Click on the link below for audio. Dabo is at the 20 minute mark, and Paul Johnson is at the 1 hour, 11 minute mark. You can skip ahead using the bar at the bottom of the player. Transcripts for Dabo and Paul Johnson are below.
For us, we're coming off an open date. Just excited to get back to play. Been a long couple weeks here. Just trying to get ourselves better as a football team. Got a lot of guys that are trying to get healthy. Proud of our team after seven games. We're still in the hunt, in the mix of this division, this conference. That's really what we're trying to do.
That's always been our goal here, is to have a chance to compete for this league, and consistently do that. So here we are going into game eight. We're right where we want to be with a chance going into late October, early November to compete for this conference.
Got a huge challenge Saturday night with Georgia Tech. This is a really good team. Got great respect for them, what they do, how they do it. They're literally two plays away from being an undefeated football team. Paul has done a great job, man. They've had a couple tough breaks, but this is a team that can beat anybody. I mean that.
For us, it's just trying to focus on playing well, correcting some of the mistakes, learning from these previous seven games. That's what we tried to do through this open date with a little extra time. Hopefully we can play our best four quarters Saturday night. We're certainly going to have to play well to have a chance to win the game.
Q. Over the history of your coaching career, have you noticed a difference in your team's results coming off a bye?
DABO: I don't know. I've never really even studied that, to be honest with you. I'm sure somebody's got some data somewhere.
I think a lot of that depends on who you play, type of team you got year in and year out. I don't really know. I think we've done okay, for the most part. I have no idea.
Q. How did Kelly do yesterday? Is there a limitation to where you want to see him get to before you decide you're going to play him on Saturday, a certain percentage?
DABO: I can't jump in his body and do that. I just watch practice. If he can practice and do everything that we ask our players to do in practice, then there should be no reason why he can't play.
You always defer to the player, you know. Sometimes you think a guy can go, and he can't. It's just watching practice. As long as he can do everything he needs to do to be successful, gives us a chance to win, he'll be good to go. I get a report every day on who is in practice, who is limited, who is out. That's how we go about our business.
He's taken every rep, doing a great job. But I have no idea. I mean, I don't really know of many players that are 100% this time of year anywhere. It's a long season. Most everybody's got something that they're dealing with. But Kelly looks good. Hopefully he won't have any setbacks and will play a great game Saturday.
Q. In the off week, everybody has a different way they look at it, but what were some of the priorities for your team during the off week?
DABO: Well, the biggest thing is just a lot of work on Clemson. You take advantage of some time as a staff to really reflect on the previous seven games, really study yourself offensively and defensively, then also we do a lot of crossover study. Our defensive staff is studying our offense, our offensive staff is studying our defense, trying to help each other so that we can really plan a little better and give ourselves some good knowledge going into the second half of the season.
Some guys just rest, a lot of rest and rehab, treatment, things like that. I think that's a huge part of it. Then obviously you take a little time to work on the next opponent. That's really kind of our priority. For us, we also do some community service, as well. Then just get these guys time off.
I mean, we practice Monday, Wednesday, Thursday when we have an open date. Tuesday we do community service. That was a great day. Then we give our players off Friday, Saturday, Sunday. It's a great break for them just to kind of mentally clock out a little bit and get their minds on something else, come back refreshed and recharged, ready to get back into the ground.
Q. I know you played Georgia Tech on several occasions. What different things do you see in this Georgia Tech team this year?
DABO: Well, they've got really good experience on defense. Ted has been there several years now. They've got a great understanding of what they're doing. They put their players in position to be successful. They've got a good understanding of their scheme. I think they're complementing each other well offensively and defensively.
On the other side, they just, you know, different day, same story. They do what they do so well. They're incredibly well-coached. Paul has such a great understanding of that system. The quarterback has been outstanding. I mean, he has a great grasp. That's really where it starts for what they do offensively. He is very empowered and has to be a great decision maker. He has been. He's leading them in rushing. He's a tough kid. He's athletic. He's not that big, but he is dynamic.
They usually always have some big receiver on the outside. That's exactly what they got in the Jeune kid. He's 6'3", 200 some pounds. They're averaging right around 18 yards a reception. They don't throw it a lot, but when they do, it's chunks. Again, they're a really good team. Talented, complementing each other with their styles of play.
