• Is Paul Johnson Mishandling GT's Young Quarterbacks?

    The past two games have been a big disappointment, but I really do think Paul Johnson is a good coach. He's just outgunned right now, and it's a position he put himself in with the inability to recruit better players. That's a whole other discussion, because that's not what bothered me yesterday. What bothered me the most was how he handled Vad, and to a certain extent Justin Thomas, yesterday. It actually started earlier in the week when he announced to the press that JT would play. I'll get to that later.

    I thought Vad played very well yesterday up to that fumble just outside the redzone, in the first quarter with us up 17-7. We could have been up 24-7, or at least 20-7. Then Johnson put Justin Thomas in and the offense was never the same again. I thought putting Thomas in after Vad turned the ball over, was a huge mistake on two parts. First, and I"m not absolving Vad of fumbling, but you're not reinforcing confidence in a young QB when you pull him right after a fumble, especially when you replace him with a player you've been advertising all week in the presses. I think you put unneeded pressure on a young QB when you do that, and exacerbate it. What bothers me even more, is that it's counter what he said last year, when Vad turned the ball over against UNC:

    Georgia Tech QB Vad Lee is making noise | The Augusta Chronicle

    Johnson stuck with Lee last week after North Carolina’s Tim Scott returned an interception for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

    “The worst thing you could have done was take him out,” Johnson said. “He’s got to go back out there and right the ship and that’s what he did. He went back out there and drove the team back down. That will probably help his development more than anything you could ever say or do, and his confidence.
    Let him right the ship, or atleast give him the chance to...show your QB that one mistake won't get him yanked...you want your QB playing loose and not on edge that the next mistake could get him yanked. Ask Texas and and their line of 5 star QBs that have been treated that way how it works out in the long run. Keep in mind, that was only Vad's 5th start of his career. Yeah Vad came back in, but the message was already sent...whether intentional or not.

    I also thought Johnson dug a deep hole on Vad's last drive, by passing 3 straight times and blamed Vad for his bad play calling and not getting him out of that hole. We had over six minutes left in the game, more than enough time to run our option offense. That's our strength, that's what was moving the ball on Saturday.

    Instead, we passed and passed until Miami knew we had to pass some more to get the first down. Vad did throw a bad pick, and I"m not privy to what CPJ called...obviously he wanted Vad to look to the other side first, but I don't think there was any reason to embarass him on national television and in front of the team by yelling at the top of his lungs. Johnson has got to help Vad out by making that 3rd down easier to convert, by calling plays to move the chains...and not try to pass the ball with so much time left.

    The fact is, there's just not enough talent right now to help Vad when CPJ puts us behind on the down schedule. If CPJ was not pleased with that interception, and he shouldn't have been, it would have been best to just sit Vad down (which he did) and have the nuclear moment during film review. No need to do it to a young QB on national TV.

    As I alluded to earlier, I think a lot of this was set up earlier in the week when CPJ announced that he would play JT against Miami. Why? If you're going to play him, just play him. If you want to send a message, just give JT more reps with the 1st team during practices. We've all played enough sports to know what another person getting more of your reps means. No need to announce it to the press and add unneeded pressure on two young QBs...who are both two of the best QB prospects we've had in a while. It's not fair to Vad, and it's not fair to JT.

    Listen, I think CPJ is one of the good guys in the business. He really does care about the players on and off the field...he's proven that. I just don't think he handled the Vad/JT situation very well last week and during the Miami game. The TV panned to Vad after the interception, and it was like he was radioactive. No teammates were around him, and I just felt really sad for him. CPJ put him in a bad situation, and made it worse by embarrassing him. I hope CPJ learns from it...because I really do think there's a fragile situation developing at the QB position. The last thing we need is a team divided because of who's playing at QB...and if you follow the players on twitter, you've probably already read some stuff about this.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Handling Young QBs started by AllGT View original post
    Comments 30 Comments
    1. stonedwall's Avatar
      stonedwall -
      in the back of my mind, i was concerned CPJ painted himself into a corner earlier this week mentioning JT would play. looks like that happened. though, honestly, i wasn't upset to see JT in. i was curious to see what he had.

