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October 15, 2014

Paul Johnson

COACH JOHNSON:  I think, as always, it will be a huge challenge to go on the road in the league and play against a team that was very impressive this past Saturday at Notre Dame.
Their quarterback put on quite a performance and quite a show ‑ maybe as good as I've seen in a long, long time.  So we know North Carolina has some very good athletes.
We're anxious to get back and play again.  We were very disappointed with the result last Saturday.  I think you have to give Duke credit.  Their kids played well and played hard.  But we can't turn the ball over three times in a game and expect to have the result that we want.
Looking forward to have another chance to go out there and play again.

Q.  You said if you turn the ball over three times you can't have the result you want.  You played Duke close.  What do you think contributed to those mistakes?  Is it something you thought maybe has been a problem before?  Is it something that was characteristic in the game against Duke?
COACH JOHNSON:  Give Duke credit, their kids played really hard.  One of the fumbles, I think their guy did a good job of raking the ball out, the one fumble we had, the ball security wasn't good on it, but they did rake the ball out.
I think the interceptions were just unfortunate.  We have not done that in games.  We felt like the one interception going in on the goal line was just a poor throw.  I mean, the guy was open, had a chance for a big play.  The other one was just a bad decision.  Scrambling, running, throwing the ball sideways when you're going one way is not a good recipe to help anything.
I thought the thing that Duke did very well in our game was in the red zone.  We had a hard time getting the ball in for touchdowns.  When they got down there, they scored touchdowns.  Truthfully, that with the turnovers was the difference in the game.  The red zone probably had as much to do with it as the turnovers.

Q.  With your team being more characteristic of the run, a lot of those mistakes coming in the pass, how does that affect you moving forward?  Obviously you want to be able to pass when you need to, but how have you had that conversation with your quarterbacks if you need them to go out there and make a couple of those throws?
COACH JOHNSON:  It's not going to affect the way we play.  We'll still play the same way.  You have to be able to throw play‑action, got to be able to do that.
I think it was a little uncharacteristic.  I think our quarterback got banged up before halftime.  I think he was probably hurt more than he let on or told anybody.  I think if you look at the motion, that probably didn't help on the one on the goal line where he flat‑footed it, just kind of shoved it out there.  The other one was a poor decision.  Hopefully he learned from that.  But that's not going to make us quit throwing the football.

Q.  What have you seen out of Marquise Williams?
COACH JOHNSON:  I think he's a true dual‑threat quarterback.  He's a great runner.  He's a good thrower.  In the game against Notre Dame, the thing that was so impressive to me was how he competed.  The first guy very seldom if ever got him down.  He made big plays out of broken plays, those kind of things.  He was pretty much a warrior in that game.  He played as well as anybody I've seen play in a while.

Q.  Some weeks you've been coming off of some games happier than other games.  What are the keys for your defense to stop that UNC attack this week?
COACH JOHNSON:  I think we've got to stay away from giving up the big plays.  We have to play rush defense.  Can't let people run the ball.  Duke ran the ball on us very effectively.  That was disappointing.  We've got to try to get some turnovers.  We aren't doing a very good job of getting the ball out.
There's a lot of things we can do better, just like on offense, a lot of things on defense we can do better.

Q.  Coach, obviously North Carolina has put up some great numbers offensively, been effective.  They've struggled because their defense is last in the league in most categories.  When you look at them on film, is there something you can exploit?  Is there a problem that you can see there that maybe has caused them so much trouble?
COACH JOHNSON:  I think they gave up some big plays early on.  You have to be realistic, too.  When you play as many snaps as they play, when you hurry up on one end, the other side gets a lot of turns, too.
Sometimes stats can be somewhat deceiving in that if they're playing 30 or 40 plays more on defense than other teams are playing.  I think it's all relative.

Q.  Would you say this game is a contrast in styles?  They're going to try to force tempo, get a lot of plays, and you guys when you play well control the ball, keep the other team off the field?  Is that a determining factor in the game?
COACH JOHNSON:  It could be.  We don't necessarily try to keep the other team.  We're just trying to score.  With the nature of what we do, we're not going at breakneck speed.  It's just a different way to play.
If you looked at the stats, I'm sure their defense has played way more than ours.  So the stats are going to be somewhat skewed that way.  That's just the nature of the way you play.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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