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September 5, 2018

Paul Johnson

Greensboro, North Carolina

THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you could make an opening statement, then we'll open it up for questions.

PAUL JOHNSON: Good morning. We're excited to get ready for our second game against what's a really good football team that won 10 games a year ago, got off to a great start this year as well.

We got off to a good start, but a lot of things we got to get better at, improve on. Certainly we'll be challenged against a really good team on the road in South Florida.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Johnson.

Q. You noted this was a strong opponent you're facing. How much does it help you and your team to have a game under your belt before you play this kind of game?
PAUL JOHNSON: I don't know. I mean, both teams had an opener against IAA teams. We did not play very well offensively. Who knows. Last year at Tennessee, we probably played better in the opener than we did this year.

It's always good, you should get better the more you play, the more you rep something. Hopefully that's what we'll do this week.

Q. We've heard a lot of times coaches say teams can make the biggest jump from week one to week two. Do you subscribe to that theory?
PAUL JOHNSON: I just think the more you play, the better you get. I think there's something to be said for that. Especially if you have inexperienced guys, I think sometimes you can make a pretty good jump from one week to the next.

Q. Because you did open up against an FCS team, what are you still looking to learn about your program from this week's game as you get a better test presumably?
PAUL JOHNSON: I think you find out something every week. I don't think anybody knows anything about their program right now no matter who they open with. Until you play two or three games, get into the season, you don't have any idea.

All these teams that are overhyped coming out of the gate, a lot of it's name brand, a lot of it's whatever. I don't know that anybody has any idea what they got until they play three or four games. Alabama might know.

Q. What do you want to see the offense do better this week?
PAUL JOHNSON: Just be aware their surroundings. When I say we didn't play well, we punted the ball one time, we had 500 some yards. I'm just talking about individually, we can play better. We've got a little higher standard for that than the way we played on Saturday.

I think our guys understand that. So we had too many missed assignments, careless with the ball, all those things that as you play better competition will get you beat.

Hopefully we can remedy some of that on Saturday. If we don't, it's going to be a long day.

Q. How do you feel the defense played in the new scheme with a new coordinator?
PAUL JOHNSON: Well, they played really well. It was a shutout, they held the other team to 140 yards. So we played really well defensively. I think it's still a work in progress. We'll have a better idea after this Saturday. The competition is going to be much better. It's probably going to be three or four games before we really get a feel for it.

Q. Considering the tempo that their offense likes to run, which can wear teams down, how important will it be for you guys to try to sustain drives, keep them off the field?
PAUL JOHNSON: That's kind of what we do. We like to think we wear teams down, as well. Tempo is great if you're making first downs and moving the ball. Not so good if you're three-and-out.

You just got to go play football. It's like anything else: if they're making first downs and moving the ball, doing that, then the tempo can get to you. If they're not stringing first downs together, not moving the ball, the tempo is not going to help them at all, going to hurt them because their guys are going to be on the field a lot defensively.

Q. Talk about Charlie Strong, the head coach of South Florida. He was in Louisville for a while. He was down in Florida, went to Texas. Talk about him as a coach, what he brings to that organization.
PAUL JOHNSON: Well, I think Charlie is an outstanding coach. He's been successful wherever he's been. We've had the opportunity to play against each other a couple times, although it's been a long, long time ago when I was an offensive coordinator and he was a defensive coordinator. I'm sure they'll have a good plan. His guys always play hard. They're sound. Coach Brian Jean-Mary worked for me a couple years, defensive coordinator here and a linebacker coach. He knows our system. There won't be any secrets. We're not real hard to figure out. It will be about execution, about which team can go in there and do what they do best.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you.

PAUL JOHNSON: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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