Five things to know from Paul Johnson’s news conference

Game 2 -- Georgia Tech 37, Jacksonville 10: Jackets coach Paul Johnson walks to Bobby Dodd Stadium before the home opener against Jacksonville State on Sept. 9. Hyosub Shin/

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson met with the media Tuesday for his weekly news conference. Among the topics covered: quarterback TaQuon Marshall, Miami’s front seven, Hurricanes coach Mark Richt and the Yellow Jackets’ practice habits.

Here are the highlights:

1. Johnson said that he hasn't been surprised by anything that's happened through four games.

“We, probably at this point, have been a little better defensively than we were a year ago, but we haven’t played against some really good teams, so hopefully that’ll continue when we start to play some teams with better offenses. I think that we’re still a little bit of an enigma. Usually you know by this point of the year, but we’ve only played four games. Other than the first game, which we kind of gift-wrapped and gave away, most of the others, we’ve kind of got out front and had pretty good wins, so it’s hard to tell where we are. We’ll know a lot more after Saturday (against Miami), that’s for sure.”

2. Johnson paid homage to Miami's defensive front seven, a group headlined by linebacker Shaq Quarterman.

“Some real good athletes. They’re big and fast and explosive. They create a lot of negative plays and a lot of turnovers, but they’ve got some really talented people up there up front and a lot of them have played. Their three linebackers are, probably as a group, as good or better than anybody in the league.”

3. Johnson offered an insight into what has impressed him most about quarterback Marshall thus far.

“I think that just the moment hasn’t gotten too big for him. That’s the one thing I worried about, especially in the first game, getting starry eyed. For the most part, he’s kept his composure really well and has gone about it. Now, it’s going to heat up. It’s his first road game, too. I think he’s a pretty confident kid, works hard, wants to get better, so hopefully we’ll continue to see improvement.”

4. Johnson spoke slightly tempered praise of Richt, who he'll face for a 10th time Saturday, eight times while at Georgia and now the second at Miami. Johnson is 2-7 against Richt.

“Mark’s a good coach. There’s no question. If you look at his results, he’s had good results wherever he’s been. He’s also managed to coach at some places where there were pretty good players. But I think if you look at his record, he’s had an outstanding career, no question about it.”

5. Johnson was asked what kind of practice team this team has been. His evaluation of how this team has practiced – which can be a barometer of the team's determination – included a nudge to the scout teams.

“OK. So much of practice also revolves around scout team, too. We can pick it up there a little bit. But in fall camp and at times, they’ve been OK practice-wise. I wouldn’t say they’re great, but they’re not bad.”