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October 30, 2013

Paul Johnson

PAUL JOHNSON:テつ Good morning.テつ I'll tell you, we were fortunate to get a win last week at Virginia.テつ We fought through a lot of adversity, but any time you turn the ball over like we did, it was a struggle.テつ Hopefully we can clean that up, clean the penalties up.テつ We had done better against Syracuse the week before in that aspect, and then we kind of fell back into that routine again.
Playing a very good Pitt team who had a good prep against Navy last week to see a lot of what we do, so it'll be a good challenge this week to get ready to play.

Q.テつ I'm sure you get this question a lot, but college football is supposed to be an aerial circus, or it's evolving that way anyway, but you guys do it by throwing the ball 15 times a game and running it very well.テつ How do you do that, and I guess recruiting is the base for all that, isn't it?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ Well, it's just a system that we choose to run.テつ I think that sometimes that gets perpetuated because more people probably throw the ball.テつ But if you look, I don't know about this year, but I know a couple years ago when Alabama won the National Championship, in the National Championship game I think they threw the ball seven times.テつ I've just always had the belief that if you can run and stop the run, you're going to have a chance to win.テつ We'd like to throw it more efficiently than we have and maybe a little more, but just the nature of what we've done in the last couple of weeks, the secondary wasn't really involved in stopping the run game a whole lot, so there wasn't a lot of reason to throw.

Q.テつ What about Vad Lee?テつ What kind of athletic ability and intangibles does he bring to your offense?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ Well, I think Vad is a really good dual‑threat guy. テつHe's got good size and speed.テつ He's got a good arm.テつ He can throw the ball if we can give him time and protect him a little bit.テつ He's the kind of guy we were looking forward to getting in our offense.テつ He's kind of a dual‑threat guy.

Q.テつ You guys have won two in a row now.テつ Are you doing anything better in the last two games than when you were losing three in a row, or is it a question of who you're playing then versus now?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ I think it's probably a little bit of all of the above.テつ We played really poorly against Virginia Tech.テつ That's probably about as poorly as I've seen our football play maybe since I've been here.テつ I think you have to give them some credit for that, too, but we played horrendously.テつ We played a little bitter at Miami and didn't get it done, and then at BYU we played pretty well for three quarters and couldn't finish.テつ But there's some good football teams, all three teams we played.テつ Got it going against Syracuse and really struggled a little bit at Virginia.テつ We were our own worst enemy; we ended up with probably 500 yards, but we couldn't hold on to the ball especially in the first half.

Q.テつ Talk about playing against Pittsburgh.テつ You haven't played them in so long, since I think you were with Navy, so what have you seen on film that might be similar to the team you saw a couple years ago?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ Well, I think they have some very good individual players.テつ I was impressed just watching them on tape.テつ Donald, the defensive tackle, No.97, is probably as good a player as we've played against or as we've seen.テつ He's very talented.テつ I think the Mike linebacker No.44 is also a really good player, and then offensively they have two really good wide receivers, an experienced quarterback, and you know, they've got a pretty good football team.テつ They're very capable, and we'll have to play much better on Saturday to pull out a win.

Q.テつ Talk about your offense.テつ What do you guys have to do, because it seems like you're putting up a lot of points, but the defense are having problems stopping the other guys.
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ Well, we just had a shutout two games ago defensively.テつ We didn't play very well at Virginia.テつ I think that the offense put the defense in a bind a lot, and really to their credit, we turned the ball over four times in the first half and we were ahead 14‑10 at halftime.テつ So actually they played pretty good.テつ They gave up some yards, but clearly we've got to play a little better pass defense than we played at Virginia.テつ You know, we got hit with some plays.テつ But our defense has done a pretty good job stopping the run for most of the year.テつ It'll be a good challenge on Saturday because Pittsburgh has a good power running attack, and they give you a lot of looks and they certainly know what they're trying to accomplish offensively.

Q.テつ I wanted to ask you about Jeremiah.テつ The Pitt coaches were raving about him yesterday and his pass rush ability.テつ Do you like to move him around, typically line him up on the left side over the right tackle, or is he the kind of guy you can move around so the offense doesn't know where he's coming from in?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ Well, he moves around a little just depending on the defensive call, but for the most part he's on the left side at defensive end.テつ He plays with a great motor.テつ He played really hard last week.テつ He played 90 snaps, and he was playing just as hard on the last one as he did on the first one.
He loves to play the game, loves to rush the passer.テつ I just hope that we can get him into some situations where we can do that, because like I said, they're pretty good with the power running game.

Q.テつ Last week both Laskey and Sims had big games.テつ Can you talk about the importance of making the option go, of the B‑back being successful in the middle?テつ How important is that to the execution of your offense?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ Well, I think it's important, you know, to get those guys going.テつ Now, defensively teams can take that away from us if they so choose, and what we've got tab able to do is hurt them with the other stuff if they do.テつ But both those guys, and we ran a great deal of plays last week where there was no read, we were just hard dives or some zone stuff to those guys, and they did a good job running with the football.
Hopefully they can be productive this week.テつ As I said, Pitt is awfully good inside.テつ Their two defensive tackles are good players and the Mike linebackers.テつ It's going to be tough treading for our B‑back in there.

Q.テつ Can you talk about Zach's development a little bit?テつ Didn't he get to play a little bit when David was banged up last year?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ Zach was actually our leading rusher a year ago.テつ He played a lot.テつ He started and played a lot because David was hurt, and then David was playing better than him earlier in the year, and Zach started to come on a little bit.テつ David is a better blocker, and that's probably why he starts in front of him.

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