Home Press Conference: Paul Johnson

Press Conference: Paul Johnson


Georgia Tech football coach Paul Johnson talks with members of the news media on Monday. Georgia Tech (5-3, 3-2 ACC) plays Virginia Tech (6-2, 4-0 ACC) on Thursday.

Opening Statement

It was good to get a little downtime. Last week we gave the players a couple of days off, took the weekend off and now we are getting ready to polish up the game plan that we started last week. We are getting ready to go and play Virginia Tech, who, right now is unquestionably the hottest team in our league. They have been beating everybody up, won six in a row, are a very talented team, and it is a tough place to play on a Thursday night. There is a big challenge ahead of us and we are looking forward to going up and seeing if we can play a little better than we did the last time out.”

On the benefits of a bye week

I don’t think that we have lost our legs; I just think that over an eight-week span you get beat up even if it’s not injuries that keep you off the field. You get bumps and bruises and anytime you get a couple of days off, both mentally and physically, it is good to get away from it a little bit.”

On his bye week

I got away from it a little bit [when I went to Georgia Southern’s Hall of Fame induction]. That was the first time that I’ve been to a football game like that. It was interesting.”

On Virginia Tech’s defensive line compared to Clemson’s defensive line

I think Virginia Tech plays really good team defense. If you go back and you look, Bud Foster has done a good job for a long time. They know what they are doing, they play really well together and they have some talented individuals. They usually have a good understanding of what they are trying to accomplish and they play well within the framework of what he is asking them to do. If you go back and you look they have probably been at the top of the defensive statistics more years than not since he has been there.”

On Virginia Tech’s special teams

They probably have not been as productive the last couple of years as they have been before. That was their trademark but they are still very good on special teams and they can change the game at any time, be it blocked kicks or returns. They cover kicks well.”

On Virginia Tech’s running back corps

They are three good players. I don’t think they change their methodology, I think they can do whatever they want. Sometimes it is probably hard to get enough reps for them. I would think that is the hard thing to keep them all satisfied at getting the ball. Darren Williams has been hurt a little bit but it looks like he is now back and healthy. David Wilson is a little bit younger, but they are all good players. It is a good luxury to have. Their wild card is Tyrod Taylor.

We haven’t tackled him in two years. He kills you scrambling and making big plays. He is a good runner and is more consistent throwing the ball than he was.”

On winning the Coastal Division

We still talk about it, until we are mathematically eliminated. It is not the major focus. Our focus it going to try and play better this week. We know that if we don’t win this week there won’t be much to talk about. Who knows, we can go over there and win this week, I have seen sicker children get well.”

On the importance of this game

I think this has been a big game because the last few years, the winner of this game has won the division, at least since I have been here. Anytime you play a division game it is big and they are close games. My first year they beat us by three in Virginia and last year we were fortunate and won by five. They have been close games that have gone down to the end. We are playing the team that is playing the best in the league right now so it is a chance to go and measure yourself and see where you stack up.”

On Joshua Nesbitt’s mental toughness

I think he is just competitive, likes to compete, likes to win and is a tough kid. Through the years he has just evolved into who he is. He has a lot of confidence in himself. I don’t think he is trying to prove anything, I think he is just playing. He has his own opinion of himself and I think that carries a lot more weight than what anyone else thinks.”

On his thoughts on the season

You keep working and improve and get better. You still have that carrot in front to shoot for. There are a lot of things that we have to play for. We are still a game short of being bowl eligible. We still are in the conference race. There are a lot of things. I have learned in this profession that people jump on and off the bandwagon really fast.

You put together a couple of wins and they will be right back on. There is a lot to play for.”



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.