• Will Paul Johnson Select Experience or Talent?

    GT head coach Paul Johnson has always said that he rewards those players who practice hard and practice well. He also likes to put players on the field who are experienced and know his system.

    That philosophy has worked exceptionally well against the middle tier and lesser teams. The Jackets under Paul Johnson rarely lose games they are expected to win. But against the top teams Georgia Tech has often come up short in the size/speed/athleticism areas and hasnít made enough plays to win.

    Could Johnson alter his philosophy somewhat this season and make a concerted effort to get his athletically superior yet inexperienced players on the field?

    Tevin Washington is the unquestioned starter at quarterback but Johnson has intimated that he may find situational opportunities to utilize redshirt sophomore QB Synjyn Daysí exceptional running ability and heralded redshirt freshman Vad Leeís considerable passing prowess.

    Johnson has also spoken openly about wanting to get the athletically gifted Daysí on the field at another position if he doesnít win significant playing time at quarterback. The most likely spot would be A-back.

    Who are other inexperienced yet athletically superior players who Johnson may alter his approach and make a concerted effort to get on the field?

    Justin Thomas, the true freshman Alabama speedster, is the type athlete that possesses game changing ability. He was recruited at quarterback and the inclination may be to redshirt him, but will Johnson find ways to utilize his talents at other positions this season? A-back, wide receiver and kick returns could be possibilities.

    Broderick Snoddy, the former high school sprint champion, redshirted last year but has the exceptional speed at the A-back position needed to pressure defenses on the edge. Orwin Smith will man the one A-back position and at the other Johnson has the older and more experienced B.J. Bostic, Tony Zenon and Robbie Godhigh. Snoddy is currently listed third on the depth chart but can Johnson afford to keep his game-breaking type speed on the bench?

    Francis Kallon, the Central Gwinnett phenom, will bring a size and speed package to the defensive end position that no other Georgia Tech player possesses. But he is a true freshman who has only played organized football one year. Could Kallon be the sackmaster late in the season that the Georgia Tech defense sorely needs and make the difference in the big games if given the early season game experience?

    Regarding Johnsonís philosophy to reward those who practice best, on the surface this is admirable. But it is a simple fact that many great players rarely practice well, and many good players who also donít practice well excel under the bright lights when the band is playing and their family and friends are in the stands.

    Adrenaline can be an amazing commodity and it behooves coaches to find out who are those players that can get it "turnt up" on game day. The only way to find out is to get them on the field and give them a chance.

    ESPN plays of the day are rarely plays made in practice.