• 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.
    Comments 41 Comments
    1. oldgoldandwhite's Avatar
      oldgoldandwhite -
      Experience. Talent is only good if you know what you are doing. There are tons of talented QB's that did not make it in the NFL and College.
    1. Jim Hart's Avatar
      Jim Hart -
      Quote Originally Posted by oldgoldandwhite View Post
      Experience. Talent is only good if you know what you are doing. There are tons of talented QB's that did not make it in the NFL and College.
      Then why do you think a hefty percentage of GT fans want Vad Lee rather than Tevin even though Vad has zero experience and Tevin is very experienced?

      If experience is so important.. you'd rather date an 80-year old woman than a 20-year old girl?
    1. TECHnician's Avatar
      TECHnician -
      Good question, Jim. I personally hope we see the youngins on the field this year. If I had to guess, I'd say we see some of them in at least in situational duty. Physical superiority, whether it's speed, quickness or power, often makes up for (and sometimes exceeds) a lack of fundamentals. Why not play the kids with more potential? Noone (except us here) expects much from us this year anyway, just like every other season.
    1. dressedcheeseside's Avatar
      dressedcheeseside -
      The funny thing about CPJ and the skill positions: basics first, athleticism second. We've seen it with Tevin over Days and Lee at qb and we've seen it with Lyons over Perkins at B back. I'm sure the same applies at A back. Let's hope our exceptionally gifted "athletes" learn and master the basics so we get to see their true talents shine on the field. If they don't, they have no one to blame but themselves.

      Don't blame CPJ when the more gifted athletes don't learn the system or can't perform the basics. It's on them, not coach. I'm sure the coaches are doing everything in their power to get the best athletes on the field, but sometimes they can hurt the team more than they help it if they don't know where to go or what to do or can't perform rudimentary tasks that are vital to the success of the team.

      Also, I'm not sure how accurate your statement is " it is a simple fact that many great players rarely practice well, and many good players who also don’t practice well excel under the bright lights when the band is playing and their family and friends are in the stands." Do you have any data to back up this statement or is it just pure speculation or anecdotal on your part?
    1. Yukonwreck's Avatar
      Yukonwreck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hart View Post
      Then why do you think a hefty percentage of GT fans want Vad Lee rather than Tevin even though Vad has zero experience and Tevin is very experienced?

      If experience is so important.. you'd rather date an 80-year old woman than a 20-year old girl?
      Is the 80 year old an exceptional talent? Can the 20 year old block and hold on to the football, or even remember what you taught her? The question you pose is easily answered. Who played last year? Zenon, Bostic, or Roddy Jones? Jones played and it wasn't because he was a playmaker. The player that practices the best, and exhibits he knows and understands the playbook, never takes a down off, blocks with a passion, and can catch a pitch and a pass will be the player that plays.
    1. Yukonwreck's Avatar
      Yukonwreck -
      Quote Originally Posted by TECHnician View Post
      Good question, Jim. I personally hope we see the youngins on the field this year. If I had to guess, I'd say we see some of them in at least in situational duty. Physical superiority, whether it's speed, quickness or power, often makes up for (and sometimes exceeds) a lack of fundamentals. Why not play the kids with more potential? Noone (except us here) expects much from us this year anyway, just like every other season.
      Interesting, but wrong in this system. Our overall offensive strategy is ball control--for points, for clock management, and to deny the ball from the other team and keep our less than reliable defense on the sidelines. One ill-timed turnover, just one at the wrong time, completely upends that strategy. Snoddy, Thomas, Lee, Perkins,etc., will only play if the coach is supremely confident that they will not contribute to getting us beat. Two words to remember: Zach Laskey.
    1. oldgoldandwhite's Avatar
      oldgoldandwhite -
      Ask Nick Saban why he never starts a freshman QB?
    1. Jim Hart's Avatar
      Jim Hart -
      Quote Originally Posted by dressedcheeseside View Post
      The funny thing about CPJ and the skill positions: basics first, athleticism second. We've seen it with Tevin over Days and Lee at qb and we've seen it with Lyons over Perkins at B back. I'm sure the same applies at A back. Let's hope our exceptionally gifted "athletes" learn and master the basics so we get to see their true talents shine on the field. If they don't, they have no one to blame but themselves.

