Tech’s Johnson ranks with the greatest

If I had to go to a football game — and I’ll say this with all honesty — I’d pick one in which Paul Johnson is coaching. This is not some overnight observation. This comes from a guy who has seen Neyland, Dodd, Blaik, Wade and Lombardi coach, not to mention having sat for hours with Bob Zuppke. You know, the guy who coached Red Grange at Illinois.

Of course, they’re all gone now, so I’m left with the new fella at Georgia Tech, like it or not. I bring this up after an evening of watching him on “white-out night” Thursday — and let me add, that I despise mid-week night football games. This may or may not appeal in the least to the present-day students in the stands.

(Though, did you notice that during the Georgia Tech-Clemson game, a synchronized cheer of “Fight, fight, fight” broke out in the quite intelligent home-team section? That’s old-time Ivy League stuff that you don’t hear any more, drowned out by that dreadful pregame ear-splitting stuff.)

On the subject of coaching, I will surmise that this was not one of Johnson’s scientific highlights. His Yellow Jackets athletes had rumbled along to a 24-0 lead then went into a mental fog.

Sort of the same affliction that struck them in the opening game with Jacksonville State, no powerhouse but bothersome. One of those touchdowns scored against Clemson totally addled a lot of us. We looked up and the place-kicker, Scott Blair, a junior from Calhoun, was actually throwing the football to Demaryius Thomas, better known as “Bay-Bay,” for a touchdown, and looked quite comfortable at it. That gave Tech a lead of 24-0, and that looked rather well-invested.

Johnson’s athletes must have felt the same way, for they began to bumble and bobble about. And — get this — they never scored again until the fourth quarter, by which time Clemson had taken charge, 27-24.

Keep this in mind, since Tommy Bowden took leave last season, the Tigers have re-tooled their coaching staff. An assistant named Dabo Swinney, unfamiliar to most of us, but an Alabama alum, took his place, and surprising to some, was eventually cemented in place. He hired a young and rather promising offensive coordinator named Billy Napier, and it was Napier’s offense that pummeled the Jackets before Johnson could stem the tide, as they say.

It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t slick. It was all done by Blair and his field goals. Tech never scored another touchdown. After Napier and his offense took the lead, 27-24, Blair tied the score from 34 yards out, then kicked the deciding field goal from 36 yards in the last minute, and color came back in the faces of all those people dressed in white. The next problem was traffic.

Johnson had thrilled them, but not as planned. On the other hand, the Tiger folk got a thrill of their own. More to come from Dabo Swinney, who admires Mack Brown so openly that he went to Texas and sat at Mack’s feet for hours, learning how to be like Mack Brown. I’d say, he’s off to a good start.

As for Tech, I’d suppose that those kids will be spending more time in the football lab before they get to Miami.

197 comments Add your comment


September 15th, 2009
2:24 pm

When he wins something you can decide his legacy at that point. He was even out coached in the bowl game against LSU.


September 15th, 2009
2:42 pm

dap01, I’m cool with numbers…. apparently, all the mutt fans care about are 10 win seasons and how many seats they can fill up. Add some national championships and THEN talk about numbers….the ones that matter! In the end, the uga legacy is nothing more than a whole lot of people watching them NOT win national championships. As you’ve stated….”Numbers don’t lie”! GO TECH!!!


September 15th, 2009
4:15 pm

macro you don’t know the truth.


September 15th, 2009
4:31 pm

superDawg, I KNOW that some mutts can’t HANDLE the truth. Point out ANYTHING that I’ve stated and give me an argument suggesting otherwise. Perhaps, we can find the truth together. GO TECH!!!


September 16th, 2009
5:27 am

What has Paul Johnson ever won?

BS Patrol

September 16th, 2009
7:25 am

@ Shane,
Answer: 2 National Titles, Won 1st attempt against ga.
Question: What has Marky Richt done vs.CPJ since high school? Or ever for that matter?

Paul's Johnson

September 16th, 2009
9:42 am

ONE…..count it…ONE season as a Div. 1 head coach, and now PJ ranks among the greatest? Jeez, Furman, I have enjoyed your columns now for decades, but this is just too much. How about waiting until he at least wins the ACC before you crown him Lord of all, huh?


September 16th, 2009
10:57 am

I’m surprised Furman knew Lombardi was dead–remember when he asked Cal Ripken how his dead dad was doing?


September 16th, 2009
10:58 am

Enter your comments here


September 16th, 2009
1:44 pm

Its early to say he is one of the greatest. I think Bobby and Joe Pa have something to say and let’s see how Johnson’s offense does this season. It takes more than 1 season to make a great coach, but I will say he has had a great start with his Navy career and 1 decent season at Tech. Va Tech still won the ACC last year. Its too early to call.


September 16th, 2009
2:18 pm

You’re a hell of an engineer, Bisher…intellectually dishonest Tech homer that you are, I actually applaud you due to the fact that our little brothers from North Ave. need a little attention from the media as well. Keep up the good fight.


