• The Rise and Fall of Paul Johnson

    I don't revise history, I wanted Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson and it started so well. There was magic in 2008 and 2009. Win over UGA, breaking the long losing streak against FSU, ACC title, first Orange Bowl appearance in 43 years.

    I don't think Johnson was a bad hire . Look at the alternatives: Neuheisel (Already fired), Tenuta (Fizzled post GT), Edsall (Losing record at MD), Hatcher (Yikes!) and Muschamp (Seat will be hot if he loses to UGA again).

    Now, the countdown has begun. We may go 7-5 this year, but the wheels come off next year when we lose our two best defensive players and a number of players on both the offensive and defensive lines. I think Bobinski burns a year off his contract by keeping him through 2014. Then it is over.

    What went wrong? Like anything else, there are a number of reasons.

    DC Hires - I don't know if you can totally blame PJ for this one. There are rumors PJ wanted to bring in Ellis Johnson, but Rad said he was too expensive. When you hire at a discount, you get Dave Wommack. I was never sure what Wommack wanted to do defensively. His pregame plans were not good. He seemed shocked that UGA in 2009 without AJ Green. would try to run the ball. I liked the Groh hire, but he was clueless against the spread offense. That showed in 2012 when he got schooled by a Sun Belt coach who had won two games the previous years. The jury is out on Roof. It's really not fair to judge him based on six games with players recruited for a 3-4 set.

    Sewak - I don't if he's the worst offensive line coach in the country, but he's on the short list. He knows only one thing and that is stay low. Nothing about pass blocking or blitz pick up. I've never seen Tech's line get blown up in games the way it has under Sewak. The bad part is this has been one of the better areas of recruiting.

    Loss of Giff - I get amused when people talk about "Gailey's Recruits". Look at the 2005 and 2006 classes and tell me how good they were. Recruiting improved in 2007 when Giff took over. We actually did pretty good in 2008 considering the coaching change. Once Giff left, recruiting suffered. McCollum is a good coach, but he seems to have a diamond in the rough mentality like when he was at MTSU. Giff wasn't afraid to go head to head against Garner and UGA.

    NFL Mentality - My first ut-oh moment on recruiting came when a QB committed to NC State over Georgia Tech. He was a 47% passer in high school but said he was going to NC State because it gave him a chance to play on Sundays. This guy couldn't complete half his passes against DC's that were full time teachers on part time coaches but thought he could go against NFL DC's. Of course the whole notion is a crock. Do you think Dwyer goes in the 6th round if he runs a 4.4 40 instead of a 4.6? Also, a number of Oklahoma wishbone players were drafted in the first round. While the notion isn't true, recruits do believe it and it has hurt recruiting at Tech.

    Dontae Aycock - Not because PJ pulled his offer. He was going de-commit anyways. Aycock was going to be PJ's Tracy Ham at Tech. Aycock looked like he was throwing a basketball but he was as smooth as silk on the option. The bad part is that his heart was at Tech but his brother talked him into going to Auburn saying that was the fast track to the NFL. He was gone from Auburn in less than a year and neither him or PJ have been the same since.

    Tevin Washington - When PJ was at Navy, he was asked why Navy had lost so many in a row to Notre Dame. PJ said he didn't have a single player on his team that had a letter of interest from Notre Dame, much less an offer. So why did PJ think he could win the ACC with a Navy QB? Tevin is a good guy who did the right things off the field. On the field, he had too many deer in the headlight moments and was over-matched against better talent. He put up big numbers against weaker teams, but in 3 OT games he led us to a total of 3 points. I heard PJ defend Tevin in his radio show. It was about how good of a guy he was and not a defense of his QB skills. The bad part is we could have found out more about what Vad could and could not do in 2012.

    Lack of QB coaching - Nesbitt wasn't pinpoint accurate, but he did throw it pretty well in 2009. His passing was responsible for the Mississippi State win and he hit big passes in other games. In 2010, he regressed even before his injury. Early in 2012, I saw Vad show great pocket presence and make good throws. Toward the end of 2012, he was under-throwing receivers. In 2013, he is throwing off his back foot and can't seem to make a hot read. Our QB's always seem to go backwards in the passing game.

    PJ has lost something off his fastball - I don't see the great game day coach of 2008 and 2009. PJ seemed to find ways to get the big points when needed. You felt confident that if the defense could get stops the offense would take command in the second half. Now, there seem to be no game adjustments. It is try the same thing over and over again. Against Miami and BYU, Tech scored 30 first half points. If you take out two meaningless drives against second-teamers, Tech scored a total of 6 second half points. Against BYU, Tech ran a reverse that got a first down and it may have been a TD if a receiver doesn't miss a block. Why did it take 3 games to do that against 3 blitz happy pursuit-oriented teams?