getting teams off the field and the offense is doing a great job of staying on the field. We’re still no where we want to be, though.”

On if it is expected that opposing teams will alter play calling early in games in order to get an advantage on Georgia Tech:

“I think teams will start doing that. I think we saw a little bit of that on Saturday with Virginia taking the ball first. Most of the time I don’t know why we have a coin toss; if we win it we defer, if they win it they receive. I think that people want to try to get ahead. They feel like they get behind the eight ball if we score first. It varies from team-to-team.”

On depth of the offensive line:

“I think the backups are getting better. The more reps they take the better thy’re going to get. They played some snaps on Saturday and they’re going to have to play more from now on out. The concern you always have as you get deeper into the year is the depth issue raises its head. We’re playing 11 straight games and our guys have been pushing through pretty good, but their still beat up, as you can imagine. So, we’re going to need the backups to play more.”

On if things are improving on the recruiting trail with the Yellow Jackets’ success on the year, especially on offense:

“I don’t think there’s been any difference. I never really found a problem with it before. I think it was something that people wanted to make a problem and I think its going to be a little harder for opposing coaches to get into a kids ear now. I was happy to see that Demaryius Thomas is a semi-finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, because there goes a lot of the opposing thoughts of “Why would you go there, you can never get any notoriety as a receiver.” But, I’m just happy for him because he’s worked so hard and he’s earned it. Certainly, if we can finish out the year and have a great year, it will probably be positive and help. But, we have all our commitments lined up and had them before the season started.”

On being named to the watch list for the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award:

“To me, that says more about your football team and your assistant coaches than anything else. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of some really good teams and win some coach of the year awards and those kinds of things. They say more about your players and your assistant coaches than anything else in my opinion.”

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