Coach Johnson talks Florida State

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Head Coach Paul Johnson discusses the upcoming game against the Florida State Seminoles. Johnson discusses defending Greg Carr, Florida State's third down defense, the Seminoles play as of late and the quarterback situation at Georgia Tech.




Opening remarks.

"I think after watching the tape of the Virginia game, I was still very disappointed. We missed a lot of opportunities in that game in a lot of phases. You have to give Virginia credit. They executed and their kids came in and played extremely well. They did what they had to do win the game. I think we can play better than that and will need to from here on out. We looked at the film, corrected the mistakes and now it's time to move on.

"Now, we are focused on Florida State, which is a huge challenge in itself. Defensively, they are a top 10 team in the country against the rush and their third down conversion defense is really unbelievable. They are very talented on both sides of the ball and run extremely well. On offense, they have a lot of skill players. There are a couple of athletic, tall receivers that adjust to deep balls very well. It's almost been like a get-out-of-jail-free card for them when they get third and long. They go deep, throw it up and let those guys go get it. They have done very well in doing that. Their quarterback [Christian Ponder] is playing well right now for them and they have a good running back [Antone Smith] as you would imagine for a FSU team.

"It's kind of a gut-check week for us to come back. I think our guys will respond, come back and play hard. My focus is to try to get better, come out Saturday and play hard and see what happens."


How did the players react to the Virginia loss?

"I think that they're disappointed. The one thing I think people sometimes tend to forget is that we have a really young football team. Just look in the secondary on Saturday. At one point, we were playing with two true freshmen. One is the corner [Rashaad Reid] and the other is the safety [Cooper Taylor]. You look at one side of the field, and they're the two deep guys. They've equated themselves okay, but they are still freshmen. You go over on the flipside and the skill guys over there on offense are freshmen and sophomores.

"Everybody wants to talk about our quarterback [Josh Nesbitt]. He made some mistakes, but the kid's played quarterback for only five games this season. It's not like he's played for four years. He has a lot of stuff going on out there that is not his fault. He doesn't have time to set his feet. He needs to learn to value the ball better and I think there's nobody more disappointed than he is about that. There are a lot of things that we have to address and we really have to play with emotion and play hard because that's just the way we are. We aren't going to roll our helmet out there and out-athlete any of these teams coming in. That's just not going to happen. People who think that are living in a fog world."


On Florida State's Greg Carr.

"I think that they have good skill at receivers. They have more than just him (Carr). He's a tall guy, but they've got another guy that's about 6-4 or 6-5. I think the Easterling kid is their leading receiver. The thing Carr has done is make plays. I can't tell you how many times they've had a third and long, dropped back, thrown it up and like a moon shine and he gets it. When Florida State was in the top-five consistently they used to do a lot of that and so he's a very talented guy. All of their receivers are good; they've got a whole handful of receivers that are good."


On Georgia Tech's quarterback situation.

I think Jaybo (Shaw) is going to be a good player. I watch practice every day and I play the guy that looks to be the best in practice. Last week, Jaybo had a decent practice and I've to confidence in him if we put him in the game. He may play in the game, just like every week, but to this point he hasn't been the best quarterback in practice. I've coached for 29 years and the most popular guy on every football team is the back-up quarterback. This is no different. Even if you are winning that guys the most popular quarterback.

"We talked about fumbling the ball on the five-yard line. I vaguely remember in the Duke game going down on the very first series and another quarterback fumbling the ball on the nine-yard line. It's the same thing. We won the game and it wasn't a big deal. Both of those guys are going to play, they're both good players. Right now there's not a quarterback controversy in my mind. If Jaybo continues to practice well like he did last week, he may earn some playing time. If he does that there may be point in the game where we put him in for a series or two."


On Florida State's play of late.

"They look pretty good to me. When you turn the film on, they are very impressive. Like I said, they have great skill guys on offense. Defensively, you just have to look at their numbers. We've played pretty good on defense, and we're giving up almost 40 percent on third down conversions. They're giving up just 17 percent if that puts it in perspective for you. I don't remember anybody being that good. That stat jumps off the page at you. It tells you that you'd better not be in any third down and long situations."


On the improvement of the kickoff return unit.

"Within reason I thought that it was somewhat better. It's still not where we wan to it be, but we made some progress. We will still have to evaluate the returners. We have a huge depth problem at a bunch of spots. A lot of these kids are playing more than they need to play. We are fortunate in some spots, the defensive line for instance, where we have enough depth that we can get those guys out a lit bit. (Defensive line coach) Giff [Smith] does a good job of getting them out of the game and resting them some. There's just not hat depth anywhere else."


On Florida State's third-down defense.

"I think the one thing they do great on defense is create a lot of negative plays. They get a huge number of tackles for loss and sacks, and they are going to blitz you. They play a lot of man coverage anyway, so they have no problem rushing seven or eight guys. When they get you in a third down situation, you might as well bank on it that they are coming. They will bring what they consider more than you can block."

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