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October 4, 2017

Paul Johnson

Greensboro, North Carolina

PAUL JOHNSON: Well, we're looking forward to, I guess, another bye week. We've only played four games this year, which is kind of strange. But we've got some guys banged up, and maybe that'll give us a chance to get a few guys back. We have a lot of areas we need to work on during this bye week on ourselves to try to improve, especially special teams and some other areas, as well.

Q. As you mentioned, it's a bit unusual that you've only played four games because of extenuating circumstances. Are you able to have a good feel for an evaluation for what your team has been able to do as you hit the bye and look toward the rest of the season?
PAUL JOHNSON: Well, you know, I think you have a better idea than maybe when the season started, but there's still some areas that I don't think we've really been stressed in, and until you get stressed, you're really not going to know. I guess the last -- since the very first game of the year, the last three games, by the third quarter we've had pretty good leads, so it's been -- we haven't had a real close one since the first one.

Q. You're pretty much accustomed to being at or near the top in your rushing offense, which you are again this year, in back to back 400-yard games. How does this offensive line in particular compare to some of the ones you've had in the past?
PAUL JOHNSON: Well, it's still a work in progress. We've had so many guys injured. We haven't played the same offensive line in two games I don't think. But I think the center guard box has a chance to be pretty good. Both the guys who we thought would start at offensive tackle haven't really played. Jahaziel has played a little bit, but Andrew Marshall hasn't played at all, so hopefully we'll have those guys back for the Miami game, and then we'll be able to start to tell.

Q. Also you rank high in the conference in total defense; is that any kind of a surprise to you at all, or did you expect this defense to be able to perform like this?
PAUL JOHNSON: Well, we had eight starters back, and we had hoped to be improved. You know, we could improve pretty easily from a year ago.

But it's been nice. We've played really well the last couple of games in particular. Really the last three games we've played much better.

First game was not good, but the last three have been really good.

Q. Any particular stand-outs that have emerged to this point on defense?
PAUL JOHNSON: It's just been different guys, I think. A.J. Gray had a good game last week at safety, and we've got a little pressure on the passer from Antonio Simmons and Anree Saint-Amour, which has helped. Most of those guys have all played. They've just played a lot of football, the two Austin boys, Step Durham, Brant Mitchell, a three-year starter, they've all played a lot of football.

Q. I know you've got some time to work on some things, but how will your schedule go? What will you concentrate on in the next two weeks?
PAUL JOHNSON: Well, we practiced yesterday, and we've identified four or five areas that we've really got to get better at. We will start a little bit on Miami, and then we'll devote half of practice to Miami and half to trying to get better at those things. We're going to be scrimmaging some and doing some live work, especially in special teams.

Q. What do you see from this Miami team that you will face in about 10 days?
PAUL JOHNSON: Well, they always have good players. They're athletic, got great skill, and defensively they're very good. I mean, they've got a lot of returners from the defense, and you know, they've been very impressive on defense.

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