home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


August 27, 2014

Paul Johnson

COACH JOHNSON:  Good morning.  I think, like most everyone, we're excited to finally be in game week, have a chance to play this Saturday to find out a lot about our football team, actually be able to hit someone in a different color uniform.  I know our guys are excited about that.
Looking forward to the start of the season.  Certainly I'm familiar with Wofford having coached at Georgia Southern in the Southern Conference, them being a member of that.  We know we'll get a team that will be well‑coached and a team that will be a good test for us on Saturday.

Q.  Justin Thomas is a guy that's had some experience.  It looks like he's really suited to run your offense.  Talk about his maturity and development going into this season.
COACH JOHNSON:  Justin is going into his third season.  We were able to redshirt him the first year, he played a little bit last year as a redshirt freshman.  He brings a great skill set to what we're trying to do.  He's got really good speed, good quickness.  Got a quick release throwing the ball.  I think he's got all the skill set to run what we want to do offensively.
We have a young man behind him named Tim Byerly, who has had has a good camp.  We're excited about both those guys at the quarterback position.

Q.  For a couple years you have used two quarterbacks a lot.  Will we see that again?
COACH JOHNSON:  Well, we really haven't.  I mean, last year Vad Lee took most all the snaps.  Justin played a little bit.  We're not going into the season thinking we're going to use two.  It could happen.
I just feel we're confident in Tim, if we need to put him in the game, that he can get the job done.  But we don't have a plan to go in and say, Okay, this guy is going to play 40 reps, this guy is going to get 35 or whatever.  Justin Thomas will be the quarterback.

Q.  Can you update me on how the defense is coming along compared to where they've been in the past.
COACH JOHNSON:  Well, we lost several guys on defense.  I think we had six defenders that were in NFL camps this year.  So we got to retool up front.  We lost three of the four guys, including the all‑time sack leader in Jeremiah.  Adam Gotsis returns on defensive line.  He's a guy who has played.  Three new guys.  Shawn Green, he's been injured.  If he can stay healthy, he'll have a good year.  Tyler Stargel will get his first start at defensive end.  The other defensive end position is a true freshman KeShun Freeman or Rod Chungong.  They're battling it out this week to see who will start.
Linebackers return.  We have Quayshawn Nealy, who has been a three‑year starter.  Tyler Marcordes, who started.  We feel good about them.  P.J. Davis.  Got our two safeties back, Isaiah Johnson and Jamal Golden both missed last year with injury.  Isaiah will be a four‑year starter.  Jamal, this will be his third year starting.  Some experience there.
D.J. White started at corner a year ago.  The other corner will be Chris Milton or Lawrence Austin.  Until we start to play some games and they take their own identity, nobody knows.  But I think they're athletic.  I know Coach Roof will have them playing hard and running around.  We'll see what that brings.

Q.  Also curious about the runningback situation.  You have a experienced guy in Laskey coming back.  How do you like that?  Who looks good in the A back situation?
COACH JOHNSON:  We have Zach Laskey and Synjyn Days playing B back.  They're both good.  I think we're as good there as we've been in a long time.
The A backs, Deon Hill, Charles Perkins, B.J. Bostic, Tony Zenon, all those guys have started and played a lot.  There's a lot of experience at skill positions.  The slots and receivers.  We return both starting receivers.  We had three receivers who started.  DeAndre Smelter, Michael Summers, Darren Waller.  They're all back.  Two redshirt freshmen in Ricky Jeune and Antonio Messick we think are good players.
Feel like we've got some depth there and a lot of guys who played a lot of football at those positions.

Q.  Playing Wofford this week, they're an option‑based offense.  Can you talk about some of the similarities between your attack and theirs, and what are some of the differences that they like to do?
COACH JOHNSON:  I think the two teams are very similar.  Offensively they're probably a little more gun oriented.  They look a lot like what we probably looked like last year, mixing some stuff in.  We're back to our basic stuff more.  But there's a lot of similarities.
The game could go really fast.  Two teams that run the football, try to possess it.  When you line up and look at the other team, it's not going to be like you haven't played against some of the stuff in fall camp.  There's a lot of carryover and the two teams are similar.

Q.  I was wondering about the defensive end spot with KeShun Freeman and rookie and Chungong.  How have those guys looked there?
COACH JOHNSON:  They've both had good camps.  I think KeShun as able to come in early and have spring practice.  That helped him a lot.  He's a really good athlete.  Got good speed, good quickness, plays with a high motor.  More than likely Rod will get to start this week because of the option oriented team we're playing.  He's a little older, been around, a little more familiar with that type of deal.
I can see that battle as we start to play other team.  KeShun could start one week and Rod the next.  A competition who plays the best once we start playing.  Tyler Stargel, he's on the other side, played a little bit last year, converted linebacker from two years ago.  Then there's another young freshman named Tyler Merriweather pushing him.  Right now we probably have at least a three‑man rotation at end, and a three‑ or four‑man rotation inside.  As we start to play, that thing will sort itself out.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297