      Don't blame CPJ when the more gifted athletes don't learn the system or can't perform the basics. It's on them, not coach. I'm sure the coaches are doing everything in their power to get the best athletes on the field, but sometimes they can hurt the team more than they help it if they don't know where to go or what to do or can't perform rudimentary tasks that are vital to the success of the team.

      Also, I'm not sure how accurate your statement is " it is a simple fact that many great players rarely practice well, and many good players who also don’t practice well excel under the bright lights when the band is playing and their family and friends are in the stands." Do you have any data to back up this statement or is it just pure speculation or anecdotal on your part?
      cheese, I don't need data. This isn't an engineering study to determine whether or not to build a new waste water treatment facility or whether or not it is feasible to build another skyscraper in downtown Atlanta.

      I've been following sports for over 45 years, played organized sports, have read hundreds of books on sports, have spoken and interviewed hundreds and hundreds of athletes, have watched thousands of games, etc. etc.

      I think you can trust me on this one, big guy..

      Regarding athletes learning the system.. it is on Paul Johnson to win games. And in football like life there is balance. Many successful coaches have the philosophy to play athletes early. Paul Johnson's philosophy is to play them more later.

      As an engineer you probably don't understand balance very well, everything is more black and white to you. But is Paul Johnson balancing talent vs experience in making his decisions on who to play or is he leaning more towards experience? If you think he is balanced in his experience vs talented decisions and balanced means he is playing the correct players where is your data??
    1. Jim Hart's Avatar
      Jim Hart -
      Quote Originally Posted by oldgoldandwhite View Post
      Ask Nick Saban why he never starts a freshman QB?
      Apparently Saban is considering starting a freshman this year (looks like it is 50/50). Here's a link: Alabama Set for Season Opener
    1. Yukonwreck's Avatar
      Yukonwreck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hart View Post
      Apparently Saban is considering starting a freshman this year (looks like it is 50/50). Here's a link: Alabama Set for Season Opener
      But Saban has a world class defense. Alabama can recover from an occasional turnover or punt caused by a busted play. We haven't showed that ability yet. One turnover or penalty has frequently resulted in putting us out of our game plan which often spells LOSS. Please quit insulting our intelligence by comparing Georgia Tech to the defending national championship program. What works in Tuscaloosa doesn't necessarily make sense on North Avenue.
    1. dressedcheeseside's Avatar
      dressedcheeseside -
      CPJ is no fool. He's gonna play the guys that he feels will most improve our chances of winning. Conversely, that also means not play the guys that will most likely cause us to lose. It's open competition. He doesn't play favorites. He wants to win, more so, I dare say, than anyone on this board. He's a smart football coach who been around the block and knows how to recognize the level of talent among his players. I completely trust him to put the best available players on the field regardless of age, size, talent, experience or whatever metric you want to put forth for discussion.
    1. Yukonwreck's Avatar
      Yukonwreck -
      Quote Originally Posted by dressedcheeseside View Post
      The funny thing about CPJ and the skill positions: basics first, athleticism second. We've seen it with Tevin over Days and Lee at qb and we've seen it with Lyons over Perkins at B back. I'm sure the same applies at A back. Let's hope our exceptionally gifted "athletes" learn and master the basics so we get to see their true talents shine on the field. If they don't, they have no one to blame but themselves.

      Don't blame CPJ when the more gifted athletes don't learn the system or can't perform the basics. It's on them, not coach. I'm sure the coaches are doing everything in their power to get the best athletes on the field, but sometimes they can hurt the team more than they help it if they don't know where to go or what to do or can't perform rudimentary tasks that are vital to the success of the team.