Good morning. I was proud of the way our team played against Wake Forest Saturday, especially in the second half. I'm not sure we played particularly well in the first half. I think you have to give Wake Forest credit. I think they're a good football team. They've got some good players, they're well-coached, play well together. To come out and play the way we did in the second half, I was proud of that effort.
Huge challenge this week. Night game in Death Valley against a team that's got really good athletes and a team we've struggled with here the last couple years. It's a challenge for us, but it's an opportunity, and we're looking forward to going up and playing.
Q. I'm working on a story of coaches that are having growing pains in year three. At Georgia Tech, you took a step back in year three, then took a big jump forward the year after that. What do you remember about that year, maybe some of the challenges that you went through at the time? Was it related to youth and inexperience, having to try to rebuild the roster a little bit after the first two years?
Johnson: Well, what happened to us after year two, we had four juniors come out early in the draft, then our starting quarterback got hurt, broke his arm in the fourth game, game at Virginia Tech. So I think really some of the seniors, because we thought we were going to have almost the whole team back from the conference championship team in '09. When the four guys came out early, I think some of the guys who stayed kind of resented that. It was a little bit of that.
But we were going along okay, and I think we were up 14-0 at Blacksburg when our quarterback through a pick and broke his arm on a tackle. That was a struggle. We had to replace him with a guy that didn't play. I can't even remember what our record was. I think a little over .500. That's the thing I remember, is we lost those four guys.
We thought we were going to lose one, possibly two, but we didn't think we were going to lose four.
Q. When you have a big season like that, then the very next season is a little bit of a struggle, how do you keep the guys up and convinced that you're going in the right direction, just having sort of the year three blues?
Johnson: I don't think we even talked about it. I think you kind of approach each season the same. You set the expectation and you leave it at what it is, go about your task.
I don't ever try to compare years. I think every team's different. We just talk about the goals for that year and try to reach those. Don't lower the standard. Doesn't matter what happens, doesn't matter who gets hurt, what happens, you got to keep the same expectation level.
Q. What qualities or what attributes do you look for in a B back? How does KirVonte Benson fit in that role for you?
Johnson: Like everybody else, we're just looking for a guy who is a good runningback. If they're a little bigger, you probably don't want a guy in there that's under 200 pounds. We've had them, did well.
KirVonte has done a good job. He's got a strong lower body, good speed. His vision is getting better all the time I think the more he plays. He has had a good year up to this point.
Q. When you recruit for that position, are you looking for specific types of guys, or just a good all around runningback?
Johnson: Yeah, just good players. Like I said, we probably wouldn't recruit a 170-pound guy to play in there, a 180-pound guy. Just guys who are good runningbacks, that's what we're looking for. No different than anybody else.
Q. Clemson was able to hold you under a hundred rushing net yards the past two years. Why in your mind do you think Clemson was able to accomplish that?
Johnson: Negative plays. A lot of sacks, a lot of lost yardage plays.
Q. What are you seeing from Clemson, mainly their defensive front this year, and how do you plan to attack that?
Johnson: They're good. They've been good for a few years. They've got a lot of guys and they roll them. They're big, fast and strong. We plan to do what we do every year. That's what we do. We're not going to change what we do. We just got to play a lot better than we've played against them, really last year especially. I think the year before we were somewhat limited when we played them. Last year we played a horrendous first half. Played a little better in the second half, but we were so far behind it really didn't matter.
Of course, they did that to a lot of people. They're pretty good.
Q. Shamire Devine was one of the guys nominated for offensive lineman of the week this past week. Talk a little bit about his development for you this year.
Johnson: Shamire has played a lot of football. He's I think our only senior up there on the offensive line. He fought his weight the whole time he's been here, when he stayed healthy and played. He's a big guy, about 6'6", 380. He has good feet. He does a nice job at the point of attack, is a pretty good pass protector inside.
He's playing well. He played the whole game the other night, which I'm proud of him because that's been his challenge playing. He's done that a couple of times. He also played 77 plays against Tennessee.
He's had his best season, I think, this year so far.Reply