Paul Johnson Tuesday comments

Navy head coach Paul Johnson spoke to the media on Tuesday about Navy's big win over UConn and the upcoming game against rival Air Force.

In Attendance: Bill Wagner (Annapolis Capital); Gary Lambrecht (Baltimore Sun); Christian Swezey (Washington Post); Corey Masisak (Washington Times); Ron Snyder (Baltimore Examiner); Bob Socci (Navy Radio); Comcast SportsNet

Note: TV portion was not recorded

Lambrecht: Paul, could you address a little bit how big this game is in the context of the bigger picture?

Johnson: It's an important game because it directly affects one of the goals that the team set for themselves, but it's not the end all. If we win the game we will be 5-1 and we still haven't accomplished anything. If you lose the game we are 4-2 and we haven't accomplished anything. It's important because the two teams are rivals and it's another Academy. I'm not trying to diminish that, but you can't put all your eggs in one basket and think if we can somehow go and win this game that the season is made or if unfortunately we don't win the game that the season is lost. That's all I'm talking about.

Lambrecht: Has it been nice to make it a rivalry again?

Johnson: Yeah. It's nice for it to be a rivalry. We've managed to become competitive again so that's a good thing.

Snyder: You've talked over the course of the season that the offense has been able to move the ball but the big play was missing. That seemed to change against UConn.

Johnson: We made some plays. We had guys make plays. Brian made plays, Reggie made plays, and the receivers were blocking their tail off down field. We were fortunate, because they had a lot of guys near the line of scrimmage so when you broke one there was nobody there. We had some plays in the passing game. The big plays have been there in every game, but we just hadn't hit them. The law of averages finally caught up I guess.

Wagner: The story in the Colorado Springs Gazette indicated that the Navy game is bigger on Air Force's schedule than ever before because they have a bad taste in their mouth losing three times in a row to you. Do you think there is anything to that? Do you think Navy is now more important than ever to Air Force?

Johnson: I don't know. You would have to ask Air Force that. The Academy games are big games. I wouldn't begin to try and determine who their big game is. I know who ours is.

Wagner: Do you think you've gotten under their skin at all?

Johnson: I have no idea.

Masisak: What was it like three years ago for your seniors to beat Air Force? Their seniors are kind of in the same situation this year. Was that senior class more determined? What was some of their emotions since they knew it was their last chance.

Johnson: You know, I'm not sure. I think the guys just wanted to show that they were improving and had a good football team. Three years ago when we beat them they were ranked, I think 24th or 25th, and they were undefeated. That was a big win for us to get that win for that football team and it propelled them on to eight wins and a bowl game so it was huge. I think that senior class was just hungry to win, not just against Air Force but also against everybody because they hadn't won too many games against anybody.

Lambrecht: Now your senior class has something to uphold.

Johnson: This senior class has an opportunity, they sure do. Everybody in the program right now, we don't have any players in our program that have lost to another Academy. Hopefully they get the importance of that. That's a tremendous feat I think. Top Stories