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Comments from Navy head football coach Paul Johnson

Oct. 30, 2007

Comments from Navy head football coach Paul Johnson following practice on Monday, Oct. 29

On the injuries from Saturday's game

"We will know tomorrow about Rashawn King. I expect McGinn will be able to play. Kettani didn't practice today, but he should be able to play.

On Notre Dame

"They are big, physical and can run. They have some great individual talent. They are Notre Dame. They have good players and they will always have good players. Notre Dame's number one struggle has been their schedule. They have played a tough schedule. Number two is that any time you have a young quarterback there is going to be some growing pains. They lost some great players off last year's team. How many times did Brady Quinn and those two receivers bail them out last year on third down? They were great players. They have really good players now and they are getting better and better. The time to play Notre Dame was early on in the season. Physically it's going to be a challenge for us. We haven't made them punt in two years. I'm sure they can't wait to play us."

On the defense

"The old adage is it's never or bad or as good as it seems and that's true with the defense. We are making critical mistakes. We have to do better on third down. We have gotten people in third-and-long and when we do that we have to get them off the field. We are going to have to go back and simplify things some more and throw some stuff out. It's clear to me that guys aren't playing fast and they don't know what they are doing so we have to do a better job of getting them up to speed and it's our job as coaches to find something they can do. It's not what we know (as coaches). It's what they (the players) know. At the same time, they (the players) have to do a better job of listening, of putting their eyes where they belong and doing what they are coached to do. They can do that. It's not all physical. The worst thing that can happen is you put a guy out there that isn't sure what he's doing or where he's going and all of a sudden a guy with average speed becomes really slow. We have to get to a point where our guys just line up and play, because I think they want to and I think they will play hard. We have to find something they can do. You have to understand what you are doing so you can play fast. You have to play and you can't be afraid to make a play. There is no question we have to get better. I am surprised we haven't played better on defense, but part of it has been injuries and part of it is the confidence factor hasn't been there. We have had way too many guys play. You aren't going to get better if you keep rotating all the time, but that's been hard to do because of injuries. I will still say that these guys are more athletic than the guys that played before, but they aren't playing football as well as the group that played before them. Those guys were seasoned and they were heady. If one guy didn't get lined up right, somebody would correct him. There is no question that losing Sovie and Deliz hurt us, because they knew where everybody was supposed to line up and they would move guys into the right position if they lined up wrong. I'm sure some of them know what to do, but they are afraid to tell somebody else to move because they are afraid they aren't right."



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