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November 20, 2013

Paul Johnson

COACH JOHNSON:テつ I tell you, we are disappointed with our effort on Thursday night.テつ I think Clemson played a very, very good game; and you couple that with we didn't particularly play well and got off to a slow start and dug ourselves quite a hole.テつ Again, I want to take anything away from Clemson, because I thought they played an excellent football game.
Outside the league this week to play a team that we don't know a whole lot about, coming from the SWAC conference, which has historically had a lot of good players.テつ Our big focus this week is trying to get better at what we do.テつ Certainly we've got room for improvement in that area.

Q.テつ Looking at the ACC schedule this week, there are five teams that are stepping outside the league and to me that just seems unusual this late in the season.テつ Usually you play your non‑conference games fairly early.テつ Just wonder, can you talk about the philosophy behind that and what you're looking to get out of this kind of game this late in the season?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ I think what happens is inevitably with the schedule, it wouldn't be my philosophy.テつ If I had my druthers, I would rather play all four non‑conference games first.
I think we've talked about that as a group as head coaches.テつ I think that we need to start to try to work towards doing that.テつ But with the TV agreement and with some of the games that they want early, that makes it tougher to do that.
And then you couple that with a couple of us, three teams in general, us, Florida State and Clemson, all have the big SEC rival game, the in‑state rival, and historically that's been played the weekend of Thanksgiving.テつ So that kind of hinders that, too.
Yeah, you would much rather not be out of conference, I don't think, this late in the year.

Q.テつ The other thing that is kind of interesting, you finished your conference record, you're 5‑3 in the division, kind of sitting in the clubhouse at 5‑3 watching other people.テつ Are you going to be doing a lot of scored board watching to see if you can get a share of the division title or maybe in a situation where you win the tiebreaker and go to the Championship Game again?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ I don't know about scoreboard watching.テつ I mean, you know, we are where we are, and it's out of our control.
We could have‑‑ had we played better Thursday night and found a way to beat a good Clemson team; we knew going into that game we had a chance.テつ If we won that game, I felt like we had a chance to win the division or the tie breaker out right.テつ There's still that chance.
I think the Coastal is pretty well balanced and I don't know that there's one team that's head and shoulders better than the rest.テつ You just step back and let the guys play out and see what happens.

Q.テつ You talk about the need to improve the last couple of games.テつ How hard is that to do with your 11th game of the season?テつ And early in the season when you see how things are shaping up and are obvious, but is it more fine‑tuning, or are there certain things that you really go hard after?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ Well, I think it's going to be easy for us to improve off our last game on Thursday night.テつ When you start out with something as elementary as catching a kickoff, we dropped a couple of those.テつ I think we started six of our possessions inside the 20‑yard line; 260 yards in field position we gave upwith where Clemson started and where we started.テつ And against a really good football team like they have got, you're not going to overcome that kind of thing.
You know, lining up on the line of scrimmage when you punt the ball and not having the 25‑yard penalty for having too many guys in the backfield, which is what it ended up being, and we had to re‑kick.
Those kind of things that are self‑inflicted.テつ You know, when you play, you're going to have a team that's going to beat you sometimes and you're going to beat them sometimes.テつ But what we have got to stay away from is the self‑inflicted stuff.テつ And regardless of what week it is, we can improve on that.

Q.テつ What have you been able to find out about Alabama A&M?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ Well, of course, we swap all the tape and you talk to coaches.テつ The coaches in that league seem to think that they are probably ‑‑ their front seven is as physical as anybody else.
I'm sure they will have some good players.テつ They have got a thousand‑yard rusher.テつ They play two quarterbacks.テつ They are very multiple in what they do both offensively and defensively, they do a lot of things.テつ You just have to play the game and see.テつ Coming out of that league, there's been a lot of guys that go to the NFL, so I'm sure they will have some good players.
Like I said, again, our focus is on us and trying to get better at what we do.

Q.テつ We were talking to Coach Swinney earlier and he thinks Robert Godhigh is the first guy that's ever rushed for a hundred and received for a hundred yards against them.テつ I just wonder, can you talk about his versatility and how impressive he's been?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ Robby has been a good player for us all year.テつ He's probably been one of our more consistent guys.テつ He's been really special with the ball in his hand.テつ He's created a lot of long runs, and he was able to get some play‑action passes to the back sideunbalanced.テつ He caught a couple of big pass plays.テつ We had about three more that we could have caught, that would have helped him even more; it would have been big plays.テつ But he's been a really good player.テつ He's very consistent, plays hard and loves to play the game.

Q.テつ I think he leads the ACC in yards per carry, too, by a pretty wide margin.
COACH JOHNSON:テつ Yeah, I think he's going to break that record.テつ Orwin Smith broke that record a year ago, the guy that plays the same position, for year, and I think Robby is going to eclipse that.テつ Robby has him by half a yard or more per carry.テつ There have been a lot of really good backs in the ACC through the years.

Q.テつ Is that purely speed, or is there some other factor involved in getting that yardage?
COACH JOHNSON:テつ Well, I think that he's a good player.テつ He breaks tackles, and also where you get the ball has a lot to do with it.テつ Those guys get the ball mostly on pitches and on the perimeter, and when you are as talented as he is, you have a chance to break good plays; as opposed to a guy who is getting the ball 30 times a game inside the tackle box, they are probably not going to have that kind of yards per carry.

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