Paul Johnson Monday Comments

Navy head coach Paul Johnson spoke with the local media members on Monday. Navy hosts Rutgers on Saturday.

In Attendance: Bill Wagner (Annapolis Capital) and Ron Snyder (Baltimore Examiner)

Snyder: Air Force talked earlier in the week about losing to Navy is an embarrassment. Do you think you got a little more respect after Saturday's game?

Johnson: Oh, I don't know. We'll see. Who knows. It's over with. We don't have to think about them for another year.

Snyder: How does it feel to get one step closer to the team's goals?

Johnson: It's exciting that we have a chance to continue to play for the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy, but we have to put that on the back burner. All Saturday did was put us in position to win the trophy and that will come down the line. Right now the biggest thing is Rutgers and getting ready for them. They have a tremendous football team.

Snyder: They are probably your toughest test to date and they can run the football just like you can. It's also an opportunity to get a Top 25 team at home.

Johnson: Right, plus they beat us pretty good last year so we have a lot of reasons to be excited to play them so hopefully we will be.

Wagner: What can you tell us about Rutgers? What do you see out of them? You've played them several years in a row now.

Johnson: They have a really good football team. They have two great backs and an experienced offensive line. They are in the Top 20 in a bunch of defensive categories. It's going to be a huge challenge.

Wagner: Having played them several years in a row is there anything in particular that you feel is important? I know they are a very big and physical team. Do you think that's given you problems in recent years?

Johnson: It just depends. On offense they are huge and on defense they are athletic. They run well and they play really hard. They understand what they are trying to do.

Wagner: What about the tailback, Rice? He looks pretty good. It seems like Leonard has been there for eight years, I know he's good, but Rice seems to have stepped up.

Johnson: Rice is a great back, there's no doubt about that. He has great balance and is hard to tackle. He's a really good player. He has good vision. He's the best back we will have faced all year.

Snyder: How did it feel to finally get some pressure on the quarterback?

Johnson: It was great. David Mahoney did a tremendous job on Saturday rushing the quarterback. He's played well since he's been here, but Saturday he really took it to another level.

Wagner: He played well at Connecticut too.

Johnson: Yeah. David's a good player. He's played well since he's been here.

Wagner: I think you've beaten one ranked team since you've been here, that was Air Force at FedExField, how much would it mean to beat a ranked opponent? Do you think that will serve notice to the rest of the nation that you guys are for real?

Johnson: I don't know about that. I'm not worried about the rest of the nation. We are just trying to play the teams on our schedule. I don't know if we've played a ranked team at home. N.C. State was probably ranked my first year.

Wagner: So this is something different, a ranked team coming to Navy?

Johnson: Yeah. It hasn't happened much.

Wagner: So it is an opportunity.

Johnson: Every game is an opportunity. I would hope that we aren't any more fired up to play because they are ranked than because they beat us a year ago, it's Homecoming and we haven't played particularly well at home the last two games.

Snyder: You guys seem to get better as the season goes along. Is there any particular reason?

Johnson: I think because we do the same things over and over again you are bound to improve. We might be better this week and you won't notice it. They are pretty good. They are undefeated, they have two good backs, an experienced offensive line and they are playing really good on defense. It's going to be a huge challenge.

Snyder: The running game has been pretty steady, statistically it's the best running game you've had here, but it seems like you guys keep finding different ways to win.

Johnson: I said earlier in the year that we aren't a good enough football team to win with just one area. We have to have a team effort. We probably don't have one facet that can win a game by itself. Not here.

Wagner: You mentioned yesterday that you didn't feel like you guys have put together a complete effort yet. You don't think UConn was a complete effort?

Johnson: I don't know that I said we haven't had a complete effort ever; I was talking about the Air Force game. We had our ups and downs. We played well for the most part against UConn. Offensively we didn't start out great. We got a couple of quick scores and then we got some penalties that killed us and then we kind of got back in gear. When I talk about the perfect game I'm talking about playing perfect. Stopping guys on defense and scoring when you get it on offense. That's what you shoot for.

Wagner: So do you feel like you still need to take it to another level?

Johnson: Yeah, we have to keep getting better. If you don't keep getting better you go backwards.

Wagner: How about Bullen? Did he kick today or was it just conditioning?

Johnson: He didn't kick today.

Wagner: His status will be determined later in the week?

Johnson: Yeah

Snyder: What about DuJuan?

Johnson: He's probably not going to play. He didn't practice today either.

Wagner: Has he been out longer than expected?

Johnson: We don't know how long he's going to be out.

Wagner: What about Kettani and Hall at fullback? You said yesterday it was something you would look at.

Johnson: Coach Culton came to me today and we talked about it and he feels like Eric has worked real hard and deserves a chance and he probably does. I'm not giving up on Matt. We need to go back and try to help Matt the best we can. We need to look at all the problems we've had and see if we can fix it, but it's also not fair to Eric to not give him a chance.

Wagner: He's only had one carry this year, is that correct?

Johnson: He hasn't played much this year other than special teams, but he's done some good things in practice. I think he can be a really good player.

Wagner: He looks like another Ballard.

Johnson: He's a big guy that's hard to tackle. Top Stories