Paul Johnson Tuesday Comments

Navy head coach Paul Johnson spoke to the media on Tuesday about the upcoming game with Notre Dame.

In Attendance: Corey Masisak (Washington Times), Gary Lambrecht (Baltimore Sun), Bob Socci (Navy Radio), Bill Wagner (Annapolis Capital); WMAR-TV (Channel 2 in Baltimore); Comcast SportsNet; Washingtonpost.com

Wagner: Do you care one wit about the monetary side of this series? In many ways part of the reason this game is still played is that there is money to be made on both sides and Navy does real well off this game. Do you care about that?

Johnson: If you phrase it like that probably not, but I also understand how athletics work and I understand that it's something that we probably need to do. I fully understand why we are playing the game. I don't have any qualms about that. I think it's exciting for our guys. They enjoy playing this game every year. It's fun for the fans.

Wagner: Regardless if it's a moneymaker or not, are you in favor of playing this game because of all that it stands for?

Johnson: I think it's been a good game. It's been a long series and the two schools have a history as well as the two schools. The series has been here a lot longer than me and I'm probably not the guy that's going to change it.

Masisak: Are you surprised at all that they've dropped in the polls the last two weeks even though they keep winning?

Johnson: You know, honestly, I don't pay much attention to that stuff. When I turn the tape on I can see that they are pretty good, I don't care where they are ranked. I see a bunch of big, fast guys out there, 6-5 receivers, big linemen that can run, great skill players, they have great players. They are always going to have good players.

Wagner: You have played two teams this year that lined up pretty much the same defensively, Connecticut and Rutgers. One team you got the best of and the other team got the best of you. Don't you think Notre Dame is going to line up similar?

Johnson: They do every year. They line up the same way. It's an eight-man front. Army lines up the same way as well. It's all about execution and individual match-ups and playing. The game plans will be somewhat different, a little bit but not a lot, you just have to play. We played very well against UConn and hit some big plays. We played not so well against Rutgers and there is a fine line. Rutgers is very good on defense and I'm not going to take anything away from them, but we didn't play very well either. It was a combination.

Wagner: And Notre Dame has some very good defensive linemen.

Johnson: Yeah they do.

Wagner: Weis was saying on his teleconference today that everyone has doubled Victor Abiamiri all year.

Johnson: We won't.

Wagner: Derek Landri has been around.

Johnson: Yeah, he's a great player. He plays with a tremendous motor. He plays as hard as anybody I've ever seen. They have good players. It will be a little different deal for us. We might not even block ol Victor, much less double him.

Wagner: Just run away from him?

Johnson: No, we will read him on the option.

Wagner: How about Shaw the middle linebacker?

Johnson: He's a good player. He played last year some. He's a good player.

Wagner: And Zbikowski is almost like another linebacker for them.

Johnson: I imagine he will run the ally for them.

Wagner: I wanted to ask you about Keenan Little. He was actually one of your first really big recruits in that he had other offers from ACC schools. What is your assessment of his career?

Johnson: He's had a great career here. He's been a three-year starter and played a lot his first year. He's worked really hard and has worked really hard at everything here from school, to the military side, to football. He's a great kid.

Wagner: I get the sense he's a great kid.

Johnson: He really is. He's a special kid. He's going to be successful in whatever he does.


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