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September 11, 2013

Paul Johnson

MIKE FINN:テつ We now welcome Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson.テつ Coach, just a brief opening statement, then we'll go to questions.
COACH JOHNSON:テつ Good morning.テつ I think that coming off a bye week, we're excited to get back out there and play.テつ Certainly Duke has gotten off to a great start.テつ When you watch the tape, they've been very impressive, especially defensively if you look at it.
I know it's a tough place to go play.テつ David has done a good job building that program back up.テつ I'm sure we'll have our hands full.
We're looking forward to getting back out on the field and playing again.テつ Seems like it's been forever since we played the first week.
MIKE FINN:テつ Questions for Coach Johnson.

Q.テつ Coach, how important is a win and a good performance in this one, specifically because it's the start of your coastal stretch there that will help determine your season?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ Well, it's really important.テつ As you said, it's a conference game, a division game, on the road as well.テつ If we can get off to a good start...テつ Last year we struggled early, lost a couple close division game, and we dug ourselves a hole that was hard to get out of.
Our goal is to try to get back to Charlotte.テつ We need to win in Durham if we are going to do that.

Q.テつ What was your initial reaction when the schedule came out as far as how it was set up?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ You know, it's set up the way it is.テつ There's not much to talk about.テつ You just get ready to go play who you got to play.
We're going to start to get in a little bit of a routine now.テつ We have two Saturday games, so that will be good.

Q.テつ Coach, I could be wrong, but as I remember, Vad played one of his best games last year at North Carolina.テつ Going back to his hometown, is there any peripheral stuff there?テつ Is that an inspirational thing or nothing?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ I'm sure there's some peripheral stuff going on.テつ I'm sure he's trying to find tickets.テつ I know he'll be excited to come back and play.テつ I'm sure he'll have a lot of family and friends there.テつ He's done a pretty good job of managing that thing.テつ Hopefully he'll just have to calm down and play.
He has some ability.テつ When he focuses and dials in, he can do some things.テつ We're excited he's our quarterback.

Q.テつ Obviously Duke had to make the change when Anthony Boone got hurt.テつ On film, how much does their offense change, how much does your task change with Brandon Connette being the guy you have to stop?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ I don't think it changes a great deal.テつ When you go back and look, he played half the first game.テつ He's played a lot of quarterback.テつ He played against us every year since '10 that I can remember.
Good athlete, big guy, hard to tackle.テつ With what they're doing offensively, they might add a wrinkle or two, but I don't think they're going to change a whole lot.

Q.テつ After that big win you had in the opener, what, if anything, are you hoping to learn about your team?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ Clearly the competition level is going to ratchet up.テつ I think you find out something every week.テつ We'll have a much better indication of where we are after this game.テつ We'll adjust from there and see.
Our big goal is to go up to Durham and play as well as we can play.テつ There's a lot of things we need to clean up from the first game.

Q.テつ Such as what?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ A lot of special teams stuff.テつ We had guys all over the place.テつ Half the time they could have faked as many punts as they wanted.テつ We didn't even force the guy to punt.テつ All kinds of things like that that happened in the first game that happen sometimes that you've got to clean up.

Q.テつ Paul, just from watching tape and everything, what are the biggest differences you see in the Duke defense from last year?テつ It tended to be very porous last year.テつ So far it's been very solid.
COACH JOHNSON:テつ I think they're doing the same stuff.テつ They're healthy.テつ The defensive line is a little older, played longer.テつ They seem to run a little better.テつ Mike linebacker is a good player, 59, the Brown kid.テつ Cockrell has always been a pretty good player.テつ The transfer from Ohio State is an impressive kid.
I think they're playing hard, running the ball, tackling better, doing all those things better, so...

Q.テつ With the Duke quarterback situation having changed because of the injury last week, from what you saw on film from the Memphis game, how much of a difference is that going to be for your defensive preparation ‑ or not?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ We're not going to change our defensive preparation.テつ We usually get ready for systems, not people.
I think the kid's a very good athlete.テつ He played well in the second half at Memphis.テつ We've seen him before.テつ They've got some good weapons.テつ Crowder kid is a really good player, explosive, really fast.テつ The runningbacks are running hard.テつ They have an offensive line that's played a lot of football.
I don't think they're going to change a whole lot from their system.テつ I don't think they need to.テつ I think the kid can do what they're asking him to do.
MIKE FINN:テつ Coach, thanks for being with us today.テつ Good luck this weekend.
COACH JOHNSON:テつ You guys have a good day.

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