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October 6, 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: Good morning. We feel very fortunate to have gotten out of Winston-Salem last week with a win. I think the last nine minutes was very exciting. Certainly Jim had his team ready to play and they played very well. So it was a tough, hard-fought game.
Now we're back home in our division. Big game this week. If we want to try to stay in the conference race, we have two teams in front of us who haven't lost a game.
Virginia looks like they're playing with a lot of enthusiasm. We've had two really physical, hard-fought games the last couple years with them. So we look for another hard-fought, close game.

Q. Scott Blair gave you three 40-yard field goals Saturday. He's a senior guy, been pretty consistent for you. Has it been hard to find a guy you can rely on like that?
COACH JOHNSON: Scott has done a great job so far this year. He's been far more consistent this year than at any other time. Certainly that helps you. Just the other night when we were playing the game, to get within one score in the fourth quarter, he kicked a field goal actually before we scored the touchdown to tie it up. He's been invaluable.
I've been very fortunate in my coaching career. We've had some really good kickers. We had Jason Elam when I was coaching at the University of Hawaii. We had two or three All-American kickers at Georgia Southern, Rob Bironas, who kicks for the Titans. But they're invaluable. I think if you have a good kicker, it's important as anywhere else on the team.

Q. Is that an area that's hard to recruit?
COACH JOHNSON: Actually, Scott was a walk-on who won the job, we put on scholarship. So was Tim Foley, Rob Baronis. Jason was a recruited kid. Most of our kickers have been walk-ons who earned the job.

Q. Are you going to have a big try-out next spring?
COACH JOHNSON: We have five or six kickers on the team now. When you have walk-on try-outs, there's never a shortage of kickers. We have a freshman that we signed locally here on scholarship that will be coming back and has a chance to be the heir-apparent next year.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thanks for being with us. Good luck this weekend. We'll talk to you next Wednesday.

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