PJ's Press Conference - Wednesday, October 13

Transcript of Navy Head Football Coach Paul Johnson's post-practice press conference from Wednesday, October 13th.

Q. How is the team looking?

A. Well, I think we're excited about playing.  We have pretty much everybody healthy so we'll see.

Q. How has practice been this week coming off an emotional win against Air Force and then a week off?

A. I think it's been OK.  It's been a long time since we've played and you never know how that's going to play out.  I think our guys are going to be excited to play Notre Dame; certainly it's a tradition rich program.  They have national exposure and everybody knows about them so it's always fun to measure yourself against a team like that.

Q. Where does Notre Dame rank as far as importance on your schedule?  After Air Force and Army?

A. After Air Force and Army they are all way behind, but I'm sure it's up there for our players simply because of who they are.  It's been a long series.  I don't know if I would call it a rivalry, because you have to win one once in a while for it to be a rivalry, but it's been a pretty good series.

Q. Talk about Notre Dame and the way they are playing.

A. Notre Dame is always going to have good athletes.  They had a big win against Michigan, which I guess was ranked eighth at the time.  I think they've gotten better each game.  They struggled in their opening game, but they've certainly improved greatly.  Since that first game the only game they've lost was to the No. 5 ranked team in the country, Purdue, who is pretty good.  They have a good football team.

Q. Do you talk to your kids about 40 years in a row?

A. No.  It's useless.  None of these kids were born then.  I'll take credit for two of them, but that's it.  I don't want any credit for the rest.  I guess I was here two other times we played them as an assistant.  It doesn't matter.  I bet if you go back and look they've been favored in all of them, probably by double digits in most of them, so it's not like it's been two teams that's been pick 'em every year and they've managed to win every game.

Q. How do you keep your team focused?  You have a perfect record on the line, you could qualify for a bowl game, and you have the Notre Dame streak.  How do you keep your team focused that this is just one game.

A. These kids are smart kids.  That's why they're here.  They look at the film and they see Notre Dame.  They know they're big and can run.  They will be focused; I just hope we're not scared.

Q. You've come pretty close.

A. Yeah, we've played them close, but you know what?  You have to say this when it's gotten close they've upped their level of play another notch and we haven't been able to go with them so close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades.  Until you win it doesn't matter.

Q. Does part of you as a coach think to yourself this is a chance to see if we can play at that level of competition?

A. Not really.  I've been coaching for a long time.  I know where we are. To me as a coach what I want to do is to go play as well as we can play.  If we do that we'll have a chance.  Now we're going to have to play really good.  If we go in there and play as well as we can play I'll be satisfied no matter what happens.

Q. What are your thoughts about playing in a neutral territory?

A. I don't know if you ever play Notre Dame in a neutral territory.  They may have a few Subway Alumni from New York. Our Brigade is going so they will be into it.  We'll have some good fans there.

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