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November 19, 2014

Paul Johnson

PAUL JOHNSON:  I think that you never know about what is the appropriate time to have a bye week.  But I think that it's probably hit at a good time for us.  We're banged up little bit.
We took a day off.  We're going to come back and practice today and tomorrow pretty good, get a jump start on Georgia.  And then take the weekend off and come back and be fresh on Monday and get ready to play our last regular season game.
Our effort against Clemson on Saturday, I think Clemson is a very good football team.  And really defensively as good as we've played in a while.
So it was a good ‑‑ nice win for our program and looking forward to going to see what we can do in Athens.

Q.  Looking at that Clemson game and what your team was able to do.  Obviously two interception returns for a touchdown.  When you look at Jamaal Golden and Chris Milton as well as the rest of your defense, what can you say about plays like that, and obviously against a Clemson team and a strong offensive, just what you can say about those players that their efforts and how obviously it helped you get that victory?
PAUL JOHNSON:  Well, I think anytime you can score on defense (inaudible).

Q.  When you look at that start that you had from your offensive, what could you say about the leadership and some of the things that you were able to see at the sidelines to help your team bounce back offensively and not just the help from the defensive returns, but who you saw step up on offensive?
PAUL JOHNSON:  Well, I think we just continue to play.  We had a little bit of a screwy game that we played this year.  We had two series in the first quarter.  (Inaudible.)  It was kind of a situation where the first series we took the ball down the field (inaudible.)
And after that we only punted one time in the game, so we played very good.  We had to kick some field goals when we got in the red zone, but we were able to move the ball okay against them.  It wasn't a great offensive, but it was good enough to win a game.

Q.  Another question on your defense.  Do you think there's anything contagious about all these big plays, especially the big 6's?  One guy is trying to keep up with the others?
PAUL JOHNSON:  Well, you hope so.  But I really, really don't think that's the case.  I think it's just a case of guys preparing well and being in the right place at the right time.  And sometimes those things happen.  I mean D.J. White's turn pick was every bit as important as the other guys who were able to score.  So we're just glad that we were able to get some of those and get the defense going a little bit.  We struggled early in the year defensively, and it's great to have them playing well this time of the year.

Q.¬† To follow up, even though you said this was your best game defensively, it has been ‑‑ you've seen a trending this way, is that correct?
PAUL JOHNSON:  Yeah, I think we played much better defensively the last three or four games.  But at the start of the season most of our games were kind of shoot outs.  We've been able to play very good defense the last three or four weeks and we've been fortunate in that we got ahead.  And we've been able to get out and get away from some people.  And early in the year that wasn't necessarily the case.

Q.  I guess you and Florida State didn't play last season.  How much have you studied Georgia's defense?
PAUL JOHNSON:  We just got started on it this week.  We haven't played Florida State since when Jeremy was there, actually.  We played them in the ACC Championship game a few years ago.  But it was a different defensive coordinator then.
We'll look at the tape and try to figure out what we think they'll do.¬† They're playing pretty well defensively.¬† We've watched a lot of tape the last few days.¬† And they really got after ‑‑ after a really good Auburn offensive.¬† We know they've got great players and good athletes.¬† It will be a challenge for us, no question.

Q.  When you talk about the way you guys have played the last four games, were there any adjustments in particular that you made on defense that led to this?
PAUL JOHNSON:  I think we probably played a little more aggressively and did some things, but truthfully our guys just made some plays.  And I think gained a little confidence.  And clearly when we lineup and go to Georgia that will be the best offensive we've played in a while.

Q.  I just wanted to ask you about, you got a week to prepare and Georgia is obviously the team that a lot of your fans would rather beat than anybody.  How significant is that game to your program in terms of getting up against Georgia?
PAUL JOHNSON:¬† Well, it's a big game.¬† Like you said, our fans definitely want to win the game.¬† I think everybody involved wants to win.¬† It's a rival game.¬† I try to stay away from saying one game defines a program in a season.¬† To this point we've had a really nice season.¬† Probably better than most of you guys expected or thought we were going to have.¬† And it's ‑‑ it would be the icing on the cake if we could find a way to go to Athens and win a game.¬† That's certainly what we're going to shoot for.¬† I'm not going to let it define our program if we don't go to Athens and win a game.

Q.  I guess the other question is with the week off will you be a big USC fan this week?
PAUL JOHNSON:  Yeah, we'll probably be pulling for the Tar Heels on Thursday night.  We had our chance and didn't take care of it when we could have or should have or whatever.  I think you have to give Duke credit.  But, yeah, we'll be Carolina fans, no question.

Q.¬† Just to follow up on that, do you ‑‑ that game is tomorrow night and has a significant bearing on your future, as a team.¬† Will you get together with your coaches to watch it or will you just go off and watch it by yourself or just turn it off and not watch it at all?¬† How do you handle something ‑‑ a situation like that?
PAUL JOHNSON:  Well, to be honest with you, I think that I'm going to give the team the weekend off.  We've got a few guys who will be around here.  I think they're going to gather, we're going to set up a place for them to watch over here.  And we'll probably get in pizza and watch the game.
The other guys will probably bail out of here, the ones that don't have class, they'll probably try to get out to go home.  The coaching staff is going to be all over the place.  I know that I'm going to try to get out for a few days after practice tomorrow.  Everybody just does their thing.  I'll try to watch the game tomorrow night.  I don't think any of the coaches plan on watching it together.  I'm sure they'll do what they do, watch it at home or whatever.
But I think most everybody around the program will be ‑‑ they've got a rooting interest, so they'll be watching the game, I think.

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