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December 1, 2012

Paul Johnson

Tevin Washington



PAUL JOHNSON:  It was a heck of a football game.  I was awfully proud of the effort that our guys gave.  I thought they played with some heart and some intensity.  And we just ran out of time.  We had our chances, didn't finish enough drives in the first half and had to kick field goals, and they're a good football team.  They've got really physical, fast guys on defense, and they played hard, too.
Never happy when you lose, but I told our guys that I was proud of their effort, so we'll take that and try to move forward.  I thought our defense played their tail off, especially in the second half.

Q.  Coach, can you just talk about what the difference was in the second half with your defense?  Seemed kind of like a night and day type thing.
PAUL JOHNSON:  Well, you know, I think that we didn't do a whole lot of adjusting our change, we just kind of turned the dial up a little bit and guys played.  You know, we made some plays, created some turnovers and gave them some negative plays, and when you do that, it makes it tough.

Q.  Florida State did a good job of taking away the perimeter, they really closed fast on those plays.
PAUL JOHNSON:  They did.  We were having a hard time getting the linebacker picked up.  He was playing really deep, and he was scraping out in the alley a lot.  We didn't always do a great job of blocking the other guys on the perimeter, either.  We missed them several times.  Like I said, we could drive the ball down, but we didn't hit any big, explosive plays, and when defenses can do that to you where you have to do it five, six, seven yards at a pop, it's hard to be consistent enough to get it down there and keep it going, especially if you have to drive long ways.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about the plan with Sims in the middle?  Seems like you guys had a huge amount of success getting him free.
PAUL JOHNSON:  Well, that's because they were running a linebacker to the perimeter.  He was playing deep, and scraping out of there, so they were playing the inside box with four guys, and David ran the ball really hard.  I thought he ran real hard.  We had a little bit of a numbers advantage in there, but we just never could break it.  We'd make six or seven yards, but we could never come out of there and break it for bigger plays.

Q.  I guess one of the kind of strange plays was the two‑point conversion.  I was just curious what your thought process was there.
PAUL JOHNSON:  Well, we needed to go for two to get the thing to four in case there was a field goal or whatever because one did us no good.  You know, it probably wasn't the best play call.  It's something that we put in for this game.  You know, the way they lined up I thought we had a chance, but you know, just didn't work.

Q.  When you look at the team hanging in this game, what does that say about this squad?
PAUL JOHNSON:  Well, you know, it's like I said, I told the guys, I thought they competed and they played with some effort, and they had been challenged, you know, not just by me, everybody challenged them.  Everybody has told them they're not very good and they don't belong, and I think they wanted to show that they did, that they did belong.  Like I said, they came out and they played their tail off, played with some effort and some heart.

Q.  In a way it was kind of a synopsis of the way the whole season has gone, the defense plays better, offense plays in spurts and then you're just not able to finish.  Is that how it felt?
PAUL JOHNSON:  Yeah, you know‑‑ yeah.  We played a couple pretty good football teams, you know, it's not like we're lining up playing junior colleges.  I don't know what the Alabama‑Georgia score was today, but I'll bet it was pretty close, and this team has lost two football games.  They're pretty good, too.  One of the games they lost they turned it over six times.
So you know, it was a struggle.  They're pretty good defensively.  They haven't given up a whole lot of points or a whole lot of yards to anybody, so everything you got was a struggle.  I thought our defense did play much better.  The second half is the way that you'd like for them to play all the time; that's the standard.  But they played much better tonight, and we didn't finish drives.  Any time you have to kick three field goals when you get in the red zone, that's not good, and we got ourselves in the 3rd down situations or 4th down actually that it was just 10, 12, 9, so you've got to kick it.  The odds of making it is not real good.

Q.  I guess it had to be encouraging in some ways to see the way the team responded, particularly coming off that Georgia game and playing another tough top 15 team this week.
PAUL JOHNSON:  You know, the team responded the way I thought they would respond.  You know, this team really hasn't ever quit.  I mean, some people might want to say that, but they haven't ever really quit.
Now, have we been as consistent and played with the kind of emotion and energy every game, I'd be the first to say no and I think they would, too.  But this team has been fairly resilient, and it did not surprise me at all that they came out and played hard.  I knew they would.

Q.  What kind of got going for you guys?  What started working the second half?
TEVIN WASHINGTON:  I thought we stopped killing ourselves and drives and we started making the routine plays more.  That's pretty much how the game went.  I mean, first half we kept killing ourselves on the perimeter and missing blocks or whatever, missing a read here or there, key situations we need to make plays in.  Second half, I thought we did a better job of finishing some drives when we had a chance.

Q.  Tevin, when you look back on this game you guys fell behind early.  How tough is it to dig out from a hole when you fall behind 21‑3 in the first half?
TEVIN WASHINGTON:  I think you've just got to keep playing.  If you keep playing, I feel like the ball is going to bounce your way a little bit.  It always does.  It eventually always comes up in games like this, so we just tried to keep playing.

Q.  You had two real close calls, the pass to Jeff where he stepped out of bounds and then the route that Robby ran.  Talk about those plays and how close they felt to you.
TEVIN WASHINGTON:  That's how it goes sometimes.  I wish they went our way, but it didn't.  They made the call the other way, so you've just got to run with it.

Q.  Tevin, can you tell us what you saw on that two‑point conversion play?
TEVIN WASHINGTON:  Actually I went to Coach and thought the play we put in, I thought it would work, because usually when we send that motion, the corner usually fires, and it should have been‑‑ I thought it was going to be an easy conversion, but it went the other way.  He dropped back and contained us, and I didn't have nowhere to go with the football.

Q.  Tevin, I'm curious how‑‑ it's still very fresh, but how do you kind of look or make sense of the season where you guys came so close so many times and still are left with a 6 and 7 record?
TEVIN WASHINGTON:  I mean, I guess it would be bad if I felt like we didn't put our best effort forward, but I felt like overall as a team we put everything we had into those games, and I mean, I'm pretty much‑‑ I know I put everything I could into games and I feel like the team did.  Everything you feel like you do everything you can to help the team win, you've got to walk away knowing you did everything you could.
PAUL JOHNSON:  We've still got one left.  We're not through.

Q.  As a senior and knowing that you guys started the year 2 and 4, how does it feel to have come back and played in the Conference Championship Game and had a performance like this tonight?  How does that feel to you as a senior and your classmates?
TEVIN WASHINGTON:  I mean, it hurts, I mean, losing.  Any time you lose, it hurts.  But we came a long way, I think, from where people wrote us off early on and were still able to finish fairly pretty good in November and the middle part of October.  I mean, I just feel like we did the best we could, and we left it all out there on the field.

Q.  The last drive, I guess, a couple minutes left, it felt like the game was going to go your way.  What was your confidence level in the huddle and what you saw on the last play?
TEVIN WASHINGTON:  Last play we had an option route with the A back.  I thought if I would have made a better throw and put it on his outside, he would have had a chance to catch the ball and get up the field.  I kind of left it inside and got undercut and they made a play on the ball.  My confidence level was the same as it was when we started the game.  I felt like we was going to go down and win the game.

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