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 30, 2017

Paul Johnson

Greensboro, North Carolina

PAUL JOHNSON: Good morning. We're excited to be getting closer to game time. I think we've had a productive camp and looking forward to playing a ranked Tennessee team that always recruits well and has a lot of good athletes, so it will be a real challenge for us on Monday night.

Q. With you guys playing Tennessee this year and given what the ACC was able to do last year nationally, moving forward do you feel like the ACC can get on the type of run that the SEC did, not necessarily winning seven national titles in a row, but getting to the point where they are consistently part of the conversation as the best conference in the country?
PAUL JOHNSON: Well, I think so. I think certainly the last couple years you could make a case for that no matter how you want to measure it. But bottom line, you've got to go out and continue to win games. I think anytime you have interconference match-ups, it's important to go out and do well. Certainly during this season we'll have several head-to-head with the SEC and some of the other conferences as well.

Q. Now that you no longer have Mills at running back, what is your assessment at that position now that you've gone through camp?
PAUL JOHNSON: Well, that KirVonte Benson is a red-shirt sophomore, and he'll start at B-back. I think he's got the ability to be a really good player. You know, he's about 215, strong guy. Squats 600 pounds. Ran ten 600 meters in high school. He just hasn't played. He was injured his freshman year and missed all that. Last year I think he was just kind of getting back accustomed, and we had Dedrick and Marcus Marshall that played in front of him. So, you know, we'll see. I think he can be a viable option.

Got a young freshman named Jerry Howard that's probably going to play. Probably the third guy right now would be Quaide Weimerskirch. He's played a little as well.

I think through the years we've interchanged those guys, and I'm anxious to watch them play. I think they'll do well.

Q. Coach, no more two-a-days by the NCAA. Is that a good thing or a bad thing in your opinion for fall practice?
PAUL JOHNSON: Well, I think most teams have gotten away from most two-a-days anyway. I know the most we've done here in the last five or six years have been two. I think if you asked the players, they would tell you they'd much rather have two-a-days than have to come in early. When you have two practices in one day, the second one is normally short and usually in shells or shorts.

So it wasn't like I think it was being portrayed in effect that you went out there for three weeks like it used to be and practiced twice a day in pads. That just hasn't been the case in a long time.

Q. Coach, with the advent of the spread offense, you're seeing offenses have the ball 13, 14, 15 or more possessions a game. Is good defense now just keeping a team under 20?
PAUL JOHNSON: Well, I think if you hold a team under 20, that's pretty good. That's going to put you up there in the national rankings probably on points per game. We're kind of a throwback. We averaged about between 10 and 12 possessions a game, which is, as you said, probably three to four less than what everybody else is getting. So you would hope that would help our defensive number some, but that hasn't always been the case. But you hope that would help.

Q. I know heading into fall camp you had high expectations for the offensive line and the way that would come together. How did you feel about that going into the season, and could they provide some leadership with the offense considering the experience in the backfield that's going to be starting out?
PAUL JOHNSON: We're going to be a young offense no matter what. We've only got two seniors on the team to start. But the offensive line, I think, those guys have played a lot. The center guard box is pretty good. They're sophomores, most of them. But I think they're good players. Certainly if we're going to be good on offense, they're going to have to play well.

We lost Andrew Marshall, who would have probably been one of the starting tackles. He's going to be out for this game in probably the first couple, first few.

But, you know, hopefully those guys will play. They've been out there before. They know what it's about. We do return pretty much all of our receivers and all of our A-backs, so we're really young at quarterback and B-back, that's where the guys who haven't played as much.

Q. Does Tennessee present any special challenge for you defensively, or are you going to run your offense like you normally do and make them react to that? Do they have a special challenge for you defensively coming up on Monday night?
PAUL JOHNSON: Well, I think they've got some good players, but we're not going to change what we do. We'll run our scheme, run our system and try to find something that we feel like gives us a chance to be successful. We are who we are. We're not going to change. We don't really change for anybody. Certainly not going to change for them.

Q. Quick follow-up on that, please, do you anticipate seeing more than one player at quarterback, or does that just depend on how the game goes?
PAUL JOHNSON: Could be. I told somebody at the press conference yesterday that we may run plays with those guys. Who knows.

Q. Just talk about practicing in that brand-new stadium yesterday? What was it like practicing in that new state-of-the-art stadium there in downtown Atlanta?
PAUL JOHNSON: Well, it's certainly a great facility. To be honest, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention because we were involved in the practice part. I was joking and I told somebody last night: You too can have one of those for a billion dollars. So it's pretty nice. It's going to be -- I'm sure the fans are going to love it, and it's going to be a great place for a lot of big-time college football games and a big home-field advantage for the Falcons.

Q. What type of coach is Butch Jones? I know you went from Cincinnati to Tennessee. Have you ever coached against him or what do you think about him as a coach for Tennessee?
PAUL JOHNSON: I don't know Butch. Certainly he's been very successful in his career. He's moved up the ranks. I've got a lot of respect for him and what he's done. Personally, I don't really know him other than just to say that. We've never played each other.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
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