      Also, I'm not sure how accurate your statement is " it is a simple fact that many great players rarely practice well, and many good players who also don’t practice well excel under the bright lights when the band is playing and their family and friends are in the stands." Do you have any data to back up this statement or is it just pure speculation or anecdotal on your part?
      Hey! You got it right this time!
    1. Yukonwreck's Avatar
      Yukonwreck -
      Quote Originally Posted by dressedcheeseside View Post
      CPJ is no fool. He's gonna play the guys that he feels will most improve our chances of winning. Conversely, that also means not play the guys that will most likely cause us to lose. It's open competition. He doesn't play favorites. He wants to win, more so, I dare say, than anyone on this board. He's a smart football coach who been around the block and knows how to recognize the level of talent among his players. I completely trust him to put the best available players on the field regardless of age, size, talent, experience or whatever metric you want to put forth for discussion.
      Does that include my 80 year old girlfriend?
    1. dressedcheeseside's Avatar
      dressedcheeseside -
      Quote Originally Posted by Yukonwreck View Post
      Does that include my 80 year old girlfriend?
      sure Yuk, whatever you say....
    1. dressedcheeseside's Avatar
      dressedcheeseside -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hart View Post
      cheese, I don't need data.
      Thaaaaaat's what I thought.
    1. Jim Hart's Avatar
      Jim Hart -
      Quote Originally Posted by dressedcheeseside View Post
      CPJ is no fool. He's gonna play the guys that he feels will most improve our chances of winning. Conversely, that also means not play the guys that will most likely cause us to lose. It's open competition. He doesn't play favorites. He wants to win, more so, I dare say, than anyone on this board. He's a smart football coach who been around the block and knows how to recognize the level of talent among his players. I completely trust him to put the best available players on the field regardless of age, size, talent, experience or whatever metric you want to put forth for discussion.
      Johnson thought he could have good special teams without a special teams coach even though myself and many on these boards knew two years ago he couldn't. Took him 4 years to figure it out. So the shallow and rubber stamp argument that Johnson always knows what is best doesn't fly anymore..

      Sorry based on the data we have it is not only prudent but imperative we question everything that Paul Johnson does from here on forward.. Johnson has only won 14 of his last 27 games so the days of the rubber stamp and blind faith are over.

      0-4 in bowls and 1-3 including 3 losses in a row to Georgia and 14-13 in the last 27 games including losses to Air Force, Kansas and Utah.. That is perilously close to fool status..
    1. Ugahater715's Avatar
      Ugahater715 -
      I think people make the mistake of assuming that the older players are getting more playing time just based of experience alone. There are a lot more attributes needed to play football then just running fast or having a strong arm.

      I personally think CPJ doesn't care about egos or hurting someone's feelings. I do think he would hesitate playing a true freshmen ahead of a junior or senior if he thinks that freshman will out perform his teammate. I do think however think if he feels that he can get equal production out of either the freshman or an upperclassmen then he plays the Junior/Senior and redshirts the freshmen. Which makes sense.
    1. TECHnician's Avatar
      TECHnician -
      Quote Originally Posted by Yukonwreck View Post
      Interesting, but wrong in this system. Our overall offensive strategy is ball control--for points, for clock management, and to deny the ball from the other team and keep our less than reliable defense on the sidelines. One ill-timed turnover, just one at the wrong time, completely upends that strategy. Snoddy, Thomas, Lee, Perkins,etc., will only play if the coach is supremely confident that they will not contribute to getting us beat. Two words to remember: Zach Laskey.
      I wasn't speaking specifically of the QB position or the offense in general. I'd also like to see what the new DL recruits can do, Kallon and Gotsis specifically, because we seem to be in dire need on the DL.

      My reasoning with the QB position is as follows: This year, a QB that is decent at operating the run game and good at passing with the potential to improve can probably win us just as many games as a QB that is good at operating the run game and mediocre at passing who's hit his ceiling. Add on top of that another year of experience for QB A going into next year, I think leads us to very good opportunites for great seasons the following 3 years. I would like to see what our offense can do with the threat of a legit passing attack.
    1. TECHnician's Avatar
      TECHnician -
      Quote Originally Posted by oldgoldandwhite View Post
      Ask Nick Saban why he never starts a freshman QB?
      Saban has more talent on his scout team than a lot of schools have starting.
    1. dressedcheeseside's Avatar
      dressedcheeseside -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hart View Post
      Johnson thought he could have good special teams without a special teams coach even though myself and many on these boards knew two years ago he couldn't. Took him 4 years to figure it out. So the shallow and rubber stamp argument that Johnson always knows what is best doesn't fly anymore..

      Sorry based on the data we have it is not only prudent but imperative we question everything that Paul Johnson does from here on forward.. Johnson has only won 14 of his last 27 games so the days of the rubber stamp and blind faith are over.

      0-4 in bowls and 1-3 including 3 losses in a row to Georgia and 14-13 in the last 27 games including losses to Air Force, Kansas and Utah.. That is perilously close to fool status..
      You forgot 3rd highest winning percentage in GT history. Anyone can cherry pick stats. Use the ones that support your opinion, conviently leave out the ones that don't. Besides, I never said to trust all things he does, just his ability to pick the best players from his roster. Gee, that's what this thread was supposed to be about.