Navy's Paul Johnson talks with GoMids.com

Paul Johnson has been one of the best coaches in college football over the past four years. Period. Entering his fifth season as Navy's head coach, Johnson's helped the Midshipmen win three consecutive Commander-in-Chief titles and two straight bowl games. He is 7-1 against service academy rivals Army and Air Force during his career and 26-11 overall the past three seasons.

Despite all of his accomplishments, Johnson remains humble and never stops working hard. He took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with GoMids.com. Here is Part I of the exclusive interview with Paul Johnson:

GoMids.com: How do you feel about the high expectations for your team in 2006?
Paul Johnson: I don't know if they are any different than any other seasons. High expectations are better than low expectations, I guess.

GM: How do you go about keeping your players level-headed with those expectations?
PJ: If our players aren't smarter than that, they don't deserve to win. I hope they realize we have to fight and claw for all of our wins. Nobody is shaking in their boots when they play us.

GM: Could this be the best team you've ever had?
PJ: I don't have any idea. You don't know until you start playing. As of right now, we haven't beaten anyone.

GM: How proud are you of the accomplishments this program has made over the last four years?
PJ: I'm proud of the guys. They've worked hard, they certainly deserve it. The key to our success is because they have worked so hard. They just have to keep working, we have to try to keep it going.

GM: Is it safe to say anything less than a winning season is a disappointment?
PJ: I think that has always been the goal from the first day we walked in. I let the team set goals every year. But a winning season has been the minimum since we've been here.

GM: What's the next step you would like to see the program make?
PJ: I think we have to maintain our consistency, play well, keep our head above water.

GM: How about making a move into the top 25?
PJ: I don't think you worry about that stuff in August. If you win enough games that will take care of itself.

GM: Where are you at as far as preparations for preseason camp go?
PJ: I'm ready to go. We don't have a lot of change, the same staff is back. It's not that hard to get ready to go. A

GM: ny concerns entering camp?
PJ: You are always concerned. You have to make sure everybody gets back and is healthy. So much luck is involved with everything you do.

GM: How do you feel about the development of new starting quarterback Brian Hampton?
PJ: I think he had an OK spring. We will see what happens when the bullets start flying. That's the only way you can tell, but I think he will be OK.

GM: Is Hampton as far along at this point as other first-year quarterbacks you have had?
PJ: I would say he is similar to Lamar (Owens) was a year ago. Both were back-ups the year before and played a little. It really comes down to how Brian will react the first time he is hit in the mouth. The jury is still out.

GM: Are you expecting a big-time battle for the fullback job between Adam Ballard and Matt Hall (Eric Kettani is also in the mix)?
PJ: It will be interesting. Matt is coming off (a knee) injury, but he isn't going to give anything up. If Adam is going to be the starter, he'll have to take it.

GM: Your defense sometimes gets overlooked because of your smooth-running offense. How excited are you about the 'D' this season?
PJ: We've got a lot coming back. I hope we continue to grow on defense. They defense has been a big part of our defense over the years.

Navy football fans, be sure to be watching for Part II of our interview with Paul Johnson.


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