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November 12, 2014

Paul Johnson

PAUL JOHNSON:  Good morning.  I was proud of the way our guys competed last week on the road.  Now we come home to probably face the stiffest challenge of the year so far.  Certainly, Clemson is probably the most talented team we've played to date.  So huge challenge.
We haven't had Clemson here in Atlanta for a couple of years.  So we're looking forward to having a great football team come to our place to play and seeing how we stack up against them.

Q.  I know you talked about Clemson being the stiffest challenge that you're going to have at this point in your season so far.  What are some of the things offensively that you've really keyed in on that you feel Clemson has been able to do well that's going to challenge the defense that you have going into this game?
PAUL JOHNSON:  Well, I think that we've struggled all year with mobile quarterbacks.  I guess we're the fortunate ones that we get to welcome Deshaun Watson back, who is probably as good of a dual threat quarterback as there is in the country, especially for a young guy.  We had him in our camp a couple years, and he's a dynamic athlete.  He's got a really strong arm, and he's been pretty accurate.
So they're going to spread you out and run their system.  I mean, they do what they do.  They'll run some zone reads, some bubbles, and they'll take some shots downfield.  A lot of motion, a lot of window dressing.  So we've just got to be sound with our eyes and play our keys and play good defense.  There's no magic way to stop them, I don't think.
Hopefully, we can create some turnovers.  That's what we've been able to do the last two or three games.

Q.  When you bring up the fact that you had Watson in your camp for a couple years, when you saw him growing up at that point, did you ever see kind of a spark or moments that, when you see him now, you think, okay, yeah, that makes sense.  Could you tell back then what he was going to be able to progress at such a young age and be successful?
PAUL JOHNSON:  Oh, yeah, no question.  It was pretty clear he was a gifted athlete.  He was in high school when he came to our camp.  So there's no question that you didn't have to look long to know he was going to be a really special player.

Q.  Coach, just wanted to talk about the rivalry you guys have had with Clemson and how this game has always seemed to be a tight, close one for the most part.  It's kind of crazy how anything can happen when you two guys play.  I know that's cliche, but it's really true when you two get together, right?
PAUL JOHNSON:  Yeah, we've had some great games.  I was looking today, and we've played them seven times, I think, since I've been here, and they've all been‑‑ last year they got up on us pretty good.  We couldn't stop them.  But other than that, they've all been close games and really close in the fourth quarter.
I think this is one of their better teams.  Defensively, this might be one of the best defensive teams they've had since we played them.
So that's a challenge.  They've got young skilled guys that are very talented, and as the year's gone on, they've gotten better and better, too.  They're a very talented team, no question.  Dabo's done a really good job putting this team together.

Q.  To follow up on something you just said there, talking about their defense, is this from your standpoint one of, or maybe one of the best defenses you've seen to this point in the season?
PAUL JOHNSON:  It's the best defense we've played to this point, no question, yeah.

Q.  Good morning.  You guys have won three games in a row.  What's the single biggest thing that's kind of propelled you to maybe improved play in the last three weeks?
PAUL JOHNSON:  I think we've been pretty consistent offensively throughout the year, other than we kind of threw a stinker in the Duke game a little bit.  I guess you could call it a stinker.  It wasn't up to the standards of the other games, where we turned the ball over some.
We've played better on defense.  We've gotten turnovers and created turnovers, and that's enabled us to‑‑ you know, we've been fairly efficient offensively all year, but the defense has come to the party the last three weeks.

Q.  You guys have now locked up 20 consecutive years with a.500 or better record in the ACC.  What's it been like to be a part of that consistency year in and year out?
PAUL JOHNSON:  I think you don't really think about it as you go into the season.  You're just trying to get ready and play.  I think, if you look at everything that's involved, it's really a pretty staggering stat when you consider all the outside variables that go into all the recruiting and everything.
So it says a lot about the players we've had, and I guess the propensity for Georgia Tech to continue to win as many games as they lose in the league.  Certainly, the league's changed the last probably 10 years or 12 years with expansion, however long it's been, but that's a pretty good stat.

Q.  The way you all have played the last few weeks, and you've got really a measuring‑stick game Saturday against Clemson.  Does this team have the look as one that could turn around the success against Georgia, and in Bowl games such as they've been in the last few years?
PAUL JOHNSON:  I don't know.  We'll see.  Not a lot of people have beaten Georgia.  We lost to them in double overtime last year.  We lost some close games.  Certainly, we would like to win the game.  I'm not going to measure our season on beating Georgia.
We've got to get ready for Clemson this week.  That's the big challenge facing us, and that's all we're concerned about right now. 

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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