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November 15, 2017

Paul Johnson

Greensboro, North Carolina

COACH JOHNSON: Good morning. I was happy with our team last week. We finally were able to finish a game. We had lost so many close games in the last series that it was great to be able to come out on the right end of one.

Looking forward to renewing the rivalry with Duke. It's always been -- the last few years have been some hard-fought, close games and we expect nothing different this time. Hopefully we can put together a good game plan and go up and play well in Durham.

Q. Talk about playing Duke. Jones has been struggling. What do you have to do to contain him this Saturday?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, you know, he's a dual-threat guy and he can run and throw. You know, last year, when we played down here, we were fortunate to win the game. But they had over 500 yards against us, and he put on quite a show with pretty much the same cast. So be a challenge for our defense to see if we've improved any and to go up and play better against him.

Q. Just talk about the rivalry against Duke. What do you like about this, every year you play them, tough games every time you play them. Just talk about it real quick.
COACH JOHNSON: Well, it's a divisional game, and you know, the two schools have played a lot over the years and academically, both have high academic standards like a lot of teams in the league. So it's just been a close, hard-fought game the last few years. It's always tough. We always have a hard time when we go up to Durham to play.

Q. Assuming you looked at last week's Duke/Army game. Just your impressions of what Jeff Monken has done at Army.
COACH JOHNSON: Well, Jeff's done a great job. No question about that. I think that when he went in there, he inherited pretty much a mess and he's got the thing turned around.

You know, they played well against Duke. It was a game where they struggled to move the ball offensively but they found ways to win. Blocked the punt and got a couple turnovers defensively and did just enough to get the win. I'm sure they were excited to come out of that one ahead.

Q. He credits you a lot with his development as a coach. Do you talk much during the season?
COACH JOHNSON: Yeah, we talk every so often. We'll check in and just visit a little bit and certainly we talked some this week. You know, he's done a really good job there. I think you have to change the culture first and went in there and has been able to do that.

Q. That's fairly difficult to do, isn't it?
COACH JOHNSON: I think so. I mean, he had some experience. He was a big part of our staff at Navy when we went in there and got that thing turned around and going in the right direction and I'm sure that he used a lot of the same principles and the same stuff at Army.

Q. How difficult is it to recruit at a service academy?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, it different. I would say different. The neat thing that everybody for gets, it's difficult to recruit there, but the advantage the service academies have, and I think sometimes you don't even realize it until you're not there, is they are not limited to any number.

So they can sign 80 guys a year and when you do that, the odds of finding eight or ten pretty good players are better than when you're taking 25.

Q. That's a good point. I'm amazed at how many guys they have to look at.

Q. Could you talk about a couple of the standouts from your offensive line? You rank high again this year in rushing average nationally. I know your line has played pretty well several times this season.
COACH JOHNSON: Well, at times we've played decent up there on the offensive line. I think that probably the two best players are the center, Kenny Cooper, and the left guard, Parker Braun. They are both sophomores but they would be the guys that are probably the most consistent.

Shamire DeVine is the only senior we have on the offensive line, and he's done some good things at times. But those two guys are probably our two best players, the center and the left guard.

Q. I know Florida State rescheduled their game that was postponed due to the hurricane, I'm assuming largely for Bowl eligibility questions. Not as big of a question for you because you're not there yet, was there any discussion to play that final weekend of the ACC Championship game?
COACH JOHNSON: Yeah, there was, and we actually had a bye late, so we were going to try to came in our bye week. I think our administration tried and called several people, but we couldn't find anybody that wanted to play. We thought we had a game with Georgia State here that would have fit the bye game but it required them to move a game, and one of the teams in their league wouldn't move the game for them.

We tried but we just couldn't find a game.

Q. Jackson isn't someone you hear a lot about, but can you tell me a little bit what kind of guy he is? He seems like he's someone with his head on straight.
COACH JOHNSON: Yeah, Tre' is a great kid. He's played mostly on special teams since he's been here, but he's a hard worker. Never been a problem of any kind. Does well in school. He's a good team player. I think he's well respected by his teammates, and fun guy to be around.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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