5 notes from Paul Johnson’s news conference

Georgia Tech is converting third downs (like this one, against Pitt, a 79-yard touchdown reception by Charles Perkins, at a higher rate than any team in the country, in part due to opponents' reluctance to blitz. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Georgia Tech is converting third downs (like this one, against Pitt, a 79-yard touchdown reception by Charles Perkins, at a higher rate than any team in the country, in part due to opponents’ reluctance to blitz. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

I’ve got to hustle a little bit today, so this’ll be short. Highlights from Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson’s news conference Tuesday.

1. Not surprisingly, a big priority will be keeping Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson contained. Johnson acknowledged that “we’ve struggled with mobile quarterbacks all year” and that that is Watson’s strength, keeping plays alive and improvising to create big gains.

“We had him in our camp a couple times here,” Johnson said. “He’s a gifted athlete. He’s a good player.”

2. Johnson praised the Clemson defense, ranked No. 1 in the country in yards per play and also third-down conversion rate. (Tech is No. 1 in the country in third-down efficiency.)

“They’ve got probably six or seven guys up there that are really talented players on the defensive front,” he said. “It’s a veteran team.”

Of Clemson’s starting 11, seven are eight seniors or graduate students, including likely All-American defensive end Vic Beasley.

3. Quote of the news conference: “We’re going to do what we do. Either we’ll be successful or they will, but we’re not going to throw the baby with the bathwater. Dance with the one that brung us. That’s all I know to do.”

4. An interesting insight into Tech’s outrageous success on third down, where the Jackets are No. 1 in the country at 59.32 percent.

“The nature of the offense is, for a lot of teams, third-and-6 is a passing down,” he said. “Not so much for us, and especially if we’re thinking about taking two plays to get it. It limits blitzes. We’ve had some success running the ball against blitzes, i.e, the first series Saturday. It makes the other team a little more hesitant to jump in dime and nickel and all that stuff if you’re not in third-and-forever.”

5. Update on nose tackle Shawn Green, trying to come back from a knee injury suffered against N.C. State: “We’ll see if he can bounce back and play. We may not know till Wednesday or Thursday. If he doesn’t play, then we’ll have to re-work. Pat (Gamble) plays inside and outside. We’ll just try to get our best 11 guys on the field, whatever way that is.”


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