      as i reflect upon the game, i feel much the same way, All. there are a lot of frustrated and befuddled coaches and players on this team right now. not good. mentally, i "starred" my calendar about the BYU game this season. something had me thinking it was going to be a pivotal game for our record. now, it takes on a whole new meaning. a win can heal some wounds, right the ship, and have us on the up heading towards a few games we should be very competitive in. it's the first step in what's still a possible 7-2 record heading into clemson. a loss could very well scuttle the season.
    1. gt2690b's Avatar
      gt2690b -
      Now he's in a real pickle as byerly is clearly the best option
    1. HelluvaMGTmjr's Avatar
      HelluvaMGTmjr -
      Quote Originally Posted by gt2690b View Post
      Now he's in a real pickle as byerly is clearly the best option
      Clearly
    1. dressedcheeseside's Avatar
      dressedcheeseside -
      I say give Synjyn another crack at it.
    1. Atllove's Avatar
      Atllove -
      I've lost interest in CPJ, I'll just ride it out until he's gone. What's that another mediocre season at 7-5.
    1. dressedcheeseside's Avatar
      dressedcheeseside -
      Quote Originally Posted by Atllove View Post
      I've lost interest in CPJ, I'll just ride it out until he's gone. What's that another mediocre season at 7-5.
      Well good, see you next year!
    1. Confederatebuzz's Avatar
      Confederatebuzz -
      Thomas is not the answer at backup QB. He's fast as hell, but can't throw well (WAY worse than Vad) and is mediocre on option reads. He's an AB/KR man.
      Byerly is a clear #2.

      Vad needs to work on his ball control and reads.

      BTW It's funny to hear guys complaining about TOO MUCH passing. "I also thought Johnson dug a deep hole on Vad's last drive, by passing 3 straight times and blamed Vad for his bad play calling and not getting him out of that hole." This board poops bricks because we don't throw "enough", then, throw like y'all want, and whine we don't RUN enough!
    1. fireman9100's Avatar
      fireman9100 -
      I agree with this article. I still have my own opinion on matters. For starters, I think the game Saturday was hard to watch after the first half. It seemed like the team was not in rhythm at all. Idk if it was because of the turn over in the first half or if the team just lost all of its confidence. Once they got down. I understand that the QB position is more criticized by any other position on the field. Vad started off strong and I thought he would continue to play that way the whole game, Atleast that's what I was hoping for. But it seems like any time he makes a mistake in a game, he can't recover from it. I agree to put JT in but at that time I felt as though he threw him in at the wrong time. And I felt as though if your gonna put JT in, keep him in. When you keep swapping the QB in and out, the QB and offense loose there rhythm. Not saying JT shouldn't have played in the Miami game. But they should have put him in at a diff time. And I understand about what y'all are saying when the coaches ripped Vad lee a new one by yelling at him. But if I recall, Coach Saban does that all the time to McAaron and he goes right back out and there and performs. You have to have thick skin to play QB at any level whether your a red shirt freshman or senior. If Vad can't over come mistakes in a big game, it's going to be a long year. He's gotta make improvement, if he can't handle the pressure we need to take and alternative route. Yea Justin may not be the biggest guy, but he's a playmaker. I just hope the coaches continue to work with both guys because we def will need them if we want to finish the year in a bowl game atleast
    1. Jpanzer's Avatar
      Jpanzer -
      Vad Lee is Reggie Ball reincarnated. Can't complete a pass when the pressure is on, but can thread the needle when the score is lopsided or the game is meaningless.

      It's time for PJ to go. Things won't get better with him - what you see is ALL you are going to get. A coach unable to think outside his well defined box, a unwillingness to address anything other than offensive problems, and recruits that fall far short of those the best ACC teams get, Even CLEMSON out recruits Tech, and that should tell you something right there about how stagnant GT has become under Johnson...
    1. lxUn1c0's Avatar
      lxUn1c0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Confederatebuzz View Post
      Byerly is a clear #2.
      Why? Because he ran in it for a TD in garbage time against Miami's reserves?

      JT still needs time in the system, but he can make more plays than Byerly can.
    1. lxUn1c0's Avatar
      lxUn1c0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jpanzer View Post
      Vad Lee is Reggie Ball reincarnated.
      Quality first post. Hyperbolic, unreasonable, and reactionary. I see you're going for the trifecta. I'll agree with you if and when Vad earns a nickname like "5th Down Reggie."
    1. Kenny P.'s Avatar
      Kenny P. -
      He needs to get an offensive coordinator with a play chart upstairs! Mark Richt did it and it worked a lot better.
    1. RamblinWreck92's Avatar
      RamblinWreck92 -
      I don't see how judgment can be passed on JT. The guy's body of work has about 2 paragraphs on the 1st page.

      If Lee can stop putting the ball on the ground, we'll win more games. Surely CPJ is having all the QBs go thru Fumble Drills or something, right?

