Bobby Johnson Weekly Football Press Conference
October 21, 2002

Opening Statement
“I thought we played a very good football team this past Saturday. Especially this year, we have said that if we don’t play extremely well and the other team doesn’t help us a little bit, it is going to be tough for us to win those kind of games. I thought Georgia played extremely well, and even though we started off fairly well we did not play well the whole game. Those are the types of games you get into sometimes, and we are going to have to work through that and get better.”

Q: How about an update on injuries?
A: “We don’t know about Robert (Dinwiddie), but Brett (Beard) will be fine. With Robert, we are still examining his knee and seeing what the major problem is there. I think Brett will be back. We are just going to have to deal with the injuries. That is something every school has to go through. It has been real tough for us, obviously. They don’t help at all and they seem to hit us pretty hard at certain positions.”

Q: What about the defensive line?
A: “Aaron Carter has had some playing time this year because of injuries and is starting to be a really good football player for us. Antoine Morgan will get some time now and start to learn his position and be a better football player down the road for us. There are some positive things that can come out of injuries, so we are going to try to make the most out of them.

Q: That was Antoine’s first action of the year. Has he put on weight since arriving?
A: “Antoine is tall and thin right now – Coach (David) Turner calls him ‘Stickman.’ We think he has the potential to put on the weight and has added some weight since he got here. We think he will get bigger and stronger, and become a good player for us. But right now, he is young pup, a thin one at that.”

Q: Tell us about what you saw at the crash scene?
A: “It was a frightening scene. I was ahead in the front bus, and I didn’t know it happened. They stopped our bus and a patrolman walked up, sticks his head in the window and says, ‘a truck hit one of your buses.’ That was pretty scary. From then on, we’re almost in a panic. When I drive up (with the patrolman), the bus is on the opposite side of the road, the truck is almost obliterated, windows are broken out of the bus. You were expecting the worst, but fortunately it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It was nothing we want to make light of, but I thought our team handled it about as well as they could have. I told them yesterday that I appreciated that no one panicked. Nobody pointed fingers or anything. They just stayed calm and collected.”

Q: Were some of your guys more banged up than you first believed following the bus crash?
A: “Brett Beard probably had a bruised hip. The coaching staff took the bigger hit being up front. Coach (Warren) Belin was slowed yesterday. Robert Dinwiddie did hit his knee on one of the chairs in front of him. I think Jovan Haye actually cracked out a window with his head. It did not help, but it certainly could have been worse. We are thankful for that. “I should also say that we are very fortunate the fourth bus did not hit the bus or truck. That bus driver did a great job.”

Q: What about Benji Walker’s status?
A: “He still has an extremely sore ankle and did not do very well in practice yesterday. Hopefully, a day off today will get him well. I think he will be able to compete.”

Q: How about the performance of Kwane Doster at tailback?
A: “We’re proud of Kwane and what he has done, and not very surprised about it. At the beginning of the season, we thought we would be able to run those tailbacks in and out and not have a dropoff. That was including Kwane, with Ronald Hatcher and Norval McKenzie. There is always an adjustment when you are the main tailback. We tried to spell Kwane with Matthew (Tant) and Jason Bourque also got some carries toward the end of the game. Physically, he has a big adjustment to make. Kwane was getting nine or 10 carries early on, but now he is getting more carries and picking up a bunch of yards. He has responded well and has stayed even-keel, just going out and practicing hard. He does it in the game too.”

Q: What are you planning to do regarding kickoff returns, with Doster as the main tailback?
A: “We might put him back. He certainly has a knack for it. He can get through the tiniest hole with some speed. That’s a talent. Hopefully, we will not have so many kickoffs.”

A: What about changes in the defense? Are you spending more time there?
Q: “No. Our coaches work extremely hard and they try to get every advantage we can get. When you have great receivers, running backs and linemen like Georgia has, it’s hard for us to match up. We are going to look every week and see what the best way to match up is. If it takes dropping nine, we’ll drop nine. If it means bringing eight, we’ll do that. It’s a week-to-week thing, but personnel has a lot to do with it. It depends on a lot of different things.

A: How about the status of Moses Osemwegie? Will he be back?
I hope so. He is not full speed. Moses can run. He is fast and goes all over the field to make plays. That wasn’t the real Moses Osemwegie you watch on the field against Georgia.

A: Which game film will you use to get the most from Connecticut?
Q: “All of them. We chart all of them, take statistics off each one, and try to see what their tendencies are. They have the problem as us. We’ve also played at different levels. Someone told me that ‘UConn is no Georgia.’ I said, ‘we’re no Miami either.’ We both have the same problem.’”

A: Do they remind you of other teams?
Q: “They do some things like South Carolina and Middle Tennessee, run some draws by the backs with the quarterback keeping it sometimes. Early in the year, they used the option, but I didn’t see a lot of it against Temple. We are going to have to be prepared for a little bit of everything. Defensively, they are a lot like Mississippi the way they line up.”

A: Can you attack Connecticut’s rushing defense?
Q: We always plan to try to run the football against every team we play. That’s where we start, hoping that it sets up everything else. They’ve had problems stopping people on the ground, but that doesn’t mean it will happen this Saturday. We will always test people on the run.”

A: Talk about Dan Stricker coming back and handled his role?
Q: “Dan is a captain and a leader. He has acted that way the whole year. He wants to help the team as much as he can, whether he is catching 10 balls a game, five or none. That’s the way he goes about it. When he gets the opportunity, he makes the plays. He made an unbelievable catch on the sideline, then followed it up with the big catch to the one. He blocks and does everything we ask him to do. We are very pleased with Dan.”



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