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CAPITAL ONE ORANGE BOWL: MISSISSIPPI STATE v GEORGIA TECH


December 29, 2014


Paul Johnson


MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA

Q. テつHow has your stay been so far?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ It's been great.テつ We've had great weather and great hospitality.テつ We've gotten some work in and hopefully ready to play the game.

Q.テつ I know you've treated the guys like adults, do what you need to do earlier in the week but how it's time to focus on football.
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ It's been good.テつ We haven't had any issues or problems.テつ Everything has gone well.

Q.テつ Today final practice of the 2014 season.テつ What do you try to accomplish today?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ It will be a little more than a walk‑through but we'll try to get everything in the game plan and really focus on special teams and just get ready to play.

Q.テつ Speaking of walk‑through, you don't do it normally.テつ What's the reason behind it?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ I've never done it.テつ I've always just given them the day off before the game, just do some mental preparation and film work.

Q.テつ You've been watching Mississippi State film for about a month.テつ Is there anything you can learn or just kick it off?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ The hardest thing about it is the layoff.テつ Any time you have that kind of layoff without playing, you try to simulate as much as you can in practice without getting people hurt, but you have to draw a line there because you can't be hitting all the time, either.テつ That's the biggest concern.

Q.テつ You talked about this being a business trip.テつ Do you sense from the guys that when they're on the field they're focused?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ I think they've had a good time but as we get closer to the game they'll get more into game mode.

Q.テつ What must you do to beat Mississippi State?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ If we can win the turnover battle I think we'll have a good chance to win the game.

Q.テつ Tough business of coaching, it's bound to happen, but your relationship with Smitty, can you talk about that?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ Well, disappointing to see that happen.テつ They've had so many injuries and roster problems, but it's the nature of the business, and he'll bounce back I'm sure.

Q.テつ You set a team record with five receptions (inaudible) this year.テつ Have you changed anything in the defensive scheme?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ Not really.テつ I wish there was something that we could say has been the cause of it, but I think it was just guys making plays.テつ Sometimes it happens that when you get a turnover and pick a ball off (inaudible) it's been unusual.

Q.テつ Playing in Miami's backyard, so to speak, fellow ACC rival.テつ What does that do for you to for recruiting?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ I think just the game in general gives you a lot of exposure.テつ New Year's Eve, it's the only game on, and it's certainly a national venue.テつ I think the Orange Bowl has a lot of tradition and history, and a lot people will be watching the game.テつ You know, it gives you a chance to showcase your program nationally.

Q.テつ You spoke a little bit about practice the other day about your run offense versus their stout defense.テつ What's it going to take for a fast start this week?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ I just think we need to do our thing.テつ If we can go out and execute and take care of the ball, that's all you can ask of our guys to do.テつ We need to win some battles physically, but that's why you play the game.テつ They're very, very talented up front, very deep in the front seven, so it'll be a challenge, but if we can read the thing right and execute, we know that what we're doing will work, we've just got to go out there and play.

Q.テつ You said earlier about preparing mentally the last day before the game.テつ What does that really entail?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ I think it's just getting yourself in gear to know your assignments, know your responsibilities, play‑‑ I've always liked to play the game in my head mentally, and everybody has their own way of getting ready to play.テつ Some guys are going to get‑‑ their emotions will start to build and get up and the adrenaline, and other guys are more laid back.テつ I think it's just focusing on saying, okay, here's why we're here, the game, and we've got to start to get ourselves in game mode.

Q.テつ Talk to us about the preparation for the Mississippi State offense.
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ Well, they're very versatile offensively.テつ I think Dak Prescott is a tremendous talent.テつ He can hurt you both running and throwing, have a good stable of receivers, and a veteran offensive line, so they've been really good offensively all year.テつ They've scored a bunch of points on people.テつ What we've got to try to do is hopefully limit them from running the ball some and try to get them in some 3rd and longs.

Q.テつ Can you just talk about what it's like for your team to be in South Florida playing in the Orange Bowl?
PAUL JOHNSON:テつ It's great.テつ We were joking on the bus, I looked this morning and it was 49 and raining in Atlanta.テつ We've had a great time here and looking forward to playing a great opponent in Mississippi State.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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