Fans often times set too high of standards for their coaches and their teams. However, I believe that Georgia Tech fans are completely in the right when they say that Paul Johnson must go. Georgia Tech has a great history of football, including the oldest on-campus stadium and the 1990 national championship. The Yellow Jackets have produced some great athletes who have gone on to excel in the NFL. Fans of the Buzz should not have to settle for what Johnson is currently giving them right now. Before Johnson was hired in 2008, Chan Gailey was the coach for Georgia Tech from 2002-07. The administration was not happy with the progression of the football program, therefore he was dismissed and the university bought out his contract.
Say what you will about Gailey, but you cannot tell me that Johnson is a better coach than him. Gailey could recruit and develop talent with the best of them, and had offensive players like P.J. Daniels, Calvin Johnson, Kerry Watkins and Tashard Choice. His offense was more of a basic offense, as opposed to the tricky triple offense that Johnson runs. But for the past few seasons, it has not been the offense that is the main problem. The defense is why Georgia Tech is off to a 3-3 start and currently on a three-game losing streak.
When Gailey was coaching, he produced talent on defense and always brought enormous amounts of pressure on the quarterback. Georgia Tech always had a tough defense, and opposing offenses would have to plan around their hard-hitting defense; that is no longer the case in Atlanta. Johnson coaches as if he does not even believe in defense, and their record has proven that theory; Gailey produced All-ACC defensive players like Phillip Wheeler, KaMichael Hall and Kenny Scott. The Georgia Tech defense now does not produce any good talent and refuses to stop opposing offenses. Since winning the ACC in 2009, the Yellow Jackets have finished 6-7, 8-5 and 7-7. Johnson is just simply not winning enough football games and their defense is a big reason for that.
Another reason why Tech fans are upset with Johnson is because he cannot win bowl games. Johnson is just 1-4 in bowl games since being at Georgia Tech, with the lone win coming last year against a USC team that had no interest in playing in that game. The Jackets were actually 6-7 and needed a special request from the ACC to even be eligible for a bowl game last season. This could very well be Johnson’s last season in Atlanta, but the university would have to buy out his contract, which will not be cheap.
Georgia Tech started of 6-0 in 2011, before stumbling to a 8-5 final record. The football program is regressing and Johnson has to be the one to blame. Recruiting for that offense has to be impossible, because no one wants to go play in an offense that does not translate at all into the NFL. With Clemson and Georgia still on the schedule for Georgia Tech, it looks like another 6-6 season might be coming again.
Travis Patterson, Writer For ACC Rantsports.com. Follow on Twitter @tpat20. https://twitter.com/tpat20