Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets head football coach Paul Johnson believes his team is better than their record, the perception could be different if a few plays had gone differently, and it’s not time to panic in Atlanta.
Johnson expounded on the difficult season thus far in his weekly press conference.
“Certainly, the year has not gone the way that we would have liked or envisioned to this point,” he said. “But sometimes, it happens.”
While talking about the negative, the coach pointed out that the team has led in most losses, citing in the inability to finish rather than being outclassed by ACC opponents.
“It’s not like we’ve rolled out there and gotten steamrolled by people,” he said. “We just haven’t finished and haven’t won the game.” He also said “you can make a really good case that we had a great chance” to beat both Virginia Tech and Miami. Georgia Tech had fourth quarter leads in both contests.
“If you win those two games, you’re probably looking at a whole different scenario,” he said. “But if if’s and but’s were candy and nuts … We didn’t get it done. And sometimes that happens. I don’t think you panic and throw the baby out with the bathwater all because you didn’t (finish).”
While Johnson is correct in most of his assessment of his football team, it hides the underlying theme for the Yellow Jackets: The program isn’t improving.
While Johnson does have the best winning percentage (.650) from a coach at Tech since 1967, you can make the case that the program is going backwards at this point. In Johnson’s first two seasons at the helm — when his Triple Option attack caught the entire conference off guard — GT won 20 games. They’ve won 17 total since 2009.
The black mark on this regime has been bowl losses — four consecutive in the Johnson era — but at 3-5, the Yellow Jackets are unlikely to even reach one to lose this time around.
If the firing of defensive coordinator Al Groh was a crossroads for this football team, the three games leading up to the season ending tilt at Georgia feel like a program turning point. If Paul Johnson can’t turn this season around against Maryland, North Carolina, and Duke, the finale at Georgia — a dark horse BCS Title contender — could put the AD and President of Georgia Tech into a tricky situation heading into the off-season.
Paul Johnson doesn’t think it’s time to panic. It just might be.