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September 14, 2011

Paul Johnson

THE MODERATOR: We welcome Georgia Tech head football Coach Paul Johnson.
COACH JOHNSON: Well, we are excited to be back home. I think we have got a nice road win last week, I was proud of our guys. I thought they played hard for the most part. You know, we have got to get ready -- last year we went on the road and Kansas flipped our tail, so we have got to get ready to try to play better than we did up there a year ago and keep trying to improve as we build on this season.

Q. Last season when you played ku they had a freshman quarterback and a freshman running back playing really for the first time. How hard is it to prepare for those guys when you probably didn't have a whole lot of film at your disposal and then in the game when there's guys making plays that you probably had not seen much of before; does that take you back a little bit?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, I thought they played well a year ago. I mean, I think most of the time, you prepare for the schemes and not the individual players.
But the running back I thought had really ran hard and had a good game and their quarterback for the first game starting played well. I think they are better this year than they were a year ago, so they have made improvement.

Q. Is it easier preparing for them this year because you do know more what you are dealing with?
COACH JOHNSON: I think it's a little bit different but I think they are a better team than they were a year ago.

Q. You mentioned improvement from last year's game. Where does that have to come from and how confident are you with your start this year that this team is capable of having that improvement this year?
COACH JOHNSON: I think improvement has got to come everywhere. We went up there and laid an egg and we didn't play very well and they played well.
We have got -- there wasn't a facet that we played up there a year ago that we played up to our ability; I think we can play better. I know we can. They are better so we'll certainly have to.

Q. Does your 2-0 start leave you encouraged that this is a much better team than you had last year against Kansas?
COACH JOHNSON: Oh, I don't know. We'll find out as we play out the season. Every team's different, and you know, we'll find out the more games we play.

Q. Will you continue to work in Synjyn Davis into the mix as often -- sorry, Synjyn Days as often as you can, and about how much would you like to do that per game?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, it's just a feel thing. We didn't go into the last game with any plans to play him but we got way ahead, and you know, he's the backup quarterback, so when you get ahead, he's got to get a chance to play. I think he's got some ability, just a freshman, and when he goes in, he makes a lot of big plays for both teams. Turned the ball over last week but he has a lot of nice runs. I think the more he plays, the better he's going to get. But we don't have any plan to play him a certain amount.

Q. As far as having this concern, you had been saying that you are really looking for efficiency in your passing game, and he certainly seems to have delivered that through your first two games.
COACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I think he's played well. He played better in the second game than the first game and hopefully he'll continue to get better and you know, being efficient in the passing game, I don't think you have to throw it a bunch of times to have yards and be efficient if you're accurate.

Q. I don't know if surprise is the right one, but are you -- what is your reaction to getting a number of really big plays in the first two games?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, it's a good trend. I hope it continues. I don't think that much about it. The nature of what we do offensively lends itself to big plays. I think that's one of the biggest misnomers or whatever that this offense is three yards in a cloud of dust. I think if you look back and look since we have been in the league, we have more plays inside 20 yards than any other team.

Q. About 22 and a half yards per attempt; is that about what you are looking for?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, that would be great. I think that's exactly -- if we could finish that out for the year, we would probably have a pretty special year.

Q. You started the season with a pretty crowded d back position with David Simms named the starter. Would you say that position has more clarity now that the schedule is starting to get a little bit tougher?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, David is still the starter. Preston is probably still No. 2 and Charles and three, so it's pretty similar to what we started the season with really.

Q. What's your opinion of the graduate school transfer rule coming into the fore with Russell Wilson's success at Wisconsin?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, I haven't thought a whole lot about it. I think it's like any rules; it's probably not being utilized as it was intended. But I really had not thought a whole lot about it to be quite honest with you.

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