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Paul Johnson Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 3, 2009

Opening Statement:

“We’re back into conference play this week against Wake Forest, who is a good football team. Anyone that had the chance to watch their last game with Miami saw that they kind of dominated the game. It was a tough way for them to lose. They’ve had a few games this year where the ballgame came down to similar situations. The Boston College game, they fought back and got the game into overtime, and then on first and goal from the two-yard line, they dropped the ball and ended up losing the ballgame. Against Navy, they played in a driving rainstorm and had some chances. Then last week, they probably should’ve been able to win the game. They’ve got a good team. The game is really important on both sides. Wake Forest is fighting to become bowl eligible and to get back in their race and we’re fighting to stay alive in our race. So, we’ll see what happens.”

On concerns of the health of the offensive line:

“It’s a concern. Anytime you play 11 straight games, it’s going to be tough. We’re working on our tenth game this week without a break and we have a lot of guys that are banged up and beat up. So, it’s definitely a concern. We met this morning and we’re trying to piece together two units on the offensive line for practice. We are going to have to move some guys around. We’ll know later in the week if any of those guys will be missing the game.”

On the health of Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner:

“Well, he’s been in the game for them most of the time this year. Riley Skinner is a tremendous player and a great competitor. I was impressed with [Ryan] McManus when he came into the game last week with his arm strength. It’s not like he’s a freshman, he’s a senior. With that, we’re getting ready to play Riley Skinner. We fully expect him to play in the game. They’ve said that he’s not had any symptoms. It sounds like he came out of it ok.”

On success in the second half this season:

“I think our guys compete. I wasn’t happy at halftime on Saturday and I don’t think any of the other coaches were extremely happy. The bottom line is, in the second half, we didn’t give up as many big plays. In the first half, they killed us with big plays and all except for one was against man coverage. In the second half, other than one tipped ball, we eliminated the big plays, which forced them to drive down the field more and allow our defense to make some plays. The offense was about the same in both halves.”

On being ranked in the Top 10 in two major polls this week (USA Today Coaches/BCS):

“We still have to finish out. I tell the guys everyday, we haven’t accomplished anything yet. You have to finish, just like a drill in practice. Our main goal this week has to be to beat Wake Forest and if we do that, then we’ll be closer to finishing. It’s still way too early for all of that to make a difference.”

On challenges of keeping players focused from week-to-week:

“We talk about keeping focused everyday, I hope they don’t look ahead. We tell them every week you’re as good as your last game. As soon as you lose, everybody that had jumped on the bandwagon jumps off. So, you have to take things one game at a time. It’s a one game schedule right now. You can’t worry about some team you’re going to play down the road. You have to take care of what’s at hand.”

On the up-and-down season Wake Forest is having:

“I think a lot of it can be attributed to just bad luck. The last drive against Miami, Miami converted a fourth and seventeen and the guy from Miami made a great play. Against Boston College, it was kind of a freak thing. If you go back and watch what happened, I think they busted the play on offense and [Riley] Skinner turned around and the defender was right there and slapped the ball out of his hands. Sometimes those things happen. Just like us last week, in the first series of the second half, the ball was tipped a couple of times and their [Vanderbilt] guy ended up with the ball. Sometimes, it just happens and that’s what happened to them.”

On the team’s confidence at the moment:

“There’s no question that winning breeds winning. When you have some success, your expectation level should rise and you should expect to do things. I don’t know if we’re at that point yet. Certainty at the other two places I coached [Georgia Southern and Navy] the kids expected to win games. I think these kids expect to win every time they go out there. If you don’t think you’re going to win, you’re probably not going to.”

On the best time in a season to have a bye week:

“It varies, I don’t know when the best time is to have it [a bye week]. I think you would like to have it sometime in the middle of the year, but sometimes you gain momentum and you have it and you tell yourself, “oh man, I wish we didn’t have that off week.” You don’t ever know when the best time is, but you never really want it at the end of the season. At Georgia Southern, we used to have it at the end. We played an 11 game schedule and we would have it after our 11th game because we knew that we’d be getting ready for the playoffs and it gave us a chance to rest up. What we’ve done now is cut practice back. When you get to this point of the season, you have to do that.”

On if the fact that Wake Forest played Navy earlier in the season will help in game preparation:

“Well, they’ve played Navy like three times in 10 months. They have seen the offense pretty good. They’ll have an idea of where their weak and where they need to shore up things. So, it’s probably a trade-off, it helps them as well. It’s good to be able to look at it.”

On what jersey Georgia Tech will wear on Saturday:

“Well, we’ll be wearing one. Honestly, I can care less; I’ll let the players decide. It’s either going to be gold or blue, that’s all we’ve got. Normally we’d wear white at home, and the opposing team has to agree to allow you to do that. Every team on our schedule had agreed to that except Wake Forest. That’s certainly within there right to do that, so we’ll just go pick another one.”

On if it has been surprising that the Yellow Jackets have found success in his second season as head coach:

“I haven’t really given any thought to that at all. I know, it sounds like a cliché, but all I think about is the next game. People always ask me that I don’t seem that emotional after a game and I guess that’s just my nature. I’m always worried about the next team we have to play. I think that being able to compete is what keeps you going. If you’re losing, it’s embarrassing, but if you’re winning, it becomes bigger each week. I never said if we can be x and x by our second year, then that will be good. We can still be a lot better. I said before the season that we could have a better team, but a worse record. You get ready each week, go out and play and evaluate it after it’s over.

“When I came to Georgia Tech, I though there were good people here. It’s a place that we wanted to get back to live. I had a great job at Navy and worked with some great kids. But, to me it was a chance to come back. Also, when someone tells me I can’t do something, I want to do it. That’s why I went to Navy. I loved coaching at Georgia Southern, but when Navy came up, everyone said that you couldn’t win there and going up there would be a career ender. Every time someone said that, it made me want to go more. The thing I saw at Georgia Tech was it had a great tradition and location. You play great high school football in the state, so you have a recruiting base. You have a school to sell. So, I felt you can come here, win some games and compete at a high level. Had I not thought we could compete, I wouldn’t have come.”

On Jonathan Dwyer’s case for ACC Player of the Year honors:

“Certainly, he’s a top player and one of the hardest players in the league to defend. I think part of the reason Jon got so much more publicity last year is because there weren’t so many more guys around him with the kind of numbers that they have. Josh Nesbitt had gotten hurt and missed three or four games; Demaryius Thomas had good numbers, but not as good as this year. If you flipped Roddy Jones and Anthony Allen, they would be fairly similar. The first three games, he didn’t start off with as big of a blast. In the Jacksonville State game he played a little more than a half, against Clemson he probably had 60 or 70 yards and they did a pretty good job containing him and against Miami, he got hurt and had seven yards on national TV. So, everyone just wrote him off. He’s kind of been plugging along since then and if you remember last year, he got better as the season went on. You can make the case for two or three players on our team if we can finish this thing off. There are a lot of great offensive players in this league. I’ll let the media guys figure that out, but I don’t think anyone would have to do that much explaining if Jonathan wins again. He’s that great of a player.”


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