Saturday, December 08, 2007

Quotes of Note

Some random quotes about Paul Johnson's offense:

"Nobody, and I mean nobody, stops them from running the football. They are
as good on offense as any team I've ever seen.""It is the best offense we have
faced by far," said Northern coach Joe Novak. "This is the kind of offense that
runs you out of coaching when you are trying to defend it, it's that good."

Writer Gregg Doyel, on beating Notre Dame:

"Navy should never, and I mean ever, beat Notre Dame. Navy isn't as good as it has been under sixth-year head coach Paul Johnson, but Johnson has an excuse. He's been trying to recruit players to the Naval Academy with the country at war. Playing football for Navy today means fighting in a war tomorrow. Playing football for Navy is literally a matter of life and death."

Another head coach:

"They find a weakness on you, and they just exploit it," Delaware coach K.C. Keeler said. "He's a master of how you're trying to stop him, these are things he's now going to attack you with."

By the way, years ago, Johnson called GT to try and schedule a game. Evidently our regime wasn't interested:

"We've called South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia Tech," Johnson said. "Gosh, we've called everybody. We have a hard time getting a game. Georgia has to play us every four years so we'll get them in 2004."

Paul Johnson on his first season at Navy, where he had his only losing season, going 2-10:

"It was brutal. I never had a year like that anywhere," he said. "My daughter, Kaitlyn, could barely remember 1995 and 1996 [when Johnson was the offensive coordinator at Navy]. All she knew was Georgia Southern, and she thought we were supposed to win every week. After we won the opener, we went 10 games without winning again, and I'd get in the car after a game and she'd be bawling."

QB Legend Roger Staubach:

"He's done a good job of recruiting, and he knows how to use the players he gets," said Navy's most famous player, 1963 Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach, who later guided the Dallas Cowboys to two Super Bowl titles. "Paul is a really good X's and O's guy, and his teams are always well prepared. He really knows how to use that system, and he gets the kind of players who can make it work.

"Football is not exactly what the academy is about, but it's important for the spirit there. They like to be proud of the athletic teams. It's a tribute to Paul and his staff that they've brought a lot of excitement back by making Navy very competitive in Division I-A."

A QB at Hawaii who played under PJ:

"He's a very smart man," said assistant head coach Ken Niumatalolo, who quarterbacked at Hawaii under Johnson and has been on his staff for six years. "He thinks fast on his feet, and I believe that's his greatest strength. He's been doing this a long time, and there's nothing he hasn't seen. People try to throw new wrinkles at him, and he adjusts so fast. I don't know if anybody is better at game management."

Some former players:

He's always been right up front with everyone, telling you exactly what he thinks," Jasper said. "I think kids respond to that."

"He's demanding, but always forthright," Niumatalolo said. "He sets the standards high, but he also gives us the time to get refreshed. You're willing to work hard for someone like that. He's very intense and competitive, but low key off the field."

"Good enough is never good enough," Candeto said. "He's never satisfied and is a no-nonsense coach. I remember one March we were out there in 40-degree weather, and he ran us around for an hour and a half yelling at us. He expects everything you've got, and you can't fault the results."

Paul's wife while at Navy:

"Our life revolves around football week to week," she said. "I wouldn't call myself a fan except for the team that Paul coaches. Our daughter is the one who's really interested in what's going on."

Another player:

"I really don't know if we understand what he's saying sometimes," said David Mahoney, a linebacker who graduated last spring and is now a coach at the Naval Academy Preparatory School. "But I know he changed the whole mentality and gained the confidence of the players. Everybody was willing to work to put in the effort he expected."

PJ a few years ago on his future with Navy:

"If I really wanted to leave here, I could have done it a long time ago," Johnson said. "You never say never, and it needs to be the right fit. I haven't had that. These people have been very good to me, and I'm very thankful. Whenever I took a job, I always felt I'd be in that job for the rest of the time I coached. At the same time, if you don't win enough games ... It's always better to be talked about for other jobs than have people talking about who is going to take your job."

Jim Grobe on PJ:

"He’s been doing this for a long, long time,” Grobe said of Johnson, whom he has known since he was an assistant at Air Force and Johnson was Hawaii’s offensive coordinator. “He’s been one of those coaches that’s stayed true to his belief. He hasn’t wavered with whatever the latest trend is, he’s stayed with what he knows is successful.

"That’s why they run it so well. Paul knows this offense better than anybody who has ever run it. There’s not anything you can throw at him he hasn’t seen. And they coach it as well as it’s ever been coached. That’s the key."

More from Jim Grobe:

“Nobody’s played good defense against them,” Grobe said. “That’s not that nobody can play good defense, it’s that Navy’s so good at moving the football. And that puts a lot of pressure on you offensively because you feel like when you get the opportunity to go out there that you have to take care of the ball and make some first downs. When you have opportunities to score, you’d better take advantage of them.

“This is a Navy offense that is a four-down offense. They’re not afraid to go on fourth down anywhere on the field. It could be on their own 20 coming out. These guys don’t like to punt the football.”

An old quote from a Tulane coach:

"I think every team that plays Navy is worried about that spread. It's something you don't see very often, and they execute it so well," Scelfo said. "Paul Johnson is kind of the guru of option football these days. He's running that style of offense better than any other coach in the country."

PJ's assistand on his offense:

"This is Paul's offense. He designed it, he tweaked it, he knows it inside and out," said Navy assistant Ken Niumatalolo, who played for Johnson at Hawaii and has assisted him on three different occasions. "Just like Spurrier invented the Fun-and-Gun, Paul invented this version of the spread. Nobody runs it the way he does."

A player on his in-game adjustments:

Yet Johnson's true genius lies in play-calling. He has an uncanny knack for figuring out what the opponent is doing to defend the spread, then adjusting the gameplan accordingly.

"Not many guys know how to make split-second decisions about what plays will work based on what's happening on the field," Niumatalolo said. "Paul is one of the few coaches who can call a game by the seat of his pants."

Giff Smith, who wants to stay at GT:

"He hired me for my first full-time job," Smith said. "He was good. He's detailed. He's organized. He did an excellent job down there. He was good to work for. He delegates responsibility as long as you're doing your job."