Coach Paul Johnson talks to the media

Navy continues to prepare to play in the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco on December 30. Navy Head Coach Paul Johnson talked to the media about his teams practice plans for the next two weeks and about Navy's opponent, the University of New Mexico.

Q. Can you talk a little bit more about the difficulties of trying to schedule practice with exams. Apparently they are long exams.

A. Yeah, it's tough. Some of the exams are four hours. What happens is they have them in the morning, they have them in the afternoon and they have them at night, so it impacts a certain number of guys no matter when you practice. There is no way even to schedule around the exams. You just have to miss guys. It makes it tough.

Q. Does that affect your ability to install your game plan?

A. Sure it does. It affects your preparation when you don't have your guys out here. There's not much you can do though. We just have to work around it. They are all week. It makes it tough.

Q. At what point can you fully implement the game plan?

A. I don't know. When we get them all. Exams are over Friday I guess, so we will have Saturday and Monday here. We're putting the game plan in now, but guys are missing a day here and a day there. They don't miss the whole practice, but they are 45 minutes to an hour late.

Q. When you actually get to San Francisco can you accomplish as much in practice there?

A. No. No, you can't. We need to have the game plan in before we get out there.

Q. Why is that?

A. You don't have the resources we have here and we won't have the numbers. You don't want to be going to San Francisco putting the game plan in. You want to be polishing the game plan. We will try and get it in before we leave.

Q. Can you travel your scout players on the trip?

A. We'll take some. We are taking about the same amount of kids we took to the Army-Navy game, actually a few more. We took 90 to Army and we'll take 100 to the bowl game.

Q. Is there a restriction on the number of people you can dress for a bowl game?

A. Yeah, I think there is, but I don't know what it is. You can't manage more than 100. The other guys, because of the way the Brigade works, will be able to get there with the rest of the midshipmen. They will all be able to come and we will make sure all the guys get some of the bowl stuff. Everybody is a part of it, but it's just like during the season. You're on the team, but you don't get to travel to the away games unless you're on the first couple of teams.

Q. What do you normally travel to a regular away game?

A. 70 or 72.

Q. What did you travel to Houston last year?

A. 100.

Q. After last year's game you made a comment to the effect that you knew you had a chance to build on the success because the players were upset with having lost the bowl game. Have you noticed a difference in guys preparing for this week compared to last year leading up to the bowl game?

A. I think guys are trying to practice, it's just been difficult. The weather conditions haven't been very good and we've been missing guys, so there's no continuity so it's hard to tell. Right now their minds are on finals.

Q. It's hard to get around that.

A. Yeah and I don't blame them. If I were them, my mind would be on finals, too.

Q. So you will have to do some serious preparation on Saturday and Monday.

A. Yeah, probably, but that's normal. You normally have two days to get ready like that for a game, so we will have a jumpstart on it.

Q. What are you and your coaches going to do from Tuesday until you go to San Francisco?

A. I'm going to give the coaches Christmas break since they haven't had any break since August.

Q. So you're not going to send them on the road or something like that?

A. No, it's a dead period anyway. They have been going straight through since August, really since July when we got ready for camp. Last week they were on the road recruiting and this week they are back at practice, so when we finish up on Monday I'm going to give them Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday off. They have to do some Christmas shopping sometime.

Q. You talked a little bit about this yesterday, but is this line you're going to face bigger than anybody you've seen? They are almost NFL-like.

A. Yeah, they are big. They are huge.

Q. Does that present any particular problems?

A. I don't know if it presents a particular problem. Certainly everybody we play is bigger than us. I think their running back being so good presents the problem. If you look at their productivity offensively, it's not like they are averaging 50 points per game. Their running back is a good player.

Q. It looks like their quarterback can run a little bit.

A. Yeah, their biggest plays are with the option. They run the zone and DonTrell Moore is a great player and they dink the ball around, but the option has been their big plays.

Q. Does that make them easier to prepare for?

A. No, no, not at all. They run a different option from us. They are a speed or zone option team. It's different from what we do.

Q. How about defensively?

A. That's kind of what they hang their hat on. They don't give up many points and they don't give up a lot of yards. They really run good. They fly around and take some chances. It's a different scheme, something you don't see much. They kind of line up all over the place.

Q. What makes it different? Just the fact that you never know how they are going to line up?

A. They run well and they play hard. That's what makes the difference. That and it's different. People don't see it.

Q. When they play Air Force, do they play them differently?

A. No, they play them like they play everybody else. They lined up a lot of different ways against Air Force. A lot of fronts, a lot of different things.

Q. What does that mean for Aaron?

A. He just has to learn to count to three. We're going to do what we do. It will be on him in that he may have to check directions more, but it's not any different than any other game. They can only put 11 out there.

Q. That can work either way by shooting gaps.

A. Yeah. They are the kind of defense that is going to give you some bad plays. You just have to resign yourself to the fact that you're going to have some bad plays. You have to hope you can hit some big plays.


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