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November 6, 2013

Paul Johnson

MODERATOR:テつ We're joined by Coach Paul Johnson.
COACH JOHNSON:テつ Good morning.テつ We're excited to have a little bit of downtime this week.テつ We took yesterday and Monday off after playing seven straight weeks and a lot of road trips.テつ We were kind of beat up like everybody is so it was good to get some downtime.テつ We'll get cranked back up and get started on Clemson today.
It's a huge challenge going there.テつ This will be the second year in a row we've gone to Death Valley to play, it's a tough place to play and they've got an awfully good football team and playing really well right now.
It will be a challenge for us, and one that we're looking forward to and going in there and seeing if we can measure up.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions.

Q.テつ I saw you guys had a few high five sacks last week, and I was wondering how much of that was a favorable matchup and how much of it was sort of defensive improvement kind of reaching a peak in that game?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ Well, I think we had a couple of good matchups.テつ They have a couple of young tackles.テつ But Jeremiah Attaochu is really playing at a high level right now.テつ It's his senior year, and I think he's determined to go out with giving it his all.テつ He's playing really well.
We got a couple of sacks from linebackers on the blitz.テつ Euclid Cummings had one.テつ It was good to get some pressure on the quarterback.

Q.テつ Do you feel you guys can keep it up against Clemson?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ I don't know that anybody's sacked them five times in a game.テつ But certainly going to have to try to get pressure on the quarterback.テつ And he's a little more mobile, too.テつ He's a guy that can really hurt you with his legs if you're not careful.

Q.テつ After the top three teams ranked, there are a big pack of eight teams all no worse than within a game of 500.テつ And six teams, you're one of the six teams already Bowl eligible.テつ Do you feel a difference in the depth as you go week‑to‑week through the league this year.テつ Do you attribute that to expansion?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ To me the league has always been tough.テつ I think what happens is this year, more than the other years, you've got guys who are at the very top and have up until a week ago we had three teams ranked in the top 10.テつ And that's a little bit different.
But there's always been a lot of parity in the league.テつ I think especially in the upper middle and the middle of the league, it's been a lot of‑‑ teams are pretty close.

Q.テつ I know you have technically a bye week but have to get ready for Clemson.テつ What have you seen in their quarterback Boyd in the last couple of games on film?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ Well, I think he's a very dangerous player.テつ There's no question.テつ He's going to leave there with about every record that they've had.テつ And he's experienced.テつ I think that he has a great understanding of what they're trying to do and he's hard to fool.テつ He's seen most everything you can do.テつ So he's a good player.テつ He's like having a coach out there on the field.

Q.テつ You said you're going to Death Valley next week.テつ How difficult is it for you being a coach translating the play to your quarterback in that hostile environment with a lot of noise when they start revving up for when you guys get the football?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ That won't bother us.テつ We won't have an issue with that because we run the plays in.テつ But certainly the count's a problem, snap count, trying to check, just trying to communicate in general.
It's a fun place to play because the fans are always into it.

Q.テつ Next week when you play Clemson that's going to finish up your ACC record that you guys played in the ACC championship game last year.テつ I know you need some help for somebody to beat Miami but they've got four more conference games.テつ They could do that.テつ How do you look at that?テつ Is that a concern or because it's out of your control it's not a concern?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ Well, we don't worry about Miami or who else.テつ We've got more than enough to worry about going to Clemson.テつ So it's our last conference game.テつ We'll go in there and play hopefully as well as we can play, and if we find a way to win the game with 6 and 2 we'll sit there and see what happens.
I mean, we got beat at Miami so that's out of our control.テつ And we just have to kind of go, I guess, there's several teams that are mathematically still alive if you look at it like that.

Q.テつ I was also looking at the fact you have this week off but Clemson also has this week off.テつ Is it an advantage either way, because maybe because your offense is so unique that it helps them more to prepare for you than the extra week helping you prepare for them?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ I don't know.テつ You'd have to ask them that.テつ I mean, I'm glad we have a bye week this week because we're pretty beat up.テつ After seven straight weeks of playing it's good to give the guys a couple of days off.

Q.テつ Can you talk about anybody that will help, particularly?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ Well, I think we're going to get a couple of offensive linemen back that have been missing.テつ We had a couple of guys get hurt in the pick game that if we were playing certainly Thursday or Saturday they probably wouldn't play.テつ And they all have a chance maybe to get back, coming off a bye week, we'll get one of our defensive linemen back who has been hurt.
But it just gives everybody a chance to kind of regenerate and take a couple of days off and come back and get going again.

Q.テつ Coach, you mentioned Jeremiah Attaochu playing at a high level.テつ What is he doing that he's playing so well at the present?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ I think he's playing well.テつ He's putting a tremendous amount of pressure on opposing quarterbacks.テつ I think he had six quarterback hurries and two sacks in the game at Pitt and couple sacks for loss.テつ He's been productive, creating a lot of production and playing very well for us right now.

Q.テつ During the course of his career, how have you seen him develop, in other words what things has he come on and learned how to do?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ Well, I think that like a lot of players do, as he's progressed and gotten older he's gotten stronger and more mature and if I'm not mistaken, I think he may have been 16 or he had just turned 17 when he came to school here.
So he's still a young guy, and I think he's gotten better every week, really, this year for sure he has this season.

Q.テつ Just curious on your thoughts on Aaron Donald for Pitt.テつ He was on a lot of midseason all‑America teams and now that you saw him firsthand, what kind of player do you think he is?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ I think he's a great player.テつ He's one of the best players we've played against.テつ He's very disruptive.テつ He's a really good football player.

Q.テつ What makes him so effective at being able to get behind the line and make plays back there?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ I think he's got quickness.テつ He's compact.テつ He's not a real tall guy but he's very quick and he's explosive.テつ He's just hard to block, gotta stay on block.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you.

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