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ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE MEDIA CONFERENCE


November 22, 2011


Paul Johnson


PAUL JOHNSON:テつ Good morning.テつ I think without doubt this is a big, big game in the state of Georgia.テつ For bragging rights for alumni, for fans for a full year and for the state championship.テつ We've got our hands full.テつ The University of Georgia has won nine straight games.テつ They're in the top 15 in almost every category defensively, second against the run, and they have a lot of weapons, so it ought to be a challenge for us on Saturday.テつ We're looking forward to seeing how we match up against them.

Q.テつ I know a lot of people are focusing on your rushing offense against their rushing defense, but I was curious on how you feel your team is playing defensively coming into this game.
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ Well, the last two games haven't been great.テつ It's like our team overall; we've played in spurts where we've played pretty good defense but we haven't been consistent.テつ You could say that about every aspect of the team, really.テつ But that's a challenge.テつ The last three times since I've been here, they've scored a lot of points.テつ I don't think we've held them under 30 yet.

Q.テつ And what specifically has been kind of the problem the last couple weeks defensively for you guys?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ Well, I think that we haven't been able to get any pressure on the passer, and quarterbacks have completed a high percentage, and we're having a hard time getting off the field on 3rd down.テつ Other than that, it's all just peachy keen.
Virginia Tech, we couldn't stop the run.テつ So just pick one.テつ It's been whatever you want.

Q.テつ When you look at that Georgia defense on film, what jumps out at you that makes you see why they're so good this year?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ Well, I think they're playing hard.テつ Their inside guys are all 300 pounds plus, got some experience, the outside linebacker Jarvis Jones that's a transfer plays really well.テつ He's a good player.テつ Georgia is always going to have good players.テつ Historically if you put much stock in the recruiting, they're always going to have a top five, top ten class every year, so they always have good players.

Q.テつ As good as their defense is, do you look at it and say, well, that's fine, but you're not going to stop my offense anyway?テつ Are you kind of nonplussed when you look at defenses these days because you know what your offense can do?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ They've got every opportunity to stop our offense if we don't go out and play well and execute.テつ I'm looking forward to the challenge.テつ We're going to try to show up and play the game and see what happens.

Q.テつ I don't know if there's necessarily a good time to catch a team like Georgia, but the fact that they're headed toward the SEC Championship game, can that play into your favor to any extent do you think?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ I don't know.テつ I mean, I think this game is big enough in its own right.テつ It's a huge rivalry, and like I said, I'm sure both teams are going to be ready to play.テつ I don't think you're going to catch anybody overlooking the game.

Q.テつ And in terms of‑‑ I've heard the year‑end games, in‑state rivalries described, and you used the term, also, as state championships, just how big a deal is that to the players?テつ I know it's a big deal to the fans.
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ Well, I think it's a big deal to the players, but it's a bigger deal to the alumni and the fans, because it gives you toning privileges for a whole year, and in this day and age that seems to be big.テつ I just think it's a big game, and it's a game that these guys will remember.テつ You can talk to guys that played, they remember the Georgia‑Georgia Tech games.テつ They just remember them.

Q.テつ Has your quarterback always been your most frequent rusher through all your years and/or your leading rusher, and is there a relationship between the relative success of your offense and who's getting the yards and who's getting the carries, or does it matter?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ No, it doesn't matter, and very seldom has the quarterback ever been the leading rusher.テつ Our last few years here our B‑back has been the leading rusher by a mile, and when I was at Georgia Southern our B‑back was the‑‑ set the all‑time yardage record in NCAA history.テつ Normally it's been that guy is the leading rusher, it's just kind of an anomaly that the quarterback is.

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