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September 8, 2010

Paul Johnson

THE MODERATOR: We now welcome Georgia Tech head football coach Paul Johnson. We'll bring on coach, ask for a brief opening statement, then go to questions.
COACH JOHNSON: Well, we were excited to get the season underway last week. We were very fortunate that we came out on the right end of the score. We did some things well and a lot of things we need to get better at.
Looking forward to going and playing a team from the Big 12 Conference. I think certainly we're going to get Kansas' best shot. I know they were disappointed in the outcome of their game. I know a few of the guys on the coaching staff. I'm sure they're going to have them ready to go. They'll play like their back is against the wall.
We'll have to play better this week to come out of it the way we want. It will be a challenge for us how much better we can get from week one to week two.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Johnson.

Q. Obviously Kansas did not look too good in the first game. Anything there that concerns you? Did you see anything in their defense that caused you to be worried about this game?
COACH JOHNSON: They played very well on defense. They gave up less than 200 yards and six points. You do that, most of the time you're going to win the game. Turned the ball over some, missed a couple of kicks. Sometimes that happens in the first game.
But you can look and see they got some big kids. They run around. Like I said, you had to be impressed with them defensively because they played very well in the game.
I'm sure they're going to be light-years better in Game 2 than Game 1. Most teams are.

Q. How would you evaluate your team's general offensive execution in week one? Generally speaking, do you find it difficult to evaluate games against FCS opposition than against ACC competition?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, I think we did some things okay. We lost focus. We scored the first three possessions. We scored three quick touchdowns. We turned the ball over a couple of times. So we kind of lost focus a little bit.
But I don't know what you take from it. South Carolina State is a pretty good FCS team. They had won 20 games in the last two years. Last year the only games they lost, they lost South Carolina and up in Boone in the playoffs. I know how tough it is to go up there. They lost that game by a field goal, I think.
I think they've got a pretty good football team. Are they comparable to teams in our league? No. We'll have to play better when we get into the league. But I think a lot of it depends on what FCS teams you play. Some of those teams have pretty good players.

Q. Coach, you had the first opportunity to communicate on the headsets in the booth and everything with Coach Groh on the field, the other assistants in the booth. How did that work out with the first game?
COACH JOHNSON: It went fine. Wasn't any different than any other year. When we have the ball on offense, with the offensive coaches, when the other team has the ball, I click over. Pretty much on that side, I just listen unless I have something I want to offer.
It went smooth. The guys in the box, Andy McCollum, was direct line. We had a guy in charge of personnel. Just like you always do, I thought it went well, went smooth.

Q. Can I presume that Kansas is coming to your place in the future, and do you have any general philosophies on scheduling Big Ten, Big 12 teams?
COACH JOHNSON: Kansas returns next year. They come back to Atlanta I think next year. They'll be back.
Our non-conference schedule, we're going to play Georgia every year, so the last two years we've had two SEC teams. We played two SEC, one FCS, and then somebody else.
This year we had the FCS team to open, then we go to Kansas, the Big 12, then we have Middle Tennessee and Georgia as our four non-conference games.
We try to play at least two BCS schools a year non-conference, whether they be SEC or whatever. The schedules are done so far in advance, it just varies. We're locked in with Georgia every year, so that leaves one opening for another team.
We'd like to get some home at home with the Big Ten or Big 12. I think it makes for interesting games. I'd love to do that.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thanks for being with us. Good luck this weekend. We look forward to talking to you next week.
COACH JOHNSON: Okay, take care.

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