Paul Johnson Monday Comments

Navy head football coach Paul Johnson talked to the media on Monday about Navy's 21-20 win over UMass and the Midshipmen's next game, at Stanford.

Q. Why is the whole defense doing up downs?

A. It's for efforts. The offense does them before practice and the defense does them after practice.

Q. How have the efforts been so far?

A. It's all right I guess. We try and get to single digits and we haven't made it yet. Early in the year that's usually the case. A lot of guys have to learn.

Q. Are you prepared to name a starting quarterback today?

A. We have a quarterback as far as I know. I promise we will have one on Saturday when we start the game. We will play with one.

Q. Can we presume that Brian's still the starter?

A. You can presume whatever you want, he is as far as I know unless someone tells me different.

Q. I noticed Price was limping pretty badly and he's in a red jersey, what's his situation?

A. He's hurt right now. We will find out the full extent here later. He's banged up pretty good.

Q. Did he have an MRI?

A. I think so, but it's more muscular.

Q. Is your policy that if they don't practice by Wednesday they won't play?

A. If he doesn't practice by Wednesday he probably won't play in the game.

Q. Coach Green was pretty impressed with the way Jeromy Miles played in relief of Buffin. Who went in for Price when he left?

A. Buffin and Miles both played at the same time when Price got hurt.

Q. Did you think Miles played pretty well?

A. Yeah, he did some positive things. He has some confidence for a freshman and he's not afraid.

Q. Were you serious when you said that a quarterback who didn't play last week might play this week?

A. When they asked me who was going to be the quarterback after the game I said it could be whoever. It could be anybody. The funny thing about that deal is that our kicker didn't kick and nobody noticed, we changed right guards constantly, we played six receivers, we played six slot backs, and nobody ever paid any attention to any of that, but if you play two quarterbacks it's a big deal.

Q. The Capital reported that Joey Bullen didn't play.

A. Good for you. You scooped them all. You know the point I'm making.

Q. I know. The quarterback is the focal point. What was your evaluation of Veteto?

A. I thought he did a good job. He was very consistent. We used him a little more than I like, but he was very consistent.

Q. Barnes. He didn't play at all on Saturday.

A. He just felt like he couldn't go. We're just trying to get him healthy. It's a choice of playing him at 60 or 70 percent or trying to get him healthy and we decided to try and hold him back and get him healthy.

Q. Do you feel like the offense regressed last week?

A. We didn't play as well offensively as we did the first week. I think we've played two pretty good football teams. I saw where East Carolina held UAB to 136 yards rushing. They have some pretty good guys. I think UMass was a pretty good football team. We didn't help ourselves. You can't have any consistency or play any kind of offense when you put the ball on the ground seven times, I don't care if you lose the ball or not because even the ones you don't lose you lose the down and the yardage.

Q. It's hard to get in a rhythm.

A. You can't do it. It's like I said after the game, the quarterbacks didn't play well but nobody else did either. We probably didn't play as well up front as we did the week before, the slots didn't play as well, the receivers didn't play as well, when you look at the tape it's never as good or as bad as it seems. That's just the way it is. When you think you played really well it usually isn't as good when you watch the tape and when you think you played terrible it usually isn't as bad after watching the tape. The good thing is that most of the stuff is correctable. I would be worried a lot more if we were getting run over or there was some magical scheme that we couldn't find a way to block, but that's not the case. The guy bats the ball down twice because we made a poor decision to pitch it. If he's between the quarterback and the pitch guy you don't pitch it. We hand it to the fullback and he doesn't know he's getting it and he leaves it on the ground or we pull it out and we don't secure it. A couple of times they knocked the ball out. That's the stuff we have to fix. That's the only thing I'm worried about. If we take care of the ball we will be fine.

Q. The batted pitches are rare. I've watched your offense for five years and these are the first batted pitches I've seen. I don't remember any others.

A. There might be one every once in awhile. You just have to read the angle. They are just trying to make plays and they are making poor decisions. If the guy is between you and the pitch man you just have to keep it and duck it inside. There were a couple of times when there was no room inside, somebody didn't get blocked or whatever, but you have to duck it in there anyway. You have to play again at second and nine and not worry about it. That's better than second and 20 or 25 if you're lucky enough to get the ball back.

Q. Really you guys were fortunate to cover those pitches.

A. Reggie made a great play on the one to get it back. Live and learn. I'm disappointed that we didn't play better, but I can show you the tape from a year ago and we didn't play great the first couple of games last year either. At least this year we're 2-0.

Q. Let's talk about Stanford a little bit. They appear to have given up a lot of points. They have played some high scoring games, what's your assessment of them?

A. They are always going to have good players. They have a bunch of Parade All-Americans. I think seven of the guys we played against on defense last year are in the NFL. They are the biggest team we will face, no question, on both lines. Their quarterback is a really good player, they have a 6-7 receiver and they have a lot of their offensive line back. Oregon is a really good team. They have a lot of speed. The San Jose State game was crazy. Stanford got up 34-14, but had a bunch of turnovers. It was a screwy game.

Q. Last year when you played Stanford it was a high scoring game; do you expect it to be similar this year?

A. I have no idea. If we win 7-3 that will be great and if we win 77-73 that would be OK too. I just want to play well. I was frustrated with the way we played offensively on Saturday. I was frustrated with the whole game; I mean we made mistakes in the kicking game and on defense too. We played really well on defense in the second half. If you step back and think about it though, Navy is 2-0 and five years ago when we came here people would be turning back flips to say that Navy is 2-0, they wouldn't be worried about how it happened.

Q. What do you think about Stanford being kind enough to invite you to open up their new stadium?

A. I hope we can make it a memorable event. I'm sure if they watched us on tape they handpicked us. Anybody that puts the ball on the ground that much, I bet they can't wait for us to roll in to town.

Q. Their passing attack is likely to be pretty good.

A. If he gets time he is really, really accurate. He's a very good player. They are actually running the ball better than they did a year ago.

Q. How about their rushing defense? I think they are ranked last nationally. Does that look like something you can exploit?

A. They have a lot of young guys playing and they've played two pretty good teams. Oregon is very talented and they spread them out. They hit a lot of big plays on them. San Jose has a little running back; he looks to be a little bigger than Reggie, that can fly. He was like a blur. They are young. They are going to get better and better every week. I just want us to execute better. If we do that we can live with whatever happens.

Q. Suffice it to say you have to play a lot better than you have to beat Stanford.

A. If we go out there and lay the ball on the ground seven times it's going to be ugly. It would be against most anybody. There are not many teams in the country that can lay it on the ground seven times and still win. I don't care who you are.


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