      Hell, someone call Tiki Barber. That cat used to fumble all the time and had a real career turnaround near the end of his where he rarely fumbled at all. WTH did Coughlin do to cure Fumbleitis?
    1. bcaff's Avatar
      bcaff -
      I actually thought that CPJ for the way he handled the Vad/Tevin situation last year, even though everyone else was saying he should've been fired for it. I do agree when CPJ said "that will probably help his development more than anything you could ever say or do, and his confidence". I think he should have stuck to his word and kept Vad in after the fumble. I think it did end up hurting his confidence after he started out playing really well. Maybe he thought Vad was a little bit more mature to handle the situation. He's still only 20 years old. That's really young. Look how Mark Sanchez (26 years old) handled the situation with Tim Tebow.
    1. Jim Hart's Avatar
      Jim Hart -
      Vad and JT both could have already known that JT would play at the point in the game that he did. Coaches will often determine that the back-up will play a particular series and let the starter and back-up know in a advance. If that was indeed the case, then I don't think it would have affected Vad's confidence one iota, since he would have known before the game that he wasn't going to play the series that turned out to be the one after his fumble.

      I don't have any evidence to back that up, but there's no evidence that he didn't know in advance that he wasn't running the series after the fumble.
    1. fireman9100's Avatar
      fireman9100 -
      Quote Originally Posted by lxUn1c0 View Post
      Why? Because he ran in it for a TD in garbage time against Miami's reserves?

      JT still needs time in the system, but he can make more plays than Byerly can.
      Completely agree with this statement. JT has barely played this year. He hasn't been able to play multiple series in a game yet. So we only got a small glimpse of his elusiveness. I think if PJ plays him more and get his confidence up he can possible turn this O around
    1. InsideLB's Avatar
      InsideLB -
      Another outstanding, articulately written and very plausible post by AllGT. Well done sir.

      Just to have a discussion--and not because I believe what I'm writing here--I'm going to play devil's advocate:

      First it could be precisely as Johnson said. Maybe Justin had a great week of practice, earned PT, and they decided ahead of time he'd play the fourth drive or whatever ahead of time. That Vad fumbled the previous drive may have been completely coincidental. If it was pre-ordained Vad shouldn't have had a loss of confidence.

      It also may have been that Miami adjusted well after our first few drives and it had nothing to do with Justin coming in for a series.

      But let's say it wasn't pre-ordained and it wasn't anything different Miami did.

      You have a guy in Vad who was coming off of less than stellar outings vs UNC and definitely vs VT. Justin didn't play in either game and wasn't a threat to be put in. Maybe Johnson said "ok, this isn't working what can I do to bring the best in Vad....well, Justin's been playing well in practice. Maybe when Vad screws up I'll pull him for Justin and let him watch a series. This isn't last year when the Vad was a rs-fr. He's played. He should be able to take it and maybe it'll bring out the competitor in him". Spurrier used to pull guys like this a fair bit and it seemed to mostly work for him.

      Point is, we don't really know what the thought process was or how it all went down.

      But I also think what AllGT has wondered about could well be accurate. Maybe we'll learn more during the week.
    1. lxUn1c0's Avatar
      lxUn1c0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hart View Post
      Vad and JT both could have already known that JT would play at the point in the game that he did. Coaches will often determine that the back-up will play a particular series and let the starter and back-up know in a advance. If that was indeed the case, then I don't think it would have affected Vad's confidence one iota, since he would have known before the game that he wasn't going to play the series that turned out to be the one after his fumble.
      I disagree. The fact that he knew it was coming doesn't mean it couldn't have hurt his confidence. When he left the game, he had just fumbled the ball on the first drive of the second quarter with a 17-7 lead. When he finally got another chance to lead a drive, it was tied up at 17 after halftime. Even if he knew it was coming on the fourth drive of the game, the feeling of coming out of the game on that note is going to be negative. I would have given him another drive to get it out of his head and told JT he would get the next one, but that's just my opinion. Having that long to mull over a turnover is going to hurt a young QB's confidence.
    1. Ga Tech Navy Nuke's Avatar
      Ga Tech Navy Nuke -
      I think it was a planned time to take him out - after the Miami D had established their tendencies. Before the game I thought it should be a planned drive to switch. We won't know unless CPJ says what he was thinking. But a planned switch time is the best way for both QBs to adjust.

      If it's not a planned time, there are pitfalls either way. Either CPJ takes Vad out after he scores, in which case everyone says Vad was doing great so why take him out. Or CPJ takes Vad out after a screw-up / stalled drive, in which case everyone says don't take him out and hurt the poor boy's confidence.

      I think Vad can take it. Otherwise he doesn't have a future as a great QB. Vad just needs to learn and screwing up and coming back is part of the learning process.
    1. HelluvaMGTmjr's Avatar
      HelluvaMGTmjr -
      Nobody asked this during the CPJ call in show?