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November 16, 2011

Paul Johnson

COACH JOHNSON: Good morning. We're coming off a disappointing game for us last week on Thursday night I thought Virginia Tech played extremely well and won the game. It will be interesting to see how we can bounce back.
We've got a road game at Duke. Historically Georgia Tech has struggled when we've gone there. I think David's team is playing a lot better than their record. They've been in almost every game this year, and been in most of them to the end of the fourth quarter or whatever. So we know we'll have a tough task at hand going to Durham on Saturday, but we'll see how we bounce back.

Q. Bit of a different topic. I'm working a story about Jeff Monken of Georgia Southern, one of your former assistants. He talked a little this week about having a chance to be a GA at Alabama back in the '80s. I wonder if he ever talked to you about that?
COACH JOHNSON: No, I didn't know anything about that. He was a GA for us in Hawaii in the '80s, I think.

Q. Sure, he talked about that. Can you talk about his progress as a head coach?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, Jeff's done a great job down there, I think. He's always been a hard worker. He's got a lot of energy. Very knowledgeable. He's done a good job there getting that thing back to where it needs to be.

Q. Duke runs a four-two-five defense that uses three safeties. Is that a unique challenge? Is it well suited or poorly suited to play against your offense?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, it's like anything else. It's an eight-man front defense. We played against those in the past. Normally when they play us, they play a different defense. They play what we call an ACC defense. That everybody lines up in pretty much in the league. They all pretty much lineup the same way.
They've changed this year. We'll see how they play. But I don't think they've varied much from what they've done in the past.

Q. Watching film, can you comment about the job that Matt Daniels has done for them as a run defender? He's up there in tackles.
COACH JOHNSON: Well, he may be the Most Valuable Player in the league, really, if you look. He's made so many tackles for them. He's a very good player, sure tackler. He's got good awareness. They keep them up there close to the box, and he's made a ton of tackles. Over 10 tackles is good for anybody, and especially a safety. So he's a special player. He's a really good player.

Q. Coach, your D-back production this year is not at levels it's been in previous years. Do you attribute that to the way they're scheming against you or do you have a more talented A back? Because if you don't have a Dwyer and Allen there, what is your explanation for that?
COACH JOHNSON: I think it's probably all of the above. We haven't gotten the production out of that position that we've needed to this year. I think we'll still be over a thousand yards if you add the three guys who have played up.
But for the first time this will be probably the lowest total we've had at that position since 1985. And it's not all on those guys. I think you have to give credit to some of the people we've played. Plus we have to do a better job up front in the box blocking too. It's not like they've had a lot of gaping holes that they've had to run through that they've stumble and fell. So it's kind of a combination of things.

Q. You alluded to the fact that it will be interesting to see how you bounce back. Are there certain over the course of your career, are there certain things that go into a good bounce back game? Is it a function of the coaches and the players or more on the players? How does that work?
COACH JOHNSON: I think it's a function of everybody. But any time that you lose a game, the game that we lost Thursday night was a big game. If you win that game, you put yourself in contention to have a great shot at winning the conference or at least the division championship playing in the championship game.
You put a lot of time and effort going into it. So any time you lose that game, it's disappointing. But what you have to do as a team is you have to bounce back because we're playing a good team on Saturday. We've got a lot of stuff to play for. It's going to show a lot of character.
I think football is an emotional and physical game. If you're not ready to play, you're going to be in trouble. Hopefully with a we're going to be is mad as hell when we get up there. I hope that's what we take, and we can get ready to play as good as we can play.

Q. What particularly would you like to see your defense do better in the last few weeks of the regular season?
COACH JOHNSON: We've got to be better on third down, no question. Thursday night we had Virginia Tech in so many third and longs that we let them converter not let them. They made plays. But that's been a problem all year. That's stopping the run. We've played teams and had a hard time stopping them to be honest. So we've got to get better in those two areas.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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