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Quotes from Media Day

Aug. 2, 2014

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August 2, 2014
Bobby Dodd Stadium

Head Coach Paul Johnson 

Opening Statement
“It’s exciting that we are cranked out again. We just finished practice number three this morning. First day in shells. I think the enthusiasm on the team is good. The attitude is good. We’re working hard and looking forward to a really good camp and a great start to the season. I think the season lays out like you would want it to as a coach with the non-conference games up front so it gives you a chance to build. And we’re excited about the guys. I think the guys that are out there are excited be out there and we are looking forward to it.”

Do Justin Thomas and Tim Byerly differ as quarterbacks?
“Tim’s a little bigger and maybe a little more physical. Justin’s a little bit faster and quicker. I think they both can do what we need to do in the offense. I don’t think we have to change for one or the other. Clearly Tim’s a better inside runner because he’s bigger and Justin’s a little better on the edge because he’s faster.”

Can you talk about where you see things going with the A-back position?
“There’s a lot of experience there. Robbie Godhigh was very productive for us a year ago so we have to find somebody to fill that role. Deon Hill has started a bunch of games. Charles Perkins has started. Synjyn Days has started. B.J. Bostic has been a starter. Tony Zenon. We think Dennis Andrews is pretty good. There’s a lot of guys that can play that position. It’s also pretty deep.”

How has the defensive line been so far?
“We’re going to have to play by committee there. We’ve got a couple of guys inside. We’ve got Adam Gotsis who’s played a lot. Shawn Greene can be a good player. It’s time for Francis Kallon and Patrick Gamble to step up. They’ve certainly got the bodies you want there. And outside right now, KeShun Freeman we were excited about in the spring. Tyler Stargel, [Roderick] Rook-Chungong, Nick Menocal – they’re some guys. We’ll just sort it out as we go through – maybe one of the other freshman after we get a look in pads.”

What’s the next step in Adam Gotsis’ development?
“To become consistent. He hasn’t played a lot. Every time he goes out there he gets better just from an experience standpoint. I think he’s worked hard in the offseason. He’s the strongest he’s been. He’s getting to the point now where he needs to be a leader on defense. He’s been fairly productive he just needs to be more consistent.”

What gives you confidence about this team moving forward?
“I feel good about their work ethic; the way they work. I think they’re a pretty tight-knit group.  I think they have high expectations for themselves. I think they want to be good. I think they believe in what we’re doing. You asked about the conference prediction, but why wouldn’t these kids not think they’re going to be good? They haven’t finished lower then second or third in their division since we’ve been here.”

Do you think this team is more excited to play this season than they were last year?
“Before you start the season everybody’s undefeated and everybody’s geared up and ready to go. I think that’s probably true for most teams. The proof will be in the pudding once you start playing. We’ve got some holes to fill. We’ve got some holes to fill on defense. There are six guys in NFL camps right now. It’s amazing to hear that we never could recruit anyone. We’ve got to replace those guys. We’ve got replace a lot of experience on the offensive line. There are question marks. I can see why people would question. But I get to watch them work and see them practice every day. And fortunately we get to play the games. You don’t get to decide who wins and who loses before you play. We’ll go out there and I think they’ll be excited to play and we’ll see what happens. Are we going to be the most talented team that we’ve had here individually? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean you’re not going to be the best team. You just have to see.”

Justin Thomas – Redshirt Sophomore, Quarterback

What are your personal goals are this year?
“I want to be successful. Go out there and play as hard as I can every game and try and come out on the good end.”

Do you have to prove yourself during camp?
There is always going to be something to prove. I haven’t started a game yet. I still have to come in, prepare and keep myself motivated like it’s a game situation every day.”

What is the feeling like when a quarterback pitches the ball and the A-back takes it in for a touchdown?
It is a good feeling because you know that you had a part of it. It makes them look good and it makes you look good. Everyone gets involved and gets excited for everybody.

Jamal Golden – Redshirt Junior, Defensive Back

How it feels to start to prepare for the season?
“It’s just a blessing to be able to be back in the pads going into fall camp and feeling better than I have felt before with my shoulder injury. I’m just feeling really good and I’m ready to get rolling.”

What is it like having the same defensive coordinator for the second year in a row?
“It slows the game down for us tremendously. We are going into meetings and he’s asking us questions and we answering it like that, like its second nature to us. We don’t have to think about it or anything. You can see it on the field too. When we go through our checks and our formation drills, it’s pretty much second nature. We know what to do. We are not out there trying to learn as much.”

After playing alongside Isaiah Johnson before, does it make it easier to communicate?
“Me and Isaiah have a certain chemistry between ourselves. I know where he is going to be and he knows where I am going to be. If one of us doesn’t get the call, we know when to communicate with each other with who is going down in the box, who is going back to the post, who is going over the top. With the fundamentals of the game, we have chemistry of relaying that to each other.”


Zach Laskey – Senior, Running Back

How do you feel about this year’s offensive line?
“So far, they look strong. This spring they had a strong performance. We have a lot of young guys that have a chance to show what they have in the beginning part of camp. I’m hoping it is going to be one of our strong points this season.”

What is it mean for you to get back to basics with the offense?
As far as my position goes, its more dive tracks. Last year we worked on the shot gun and stuff like that. When we did that, every now and then we would have a mess up on our original plays. For me, its eliminating those mess-ups because we are getting more reps of that. I need to dial in more and make sure I do the little things right.”

What do you see from Justin Thomas at the quarterback position?
“He’s definitely stepped up. He is kind of a shy guy but on the football field he has spoken up more and has taken the reigns of this offense.”




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