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September 26, 2012

Paul Johnson

COACH JOHNSON:  Good morning.  Certainly we're coming off of a difficult loss.  It was a crazy game last week, and I thought Miami played well and we just didn't do enough to get it done.  Looking forward to moving ahead and playing again on Saturday.  We've got a Middle Tennessee State game coming in, they've got some points and have some momentum winning their last two games.
So a chance for us to get back out there and play again, and do some of the things better that we didn't do last Saturday.

Q.  I'm curious about your triple option offense.  This is the third year you've faced Tennessee.  Do you see, when an opponent has a familiarity with that, do you see a better approach from a defense after they've seen that a couple of times before?
COACH JOHNSON:  Well, I think it varies.  Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't.  Certainly I think it's probably about the same as anything else, in my opinion.  But I don't know that is the case but it might be.  I guess we'll see.

Q.  Middle Tennessee has had a different defensive coordinator each time they've faced you guys.  Is that something that matters in the game plan to you?
COACH JOHNSON:  Yeah, it matters a lot.  You don't know what they're going to do when they have a new guy.  We'll try to run our system.  Whatever they lineup in, we'll try to figure out an answer for it, if we can.

Q.  Can you talk about where you feel your special teams are overall?
COACH JOHNSON:  Well, I think in some areas they're improved, and in other areas we took a step back.  We had a terrible blunder last week that created a safety.  We did have a couple of nice punt returns and gave up a long kickoff return.  So it's been a mixed bag.  Our punter is a true freshman, Ryan Rodwell.  He went in last week and did a nice job.  We've got confidence that he'll be okay.  He's the first scholarship punter we've recruited here, so I think he'll be fine.

Q.  (No Audio)?
COACH JOHNSON:  Yeah, but believe it or not, Heather, we don't talk about that a lot, especially in September.  We knew that the month was going to be important.  We dug ourselves a hole.  Right now our goal is to try to beat Middle Tennessee State.  We'll worry about all that stuff when it comes time if there is a reason to worry about it in November.

Q.  I was just wondering, going back to the Sunbelt last year, that's three of your last five games have been overtime losses.  Is there anything as a coach that you go back, can you rethink any decisions that you make in overtime, the way you approach overtime, or is it just three games is just happenstance?
COACH JOHNSON:  Well, you rethink everything, not just the overtime.  You rethink every decision.  You go back and look at it.  All three games have had the same MO.  All three games we were ahead in the fourth quarter.  The other team scores on the last possession to put the game into overtime.  Well, actually, Utah we had 40 seconds or 50 seconds left and missed the field goal.  But haven't had any momentum, lost the coin toss in all three.
Quite frankly, Virginia Tech, we throw an interception, and this one, we had nine guys running one play, and one guy running the other way, so we were our own worst enemy.  So it's been disappointing, I think, with all of them.

Q.  Middle Tennessee's Anthony Amos is leading the Sunbelt in receiving.  Is he somebody that's jumped out at you on film at all?
COACH JOHNSON:  Yeah, the quarterback's experienced.  They throw the ball around a lot, and they have a nice scheme.  So they do a good job with what they do.
They're very similar to what they've been in the past, and they present a lot of problems for you.

Q.  Paul, you've had success against Middle Tennessee, but they have beaten ACC teams in the past.  What makes them difficult to play against?
COACH JOHNSON:  Well, I mean, I think they're similar to a lot of people.  They have some good players and they have a scheme.  I don't think they'll come in here intimidated.  They've played plenty of BCS teams and schools.  They have a lot of kids from Georgia.  Historically when we play teams outside our league with a lot of kids from Georgia, they really get up when they play here.

Q.  Are there certain characteristics of Rick's coached teams?
COACH JOHNSON:  No, I think they spread it out offensively and throw the ball around, try to get the ball in space to their playmakers, and thus the lines of scrimmage are always very important.  Sometimes it can be less so in those games.

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