Some notes from the Paul Johnson news conference. Nothing terribly newsy except for some injury updates. Onward.
1. Johnson doesn’t think Georgia’s playing in the SEC championship game will have any impact on the game. “I don’t think anybody’s going to be overlooking anybody in a rivalry game,” he said. “I think both sides will be ready to play.”
2. Johnson said that wide receiver Tyler Melton is “probably playing his best football the last two, three games.” Melton has seven catches in the past three games and has continued his effective downfield blocking. Johnson said he hasn’t made a point to get Melton the ball.
“It’s just kind of the nature of what happens,” he said. “But when the ball’s gone his way, he’s made a couple of nice catches and come down with it.”
3. There hasn’t been much talk amongst the team about possible bowls.
Players “know if they can keep winning, the priority will change,” he said, speaking of Tech’s appeal to bowl committees. “But we really don’t ask the players where they want to go. It just doesn’t work like that.”
4. Johnson on various injured players: Orwin Smith (”He’s good to go, I think”), Preston Lyons (”Good to go”), Stephen Hill (”I think so”).
“We’ll know more after practice today, but we’re assuming we’re going to have all those guys.”
5. Johnson on Georgia tight end Orson Charles: “We just have to watch the guy, but you can’t do anything special for him. The thing he can do is something that wide receivers can do. He can get downfield. He’s got good hands, he’s a good player, but we’ve played against other good tight ends that are good players.”
6. Johnson on what he is thankful for: “I’ve got a fairly lucrative job that helps support my family. I’m thankful for health. For the most part, our family’s healthy. I’ve got a zillion things to be thankful for on that line. … There’s 120 guys that get to do what I do. That’s not that many. There’s a lot of people that would love to have my job. I’m fortunate enough to have it.”
7. Johnson on the defense: “I don’t know that the defense is any different than the team as a whole. It’s been up and down. Certainly, we haven’t played with the kind of consistency that we’d like. I don’t know that you’re ever going to be satisfied until you’re holding people to no points or 10 points. It’s always a work in progress. I think we’ve played in spurts. We’ve done enough to win eight games. We’ll see if we win some more.”
An answer to a follow-up: “I think Coach (Al) Groh would be the first to tell you we’re not as far along as we’d like to be, but at the same time, we’ve played good enough to win eight games. It’s kind of a mixed bag.”
8. On interaction with Georgia fans: “People feel compelled to tell me they’re Georgia fans when I see them. That’s about it. It’s fairly cordial. They’ll come up (and say), ‘Hey, Coach, I’m a Georgia fan.’ O.K., that’s great. That’s usually about the extent of it.”
He went on to say that he thinks most fans on both sides are fairly cordial and not obnoxious but on both sides there’s a small minority that are.
Thanks for reading. I’ll have practice notes in the evening. And thanks for being respectful (by and large). Let’s keep it up. Again – disrespectful or obscene posts won’t be tolerated.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog