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October 17, 2018

Paul Johnson

Greensboro, North Carolina

PAUL JOHNSON: Good morning. Well, I think the bye week came at a good time for us. We are pretty beaten up physically. We have taken a couple days off this week and we will get back to practice this afternoon and hopefully get ready to play better when we go up to Blacksburg.

Certainly Virginia Tech is off to a great start in the league and that's a tough place to play. I think we'll have our hands full, and I think we can play a little better than we've played.

Q. Curious in all the time you've been doing this, do you see a distinct difference when you face a team that's coming off an open date and had a little more time to prepare for the triple-option?
PAUL JOHNSON: Not really. I think that people talk about that, but you know, it's probably a plus to have an open date before you play anybody, but if I go back and look, our record against teams with open dates, probably not a lot different than when they didn't.

I give due credit, but we self-destructed on Saturday. We turned the ball over on three straight plays, and when you do that, and you don't play very well, you're not going to win too many games.

Q. And in general, all of your experience coaching against Coach Foster and Virginia Tech, I know everybody changes a little bit every year, but how much has that helped you prepare now that you've got that familiarity and vice versa?
PAUL JOHNSON: Well, I don't know. Everybody's going to play within the scheme of things that they run. Very few people are going to totally wholesale change what they do.

So bud is a really smart guy. He's a good coach, and they always have guys that are physical that can run well. And it's a challenge when you play them.

He'll have some wrinkles. Hopefully we'll have a wrinkle or two, and the team that can do their base stuff the best is the one that's going to win.

Q. With the time this week before Virginia Tech, what are some things that you can do to work on the special teams and the return game?
PAUL JOHNSON: Certainly we need some work on it. We're going to -- look, I just came out of a meeting with the two coaches on the return stuff, and we're going to look at some personnel changes and do some of that. But we've just got to do a better job coaching it and a better job of executing it when they get out there. We did some things on special teams that we certainly don't do in practice, but we did them on Saturday.

Q. Are there any particular things you're going to prioritize this week as you get ready for Virginia Tech?
PAUL JOHNSON: I think today will be a typical Monday practice for us. It's a heavy dose of special teams and some conditioning and we'll get right into Virginia Tech tomorrow.

Q. Is there anything positive that came out of the first half for you this season?
PAUL JOHNSON: At times we played okay. You know, there was two or three games that we played pretty good in and some other games that we didn't. I think when we played clean on offense and not had the turnovers and penalties, you know, we won all those games.

You can't take a half off and we had the most missed assignments on offense that we've had since I've been here, I think. It's ridiculous because we knew exactly how they were lined up, and you know, it's hard to explain sometimes.

Q. Is it always good to take a week off from football to get your guys regrouped and reset, knowing that the second half, you guys could push through and hopefully get to a Bowl game?
PAUL JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, we still have five games left, so you've got half the season left.

What you've got to do is get ready and try to clean up the mess; whether you win or lose, you've got to flush it, put it behind you and move on.

Q. You touched on this that you'll be getting into tech tomorrow. I was curious what your coaches versus players plan is for when you start breaking down an opponent, when you have the open date.
PAUL JOHNSON: Well, the coaches have been working. We just gave the players the last two days off. We've been working on Virginia Tech all week. You know, our practice will go today, Thursday, Friday Saturday morning. We'll give them Sunday off. Comeback, practice Monday, Tuesday, and travel Wednesday. That's kind of our schedule.

After today it will be on Virginia Tech and today will be an intro to Virginia Tech.

Q. Since your coaches have already started, what, if anything, have you noted about how they have changed offensively with the change at quarterback after the injury?
PAUL JOHNSON: I don't think they have changed a whole lot. I think they are still running their system. I was really impressed with the way their quarterback played, especially on the last drive to win the game. He made a couple plays himself. Was a heck of a drive. It looked like it was almost over for them with Carolina there on the 1-yard line. They found a way to win, so you have to give them credit and he certainly made some plays on that 98-yard drive.

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