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October 16, 2013Georgia Tech is trying to win the second half of the 2013 season and that will start with Syracuse on Saturday. Head Coach Paul Johnson spoke with the media on Wednesday about getting ready for the Orange.
COACH JOHNSON: Good morning. We are excited to be back home after two long road trips. We've got -- I've been really impressed watching the Syracuse team on tape. This is the first time I really had a chance to watch them. Since they changed quarterbacks about three games go, they have become a very good football team. They protec t ball. I think they ran for over 300 yards the last two games, rushed the ball extremely well. The quarterback is very mobile, and defensively, we've got a good linebacking core, a couple of guys up front on defense that are really good players, and they are playing well right now. So this will be a tough game for us on Saturday.
Q. I know the competition has gotten tougher in the last couple weeks, three losses, but is there any other common denominator that you've picked out on film that's giving you guys trouble?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, we have been our worst enemy. When you go back, you start with the Virginia Tech game, certainly they played very well on defense but we had six or seven motion penalties and just put ourselves behind the 8-ball and turned the ball over. And the same thing, you go to Miami, it's a one-point game, we miss the extra point with five minutes to go. Could have been a tie game and then we just self-destruct and turn the ball over, penalties. And really more of the same at BYU in the fourth quarter. The biggest thing we have got to do is not beat ourselves, and that would at least give us a chance and get started with the penalties and the turnovers and giving up the big plays defensively. And we've got off to some horrendous starts defensively, as well, so we need to start the game better. But as you said, the competition has been pretty good. The last th ree games, we've played some really good teams and I think we've got a good team coming in this week, too.
Q. Is there anything that you guys do as a coaching staff or say to make sure that things don't go unraveled there?
COACH JOHNSON: No, I don't think things are going unraveled. I think that's for you guys to talk about. We've probably had the best practice we've had all year yesterday. We didn't have class; we're on fall break, and the guys were flying around. Yeah, I'm not worried about that. We just need to play well and win a game.
Q. WHAT does the film show you about their one, two running punch, how those guys are similar or different, and what they present for your defense?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, I think that they are a good combination. They have got a guy who is a bigger, more physical guy, and then a guy who has got great quicks and speed. They are both physical backs, but the o ne guy is listed at 220, 225, and he looks bigger t han that on tape. Plays much bigger. And then the other guy is more of a -- catch-you-in-the-seam and crease you and bounce around. He's a little quicker, not quite as big. But I think you have to give their offensive line credit. And the other guy that's really I think helped them a bunch is their quarterback. He keeps plays alive. He doesn't take -- hard to sack him. He pulls that thing down really quick and takes off with it. So it's hard to give him negative plays.
Q. One player who at least statistically seemed to play well at BYU, Adam Gotsis as nose tackle, he had four tackles, a couple of sacks. How has he come on for you this season?
COACH JOHNSON: I think Adam's playing well. This is his second year playing. He's from Australia. He's a good athlete. Our defense played very well in the second half at BYU. The first half was not too sporty but the second half we played very well defensively. We've done that a couple of times where -- what we have got to do is play 60 minutes. But Adam has got good ability. I think he's learning the game and he's played very well for us.
Q. I thought there are a couple of Australian kickers in the league. I didn't know there was a defensive lineman. How much teaching have you had to do with him? How much knowledge did he really have of playing the game when he came in?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, he played last
year as a true freshman, and he had some
knowledge. But clearly, the more he plays, the
better he gets with his hands and understanding
and all that.
But, you know, I think the speed of the
game slowed down for him a little bit after having
played a year. I think he would be the first to tell
you, last year, the thing was going a hundred miles
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