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October 8, 2012

D.J. Johnson

Q.  If the OU game was a big test for you guys, here comes West Virginia.  Can you talk about what sort of adjustments you're going to make off of what happened Saturday going into this week's game?
D.J. JOHNSON:  We're going to keep playing.  We're going to continue to play the way we've been playing.  The Oklahoma game obviously hurt.  It was the first loss of the season.  We didn't want it to occur.  No one wants to lose in this league.  No one wants to lose in college football, but we suffered the loss.  We corrected some mistakes that we made in the first half, and we were better coming out in the second half.
In this game we feel like we'll be able to come out a lot faster in the first half so we don't have as many mistakes and we'll be able to perform a lot better.  We'll be able to perform to the ability we know we can play.

Q.  From what you've seen on film, what makes their offense as dangerous as it's been so far?
D.J. JOHNSON:  It really looks a little like backyard football.  Tavon, I know Tavon Austin, and Geno Smith, they have a really good connection.  They really understand each other as far as receiver‑quarterback.  So what we're really going to have to do is make them eliminate his key receivers and make him take more time to really figure out what he's going to have to do.  So take away those first reads, those initial reads, and give our D‑line and linebackers time to get there and make plays.

Q.  Do you kind of look forward to a challenge like West Virginia?
D.J. JOHNSON:  Oh, man, I love challenges.  Since I was little, I've always risen to the occasion on challenges on big time games and I look forward to them.  Personally, me, I respect everyone, but I kind of don't feed into the hype.  If you're boosted up, until I play you, I can't give my personal opinion about you until I play.
As of right now, it's just the next team and another game.  It's just the next team.  We're not facing a specific person.  Just going out there and playing West Virginia.

Q.  After looking at film, what is the biggest thing you guys as a defense take away from the Oklahoma game?
D.J. JOHNSON:  Assignments.  We weren't very assignment sound as players.  We came out there, like I said, and we were‑‑ we prepared decently.  We prepared enough.  But as players, we weren't assignment sound.  We didn't do the technique that we were supposed to do, and we didn't do it all the time.  We did do it, but it wasn't all the time like it needed to be.  You're not going to win games like that.
When you go into big games like that you have to be prepare overruled aspect of the ball, be prepared as a player, and focused and do your job to make plays.

Q.  What do you think of Geno Smith?
D.J. JOHNSON:  He's a quarterback.  He's a good quarterback, but I don't feed too much into it.  Different players play different ways against different people.  This may be the game that somebody else on our defense decides to show up and make plays against Geno Smith and he wasn't expecting it.  Or maybe some guy that he just didn't pay attention to that's out there making plays, or it may not be his game.  He may come out sluggish or slow or one of his receivers may not be up to par in this game.
We're not really worried and just focused on him.  We're focused on what they do as a whole as an offense, and what their key things are.

Q.  How do you feel the defense has responded after the first loss of the season?
D.J. JOHNSON:  We've responded well.  Of course, like I said, it's a tough loss.  But as a defense we're still confident.  They didn't take anything away from our confidence.  We knew in the first half that's really what set us back.  We came out in the first half and played a tremendous second half compared to what we did in the first half.  So as our defense, we know it was a mistake, and we didn't come out strong enough in the first.

Q.  Does it concern you at all?
D.J. JOHNSON:  Not really.  We're a fast defense.  We fly around.  Our key thing is going to be effort.  Make sure we get to the ball.  11 hands running to the ball.  11 people on the screen at all times.  That's going to be the key to winning this game.  Stopping the pass, I mean, tackling the pass, and stopping the run.

Q.  Seth talked about a downward spiral in the second half after the sack.  Did you guys sense that too?  Is there an emotional leader on the defense that you guys might look to?  May not even be a starter or a regular player that can help you guys get fired up on the sideline or do you think that's necessary?
D.J. JOHNSON:  A lot of guys come up to me or Kerry Hyder and tell us it's time to make a play.  All we need is one turnover to make a change.  If you go back and watch the game, it wasn't there.  We had opportunities.  We just didn't capitalize on them.  I had a force fumble that didn't bounce our way.  We had the opportunity to demand it, fumble the ball and recover it.  There were just plays that didn't bounce our way.
Then we had an interception we could have had where both our defenders both had the ball in their hands and neither one of them came up with it.  So for us, we just continue to fight.  We continue to play for each other and continue to be confident in our abilities.

Q.  With them being a little more pass happy than run oriented, but Buie ran for like 2‑something on UT the other day.  How do you go into this thinking this is going to be the most balanced team you've faced to this point?
D.J. JOHNSON:  We're excited about it, man.  You know the DBs, we love it.  It gives us the challenge.  Gives us the chance to show what we can do and we can tackle the pass and contain it as much as we can and force them to run the ball and force them to be one‑dimensional, I feel we'll affect them greatly.

Q.  Have you seen him run?
D.J. JOHNSON:  Seen who?

Q.  Buie.
D.J. JOHNSON:  I haven't seen him a lot.  Mostly I've just been watching passes.  I'll get more into it throughout this week.

Q.  Have you seen anything that was very impressive or underwhelming that you want to share with us?
D.J. JOHNSON:  Just like I said, their routes, their route concepts.  It's kind of like they know each other very well.  Geno Smith and his receivers.  They know when to break down and when to run certain routes.  If this doesn't look open when they're about to run the route, they may break it off.  A lot of the passes were just wide open.  A lot of passes were wheel routes that just completely open and people weren't assignment sound.  So we're going to focus on being assignment sound as defensive backs and linebackers.

Q.  Does that relationship you just described between Geno and Austin, have you seen that before?  How does that compare?
D.J. JOHNSON:  It compares to Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles last year.  They kind of had the same connection last year.  We've got to eliminate his first read, and at the same time be assignment sound and force them to do things he doesn't do.  Even though he can scramble, he's not a big time scrambler.  He looks to pass first.  We're going to have to make him do things that he's uncomfortable with.

Q.  Do you have any designs on ruining Dana Holgorsen's return to Lubbock?
D.J. JOHNSON:  We haven't really discussed that.  I'm not sure.  I'm just excited to be able to play a Top 5 team, and hopefully we'll come out victorious.

Q.  Is the run offense pretty much at the same time you saw from Oklahoma State in 2010?
D.J. JOHNSON:  It's similar.  They did a few different things, but it's pretty similar.

Q.  Do you guys benefit from seeing guys like Jones this past week, you can see that level of talent the week before you play West Virginia?
D.J. JOHNSON:  Yeah, we definitely benefit.  We learn from every game.  This game we took, we need to be more assignment sound.  In the first four games we were doing things the right way and we were assignment sound.  But we messed up a on a few things we could have made plays for.  In this game, we were a lot less assignment sound.  So we have to come out like I said and do that as a team.

Q.  There are a lot of things from Oklahoma that you didn't plan to see.  What's going to help you guys in practice this week?
D.J. JOHNSON:  I think Coach will throw in a couple of different trick plays.  Like we learned as players from last week's game, Coach will learn.  He understands teams look at what we've done in the past and what we've had difficulties with in the past.  He's probably going to put that in the playbook to show and see how we react to it.  Anticipating that maybe they'll come out and do this because they see it worked against us.
Our coach is a great coach.  He's smart.  He knows what he's doing.  So I trust he'll have us ready.

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