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November 23, 2010

Paul Johnson

COACH JOHNSON: Good morning. I don't think there is any doubt if you ask our fans and alumni, this is the game for the state championship, a big rivalry game.
I don't think either team has performed the way they would have liked to this year, but that doesn't take anything away from the importance of the game for our fans and team and everyone involved.
I was happy to get out of last week's game with a Duke with a win. I thought that Duke played extremely well. David had them ready to play. We were fortunate to come out on the right end of the scoreboard.
So looking forward to going to Athens this week and seeing if we can play a little better.

Q. Your impressions -- I was interested in your impressions of the Georgia offense and your defense?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, they have a host of weapons. I think A.J. Green is probably the best wide receiver in the country. If there are other guys that are in his category, it's a small list.
They've got a really good -- some really good tight ends, Orson Charles being outstanding. They've got two good tailbacks, a veteran offensive line. And the Murray kid's played well. So they have a lot of weapons on offense. Very talented and it will be a big challenge for our defense to try to find a way to slow them down.
Last year in our game they didn't punt in the game, so it will be a big challenge for us.

Q. How do you think your pass defense is playing going into this game?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, we've been pretty spotty. We didn't play very well against Duke. I think you have to give them some credit. We had some blown coverages and sometimes they just exploited the way we lined up.
So we've got to do much better than we did last week to have a chance against Georgia.

Q. Now that he's had a couple of games under his belt, how is Tevin Washington progressing?
COACH JOHNSON: Tevin did okay. I thought he played better, actually, probably played a little better against Miami than he played last week. But he made enough plays to win the game. He had a big pass play there in the fourth quarter that really helped us to Stephen Hill.
So I think he's getting more comfortable. Tevin's certainly very capable of doing what we're asking him to do. He just needs to become more consistent and relax and play a little bit. The more he plays, the better he'll get, I think.

Q. Is it possible for a young quarterback to relax in a game that takes on this magnitude?
COACH JOHNSON: Probably not. He's just going to have to do what he can to try to maintain his focus and block everything around him out. You've got to put yourself in the zone, and that is his challenge this week to not get caught up in all the hoopla around it. Just try to get it in your mind like it is at practice, and slow everything down a little bit.

Q. If you guys win, your rival is eliminated from bowl consideration. Is that something that you discuss with your team or is that just a distraction, something too negative to dwell on?
COACH JOHNSON: We haven't talked about it, not as a team. The media has talked about it enough. I'm sure they're aware of it, but that's not a point that we talk about as a team at all.
We're more concerned about trying to get us ready to go play the best game that we can play. That's just kind of the way we approach it always, no matter who we're playing. We try to focus more on us than we do the other team.

Q. Anthony Allen has surpassed the thousand yards this year. Did he deliver the kind of performance you've expected from him?
COACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I think Anthony's played very well the last few games especially. Saturday he worked really hard. He earned those yards. He ran really tough inside the tackles. Almost all his yards came inside the tackles.
I think he's gotten more comfortable in that position here in the last half of the season, and he's played well the last half of the year for us, he sure has.

End of FastScripts

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