home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 10, 2012

Paul Johnson

COACH JOHNSON:  Good morning.  I think the bye week comes at a great time for us.  Certainly the first half of the season hadn't gone as we would have hoped or expected.  I think it gives us a chance to heal up a little bit, regroup, and come back to see if we can't play a little better this last half of the season.
So we're looking forward to doing that.  Coming off another tough game against Clemson who is a very good football team, but like every conference game we've had this year, it's been a close game.  Ahead in the fourth quarter, and didn't turn out the way we would have liked.

Q.  Coach, evaluating the team at the midway point the offense has actually statistically been as good as it's ever been at Georgia Tech.  Obviously the problems are on defense.  What are you trying to change in the off week and get the defense back to snuff?
COACH JOHNSON:  Well, I think that clearly we've got to do some fundamental things better, but it was apparent to me our guys were having a hard time doing what we were asking them to do.  We've got to minimize.
I think we had 47 missed assignments in the Clemson game.  Some of the stuff that we were trying to do was good stuff if you can do it, but we were having a hard time doing it.  So we've got to get back to basics.  Get back to where we're playing fast over there, and everybody knows what their assignments are and we can work from that standpoint.  But it's got to be better.

Q.  You run an offense that's different from what other people see.  Does that make it harder for your defense in terms of in the preseason and off‑season?  They practiced against the defense that's not like one they'll see a lot in the regular season?
COACH JOHNSON:  I don't know.  I mean, I don't think so.  I've been doing it for a long time, and we've had some really good defenses.  You could say that about every team, couldn't you.  Does Clemson practice against the offense they see every week, or just in our state, Georgia's a pro set offense, so when they play a spread team, do they get to practice against that the whole camp?  You don't practice against yourself.
To me, if you're playing, you've got four receivers.  We run pass scale, we run inside fits, we scout, we run the tight end.  We do whatever.  So I don't think that's as big an issue as maybe some people might.  But, again, that's just my opinion.

Q.  You mentioned that defensively one of the things you'd like to do is start playing faster on that side together.  Is that just a matter of maybe simplifying the schemes a little bit or how do you do that?
COACH JOHNSON:  Well, I think you eliminate as many calls as you can.  When you've got emotions, and a guy can create three different calls and changes the scenario of what you're doing and those kind of things, our guys have struggled to do it.  I think you get back to some basics and some simplicity.
It's always been my thought process that you can turn a 4‑6 guy into a 4‑9 guy really fast if he has to think all the time.  There is no way you can play without thinking some, but it also has to be some ability to put your hand down and put the guy in front of you and play.  So that's kind of what I'm talking about.

Q.  Do you like the group of guys in terms of their athletic ability?
COACH JOHNSON:  I think so.  I think we've got certainly‑‑ I think we should have played better than we have.  I can say that about the offense too.  We could play better than we've played, clearly, so could special teams.  But the weakest link right now has been there, and it didn't seem to be getting better.  In fact, it seemed to be going the other way.

Q.  Obviously, you made a pretty radical move this week.  Is that something that came to you several weeks ago or was that relatively recent a consideration?
COACH JOHNSON:  I don't know how radical it was.  I mean, the guy had been here for two and a half years, so I'm not sure it was really radical.  It just came to the fact that we weren't playing very well.  We played football for a long time here at Georgia Tech, and managed to give up 40 points in three consecutive games for the first time in the history of Georgia Tech football.
Statistically, we were 107 or 108 in the country on third downs, 91st in scoring.  Any way you look at it, it wasn't good.  So you could either keep doing the same things.  And I think that Al Groh is a very smart man.  He's a good man, and a smart guy, but clearly it wasn't working for us.
So you either keep doing the same things.  He has a system, and he runs his system.  Well, his system was not working for us, so we have to try to change.  The definition of futility would be keep doing the same thing over and over again, and expect different results.  It wasn't working.

Q.  So your decision has been coming for a while or was it relatively in the last week?
COACH JOHNSON:  No, it wasn't one game.  It wasn't last week.  I think it would have been an ongoing process in the last half of last year.  If you look, I think, to the last 12 games, if you take out the Presbyterian game or whatever, we had given up over 30 points in eight of those games.  We just have to play better than that.
In my opinion, we need to see if we can.  Maybe we won't be able, to but I feel like we will.  I think we can play better than that.  Ultimately, I'm responsible for it, so I have to do what I feel like gives us the best chance to win.

Q.  Are you committed to sticking with that three‑four alignment this year and in the future, or do you want to get out of that?
COACH JOHNSON:  No, I think that we're not going to radically change everything that we were doing over there.  I don't think you can.  But we're going to try to simplify, and we're probably not going to two‑gap as much.  Clearly our guys struggled with that.  They didn't have much success with it.
So, you know, we'll get back to some more conventional, basic stuff, but we're not going to change.  You can't right now.  My general philosophy is whoever you hire that has a system, you let them run their system, and that's what we did here.  But when it's clear that the system's not working for you, and, again, Al Groh's a very smart man and a good man.  He's a good football coach.  But it was not working for us, so that's why we made the change.

Q.  Would you anticipate, obviously, having gotten to this point, but would you like to be out of the three‑four next year or down the line?
COACH JOHNSON:  No, I don't think it's the 3‑4.  To me, the biggest difference we were doing is we were two‑gapping a lot more than anybody else in the country, bottom line.  There are not very many teams in college that do that.  I knew that when we went to that system, but it became apparent to me that we were struggling with it.  We did not have the personnel to do what we were doing.  Now do we have the personnel to do something else?  We're going to find out.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297