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September 29, 2010

Paul Johnson

THE MODERATOR: We now welcome Coach Paul Johnson from Georgia Tech. We'll ask for a briefing opening statement and then go to questions. Coach.
COACH JOHNSON: Good morning. Well, we're looking forward to trying to show up and play a little better than we did a week ago. I think that we got whipped pretty good last week. Thought NC State played very well, and we were disappointed with the kind of effort that we put up against them.
So a chance to go on the road, play a football team that's had some success. They scored a lot of points. And last week played really good on defense. And anytime you play Jim Grobe's teams they're going to be well coached. So we know we'll have a tough time sledding. So hopefully we can get things squared away and play a little better.

Q. Not to bring back bad memories but if you could look back to last week for a second, I'd like to get your impressions of Russell Wilson and what makes him so good.
COACH JOHNSON: I thought he played a great game. I mean, he was very accurate. He kept plays alive. His percentage on third down was really good.
You know, he played a really good game. He's a good player. We knew he was very good going into the game.

Q. Coach, what are the things that look like defensively that you would like to get fixed? I know that you lost a lot of talent defensively. I wonder if the new guys are settling, are starting to settle in, or just where things are on that side of the ball?
COACH JOHNSON: The first thing we have to fix is 43 missed assignments. That would be a good place to start, which is what we had defensively last week. We also had 42 missed assignments on offense.
So we clearly did a very poor job getting them ready to play the football game. I think that's the one thing you can clean up, because that has nothing to do with physical ability.
And if you clean up some of that, you give yourself a chance to win.

Q. Do you sort of take that on as a -- that was as much on the coaches as it was on the players?
COACH JOHNSON: Sure it is. Anytime you have that kind of missed assignments, it's got to go both ways. We didn't have them coached up. And I think there's enough accountability to go around everywhere. They also have got to care. You've got to care enough to know what you've got to do. Understand that it's not going to be easy.

Q. What's an acceptable number of missed assignments? In turn, historically speaking, with a good team?
COACH JOHNSON: Normally, if we've played well, we'll have somewhere between 10 and 20.

Q. How do you define -- do you think most coaches for definition of "missed assignment" is it pretty cut and dried for most coaches or are your standards -- do you expect they're any different than any others?
COACH JOHNSON: I wouldn't have any idea about that. But when we're talking about missed assignments I'm not talking about something physically that didn't happen, like if you didn't block the guy but you went to the right guy and you couldn't block him, that's not what I'm talking about.
I'm talking about like when you have a slant on defense and three guys go one way and one guy goes the other. When you have three guys playing two deep zone and two other guys playing three deep zone and those kind of things. That's what are missed assignments.

Q. NC State and North Carolina both were playing some hurry up on offense. How did that affect your ability to get different packages into the game? And did that at all affect some of the missed assignments?
COACH JOHNSON: I don't know. I don't think it did. I mean, it wasn't anything that we caught by surprise or that we didn't practice against.
Who knows. It could have. We didn't have the missed assignments like that against North Carolina. So I don't know. It didn't affect us as much that week as last week. So I don't know what effect it might have had.

Q. I was curious about the comment you made just a second ago about caring and thinking that it would be easy. After winning the championship last year, do you feel that may have some of your guys may have gotten a little complacent? Is that what you mean? Could you explain the comment a little bit?
COACH JOHNSON: I just think that as I've told our football team, and I said before for us to be successful, we have to play really, really hard. We're not overly talented. I mean, we have talented -- we have some talented kids but we don't have droves of them. We're not going to -- nobody is going to ooh and aah when we trot on the field.
And the trademark of the things that we have done, I think, is we played hard and really competed. And physically we played fairly hard. I don't think it was a case of physical -- it's just mental, being into the game.
And we've got a lot of guys who are playing who haven't played, and we won 20 games in the last two years and sometimes I think they think it's easy, you know, that you just go out there and you play and you're going to win.
And we all know that doesn't happen. You have to make it -- you have to will it to happen and you have to be totally committed. And I don't think that anybody is -- nobody ever does that intentionally. I think it's just a mindset you have to get into. You have to understand what it takes to win.

Q. What are the trademarks of a Jim Grobe-coached team on both sides of the ball? No matter what his personnel are -- and they're of course quite different from last year -- but what do you expect from them?
COACH JOHNSON: I think they've changed offensively with philosophy. I mean, they're back to -- I would categorize them as a running football team. I think they're an option team. Misdirection, counter, try to fool you with a lot of motion and a lot of formations.
They'll throw some play action passes and some stuff. But when they had Riley, I think they were a pass-first team. They played us off our feet. Down here a year ago, the game went into overtime and they rushed for 25 yards. Now they're rushing for 230, 240 a game. So I think they've changed their identity on offense.
Defensively, I think, you know, they're sound. They don't beat themselves. They play hard and they play good fundamentals. And you've got to beat them. They're not going to give you anything.

Q. Did you play them at Navy in the pre-Riley Skinner days and get a taste of what they like to do with their running game?
COACH JOHNSON: I think that when we played Riley was playing when I was there. We might have played them one time, maybe my very first year at Navy. But I don't really remember.
To be truthful, we were so bad that first year I was at Navy I tried to block that out. But I think we might have -- we did play them my very first year at Navy, I think, down at Winston. But it was a close game but I don't remember what they were doing. I think they were mostly I formation then. A lot of two-back stuff. More of a running team even then, back then.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

End of FastScripts

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