Your Paul Johnson news conference highlights:
1. Clemson is “probably the most talented team we’ve played since I’ve been here at Georgia Tech, at least in this stadium,” Johnson said.
2. He doesn’t think the sky is falling. “As I said last week, I don’t want to put the L’s down until we lose the games, if that’s O.K. with everybody,” said Johnson, in perhaps an unfortunate choice of phrasing. “I’d like to at least play them and see what happens.”
3. Johnson defended quarterback Tevin Washington, saying the offense’s lack of production in recent weeks is not his fault alone. “I think those guys get too much credit and too much blame sometimes. He’s like everyone else: He’s working hard and trying to correct what needs to be corrected.” Johnson said that Washington is not a guy he needs to push, that he’s self-motivated, hard on himself and holds himself accountable for his mistakes.
4. Part of Clemson’s ability to put up a lot of points is due to the numbers of plays that they run. The Tigers have run 626 plays, the most in the country. In the Clemson-North Carolina game, there were 16 possessions each, as opposed to 10 each in the Miami-Tech game. “That’s almost another half of football, so you’re going to have more points,” he said.
Johnson said further that “When you’re as talented as they are, you can score in bunches in a hurry.”
5. Clemson’s style won’t cause Tech to alter what the Jackets do offensively. “We’ve just got to try to do what we can do,” he said. He felt the same defensively, even though Clemson can run a high number of plays, because the linemen substitute considerably and the linebackers get swapped out on various packages. The secondary plays the entire game, generally, but there isn’t a lot of depth.
6. Johnson was asked about a petition signed by college football players and basketball players wanting a slice of the revenue schools receive from TV contracts. An Associated Press story Monday said that 55 Tech players had signed it. Denzel McCoy, who was recruited to Tech but is not on the roster because of a medical condition, was quoted in the story.
Johnson was not aware of the story or the petition, but said “I’m all for players getting whatever they can get.”
7. Johnson was asked about negative recruiting tactics against Tech from rival coaches who tell prospects that they can’t get to the NFL if they go there.
Johnson said that “I just point out the guys from Tech that are in the NFL.” He added further that if a prospect looks at a college solely as a vehicle to get to the NFL, “he’s probably not coming to Georgia Tech anyway because if that’s his only concern, he’s going to go somewhere where there’s 100,000 people at the game and the school’s not hard.”
8. Regarding special teams, Johnson said that “there’s a lot of things you can do. We try and do it every day.” He noted that Tech has five special-teams specialists on scholarship – punters Chandler Anderson and Sean Poole, kicker Justin Moore and long snappers Tyler Morgan and Sean Tobin – which might be the most of any team in the country
“I don’t care who’s coaching special teams,” he said. “If you punt the ball 13 yards, it’s not good.”
He asserted, more or less, that it’s not as bad as people think and that it’s the focus of attention because the team has lost two in a row. “We’re not good, but we’re about right in the middle,” he said.
9. He said Roddy Jones spoke to the team Monday with the message that there’s still a lot to play for, that the team can still win 11 games. “I want to win every game,” Johnson said. “The reality is the other teams have 85 scholarship players and they pay their coaches and they try to win, too.”
10. Johnson said he was just trying to get the offense going when he put in Synjyn Days late in the game against Miami. “We weren’t operating at a high level,” he said. “Sometimes you just kind of change things up and see what happens. That was it.”
He noted that Days fumbled. “If he takes care of the ball, he’s going to play more. Synjyn, he’s a talented guy. He can do some things, but you’ve got to take care of the ball.”
11. Johnson said he didn’t know how long center Jay Finch will be out. “It’s not near as bad as they thought. It’s a sprain and we’ll see how it goes.”
How Clemson can make the BCS championship game, from the Charlotte Observer.
Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd is the No. 2 candidate for the Heisman, according to the Sporting News, the Anderson Independent Mail writes.
Clemson defense split up snaps more equally against North Carolina, also in the Independent Mail.
Charleston Post and Courier story on Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris‘ philosophy on coaching from the field rather than the press box.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog