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January 4, 2010

Paul Johnson


JASON ALPERT: Coach Paul Johnson from Georgia Tech is here. Coach Johnson, we welcome you to South Florida, and you now have one day left to get ready for the FedEx Orange Bowl. What is left for your team to do if anything?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, actually, today we'll go do a little walk through. Won't be much of a walk through. We'll take a team picture, you know, just kind of familiarize ourselves with the stadium. Fortunately, we've played there once already this year. And we'll have some meetings, get together, and hopefully get ready to come out and play a good game.

Q. Do you sense with your team any kind of anxiousness or just being antsy for the fact that it's been a while, it's a long build up, you finally get a chance to play tomorrow?
COACH JOHNSON: I think as it gets closer that's always probably the case. I think that for the most part of this Bowl period they've worked really well. They've enjoyed themselves here, you know, since we got into Miami this week.
But you can see the game's getting closer, the focus, everything's kind of geared that way. The curfew gets earlier, the guys leaving the hotel -- you see more guys in the hospitality room for them in the hotel. They're not going places. You don't know if they ran out of money or they're just geared in for the game. But I think as it gets closer, certainly, it's on their minds.

Q. I want to know what are your thoughts on the BCS as a whole? And are you in favor of any kind of playoff system?
COACH JOHNSON: You know, I think the BCS is probably doing it about the best way they can. Am I in favor of a playoff system personally? Yes, I think that it would be a good way to do it. Will that happen? You know, I don't know. That's going to have to come from the presidents if it happens, probably. But we're the only sport in the NCAA that doesn't play it off, I think, for a championship. So I think eventually it's going to happen.

Q. Has your pass defense improved as the season has gone on? And what happened down here in Miami with the Hurricanes when you played them?
COACH JOHNSON: Okay. Has our pass defense improved. It got better the last two games because the other teams didn't have to throw (smiling). You know, I think it's a work in progress. It's like anything else, there are so many things involved with that. It's not just coverage, it's pressure. There are a lot of different avenues.
What happened in Miami is we got beat, like a lot of teams did against Miami earlier in the year. Same thing happened to Oklahoma when they came down here. Same thing that happened -- we played it was our third game in 12 days. I think you have to look back to the previous year where on Thursday night game we had kind of gotten after them pretty good and embarrassed them, and they were waiting. And they returned the favor. They came out and they played better than we did, played harder and beat us.
We couldn't get them off the field. And we didn't execute very well. You have to give Miami credit. They just beat us that night. They were the better football team that day.

Q. What does Stanzi do based on what you've seen on film that makes him so much better in the fourth quarter? And had you guys been preparing for him all along even though he had missed a couple of games?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, I think that they are well-coached and they just continue to compete. They're like any team. When they get behind, they don't panic. They don't get away from what they're trying to do.
They play so well defensively that they get a lot of turns. And, you know, so I think they probably believe they're going to win. Most good teams do. Hopefully, our team's the same way. We've had to come from behind a couple of times on last drives and that kind of thing. You want to have confidence that you're going to be able to accomplish that.
We usually get ready for the system. We don't focus a lot on individual players. They're not going to change what they do radically, no matter who the quarterback was or who is playing or the running back or whoever it might be.
So you get ready for what their offense presents. And certainly he's an outstanding player and he was the starter for a reason. So I feel sure that he'll be back full speed, and we figure he's going to play a great game.

Q. Obviously winning the game is most important, but how much do you put in to representing the conference as a whole on such a national level?
COACH JOHNSON: I think any time you play in a Bowl game you're representing the conference. I think you're doing both. Certainly we want to represent Georgia Tech and the ACC. So it's, I think, any time you play these games, especially Bowl games, that you're representing the conference as well.
JASON ALPERT: Coach, thank you very much.
COACH JOHNSON: Great. Thanks.

End of FastScripts

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