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October 12, 2016

Paul Johnson

Greensboro, North Carolina

PAUL JOHNSON: Well, good morning. You know, we're excited to be back home to play a game. After playing several home games, we went on the road and fell a little bit short. We lost a tough game to Pitt, and now we come back and play another really quality football team in Georgia Southern, a team with a lot of tradition, a lot of pride. I'm sure that they're going to be excited to have a chance to come in and play an in-state team.

Hopefully we can play a little better and get back on track. It's been a struggle here the last couple of weeks.

Q. Obviously being known offensively for your running attack and what you can do there, to look at the other side and run defense, just how you're assessing your run defense at this point in the season.
PAUL JOHNSON: Well, we struggled a little bit last week against Pitt. I think that what they do scheme-wise is a little bit different. They do a really good job with their misdirection and the speed sweeps and that kind of thing, and we struggled.

But have to play another really good rushing team this week in Georgia Southern, and more of an option-type team. Hopefully we'll bounce back. Up until last week it had been pretty solid, but we struggled last week.

Q. What would you say were some of the things that led to that struggle? I know you talked about Pitt's scheme and kind of what they do a little bit differently. Was that majority on that, or did you see anything with your run defense that you kind of are assessing in practice this week that maybe wasn't going right in other games but it really showed in the Pittsburgh game?
PAUL JOHNSON: Well, I don't know about other games, but any time that you struggle with run defense, it's probably got to do with fits and that type of thing, and we didn't handle their misdirection stuff very well. Any of that and the stuff on the perimeter we had a hard time with.

Q. I just wanted to ask you about your connection. You were at Georgia Southern for a good long while both as a coordinator and as the head coach, won two National Championships there. Any emotion or any connection still, playing these guys?
PAUL JOHNSON: Well, I think once you play them, the game will start. It'll turn into a game. As I said earlier in the week, got a lot of good memories there. For the two years I was the offensive coordinator in '85 and '86, we won back-to-back National Championships and went 26-4, and then as the head coach there for five years we were able to win a couple more and go 62-10. So we won a lot of games there. It's important to them, and I'm sure they're going to be excited to come in here and play. But once the game starts, it'll be all Georgia Tech for me.

Q. I know you kind of established that offense; are they still running the same offense, or has it changed a little bit since you were there?
PAUL JOHNSON: They're still an option offense, but they've changed into -- they're more gun stuff and doing that, but they're still very much an option offense.

Q. You guys played them two years ago, and it was a -- the year you won the ACC Coastal Division. It turns into a last-second win. There have got to be a lot of players that remember that and played in that game from both sides, right?
PAUL JOHNSON: Yeah, there is a lot of guys, almost their entire skill group is back that played in the game, their quarterbacks. We've got a few guys that played in the game. It's going to be a tough game. It's hard for -- those schools, when I was at Georgia Southern, we tried like crazy to get games with Georgia and Georgia Tech, and we weren't -- we were finally able to play Georgia, but we could never get a game with Tech, and I'm sure they're going to be excited to have that opportunity.

You know, for them it's a chance to come in and gain some -- not that they need any credibility, they've won a lot of games. But on a different scale to come in and get some state credibility against what are perceived as the bigger teams. Just a year ago they took Georgia into overtime, so they're very capable. They've got a good team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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