Bobby Johnson's Weekly Press Conference
September 23, 2002
"We're certainly disappointed that we lost to the (Ole
Miss) game, but we are encouraged by other signs. We are getting
better offensively and on special teams, but defensively we
struggled. We played fairly well in the first half, but in
the second half we allowed too many big plays and too many
opportunities to convert on third down. We are going to work
really hard on that and try to get better."
Q: Do you expect South Carolina running back Andrew Pinnock
A: "He is big, talented football player and hard to tackle,
and I expect to see him in the game. He has been a good player
for them, and I'm sure they are trying to get him straightened
out on a few things and will have him ready to go this weekend."
Q: What are your feelings about Kwane Doster not being named
SEC "Special Teams Player of the Week"?
A: "It's kind of surprising. Not only did he have the
kickoff return yardage, he also had 101 yards rushing. That's
a pretty good days work, and it would seem like he would be
rewarded for it. But that's the way it goes. I think you are
going to have to get in there and prove you can win in this
league, and show everybody that you've got players that can
Q: Can you talk about the performance of Ole Miss quarterback
A: "He is pretty good. Our goal was to stop the run,
and we probably did that too well. With that, it allowed him
to pass the football. He's that type of quarterback - he makes
plays. We need playmakers on defense, and right now we are
searching for those guys. I think we have a few on offense
that can make plays, but on defense we are going to have to
find some guys who can overcome our coaching and make some
Q: How gratifying was it to see your players hang in the
game despite being down by a large margin at one point?
A: "I really appreciated our guys for hanging in there.
The good thing about getting behind when we did was that we
had plenty of time left. We didn't have to panic. We could
run on our offense, which I feel is pretty hard to defend.
I was very proud of our guys for hanging in there. We were
able to defend two series in a row in order for us to get
back into the game, making two good stops against their offense.
We just couldn't get it done on their last drive when they
converted three first downs."
Q: What do you do as a coach to keep you players motivated
when trailing by a large margin?
A: "It's just a matter of keeping their confidence up,
and being able to do it in a game like we did it in practice."
Q: Did you sense your guys were in pretty good shape following
the Ole Miss game?
A: "We were in pretty good shape. Our offensive line
played 70 snaps, and I believe Jim May, Jamie Byrum, Justin
Geisinger and Kenan Arkan played all of them. Unfortunately,
we played 72 snaps on defense with few substitutions. Our
guys hung in there pretty well. I thought they were fairly
fresh at the end considering that many plays."
Q: With South Carolina's penalty problems, do you feel this
is something you can exploit?
A: "I don't know if we can exploit it, but I hope it
continues for them. I wish them well in that endeavor."
Q: Were you recruited by both Clemson and South Carolina?
A: "I was recruited by both of them. At the time, they
didn't know what they were doing. The main reason I went to
Clemson was that my brother was there and Coach Art Baker,
who used to coach at Eau Claire High School where I went there,
was coaching at Clemson at that time. I was ready to get out
Q: Did you support South Carolina while growing up in the
A: "I used to sell drinks during the games at the old
Carolina Stadium. We would sell drinks for about a quarter,
then watch the game the rest of the way. It was just a way
of getting in free."
Q: Can you assess (freshman offensive guard) Mac Pyle's performance?
A: "He did not bad for a freshman. Obviously, that was
a pretty tough situation to ask a guy to go in there and start
his first SEC game on the road against a pretty quick defense.
Matt is going to be a good player for us, and we are anxious
to get him more experience so he can become a good player."
Q: Can you talk about Jay Cutler's toughness and maturity?
A: "I don't think he has gotten tougher because he was
always tough, but he still has to learn to hang in the pocket.
He did a good job, making better decisions and waiting for
things to develop."
Q: Discuss the success of your offense - especially your
offensive line - in its ability to move the football?
A: "Robbie Caldwell has done a great job with our offensive
line, and Ted Cain and the offensive staff do a great job
of developing a game plan, which gives our gives the best
chance to be successful. That goes a long way with Jay (Cutler)
going out and making certain choices that we give him during
the game. He picks the plays according to certain looks and
gives our guys the best chance at get the best angles at blocking.
It's a lot of technique, a lot of play recognition and defensive
recognition, but you have to have that to make it work."