September 16th, 2009
2:44 pm

Charles, all that hate is going to eat you up. Little brothers?! Ok…. little brothers have more national championships than our, repeated disappointment of a big brother team!


September 16th, 2009
3:05 pm

Paul Johnson is a very classy coach, and is definitely up there with the best! Im not gonna comment on good ole Richt, Im not too fond of him, he is a cheeseball who spends way too much time in a tanning bed, who is that tan (or should I say Orange lol) in December other that an ooompa loompa?


September 16th, 2009
3:08 pm

Shane, dont get me started you lil buttt smoocher, Paul Johnson has had huge success at every school he has coached, and a few national titles. LOL@Ricky, you aint kidding about Mark Rickt looking like an oompa looompa, hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!


September 16th, 2009
4:07 pm

Bisher, when are you going to retire? The only thing you write that is enjoyable is your Thanksgiving article.


September 16th, 2009
5:07 pm

You can’t be serious. You should have retired about 30 years ago. Take off those yellow glasses your are always wearing. LSU would beat the snot out of Tec 99 out of 100 times. I laugh every time I read your column. (once a year).

Frank Scoby

September 16th, 2009
5:53 pm

Dawg fans are apparently still upset with Mr. Bisher for his involvement with the Saturday Evening Post article regarding the back-to-back phone calls that womanizing drunk, Wally Butts, made to me and Coach Bryant….

“Dery’s article also talks about another story asserting that Bryant had been getting scouting reports from former Georgia coach Wally Butts. Butts was an infamous alcoholic and womanizer who’d been forced from his job as head coach at Georgia due to both his off the field antics and his inability to win games. Butts was known to spend weekends in Atlanta getting drunk and hopping from one unseemly night club to another with young women half his age.

Believe it or not, that was not acceptable back then.

Dery continued, saying allegedly bitter over his treatment, Butts was accused of giving inside information to Bryant that helped Alabama destroy his former team. The primary source of this accusation was an Atlanta businessman named George Burnett who claimed to have overheard a conversation wherein Butts spoke to Bear Bryant at length giving him very specific details about what Georgia would do and how he would best be able to counter their movements.

Bryant and Butts denied the charges, suing The Saturday Evening Post for libel. Butts won his case. Bryant settled out of court. The Post tried to appeal Butts’ victory but the appeal was denied and The Post ultimately printed a half-hearted retraction.

Dery states there is ample evidence to suggest that Burnett’s story was true. Butts phone records for the day Burnett claimed to have overheard the two coaches talking included two long distance calls that corresponded to the exact time Burnett claims Butts was in his office speaking with Bryant.

The first was to Frank Scoby, a well-known Chicago gambler who admitted to betting on college football games and described himself as a “compulsive gambler.” Immediately after speaking with Scoby, Butts called Bear Bryant and spoke with him for over an hour.”

GT Facts

September 16th, 2009
10:35 pm

Funny Frank! What about good old Bobby as a drunk Tennessee red neck gambler who had to be “helped” by the GT Alumni because he “lost” all of his money. At the end of Bobby’s life, he was pretty destitute because of his famous gambling losses.

Chew on that Frank!

Dog Town Bulldog

September 16th, 2009
11:25 pm

Mr Bisher, I’ve been reading the ajc so long I remember when it was the aj and the ac. Hudspeth and Grizzard on the sports pages. I remember the writer being shot (can’t remember his name), while at a Braves game. You’ve aged well, sir. Keep it up

Denver Dog

September 17th, 2009
12:22 am

I;ll have what Furman is smoking


September 17th, 2009
9:45 am


Think I’d prefer to just read your article in the future and not the follow-on comments from the peanut gallery.

A suggestion only …. cut the blog, silence the bozos !

Coach BoBo

September 17th, 2009
3:45 pm

VeryOldMutt – You represent UGA as expected. I’m sure they are very proud of you (not).

You Are a Moron!

Coach BoBo

September 17th, 2009
3:49 pm

Keith – Johnson is already a much better coach than Richt


September 17th, 2009
4:26 pm

mr bisher wait unto coach johnson had done what georgia football caoch had done then say he is the one of the best unto till doe,s that he not in top 100

[...] main reason for backing the Jackets tonight is the man on the sideline, Paul Johnson.  Tech partisans already have annoited him. But,  they might have a point considering he has been good enough to go an amazing 51-30 ATS [...]


September 17th, 2009
6:48 pm

miami 35 ga tech 17 all you tech don.t cry your eyes out tech fan sink


September 17th, 2009
7:49 pm

Perhaps the most hyperbolic, over the top drivel ever penned. Doesn’t he have someone who loves him? If he did, they would have stepped in and explained to him how this would only further discredit him, which at this point is tough to do. Really, it is time to pull the plug on this hack. I am sure he can land the SID gig at Tech and actually earn honest pay for being the shill that he has been for decades.


September 17th, 2009
8:47 pm

please excuse Mr Bisher he is still in rehab of alcoholism and drug addiction! Mr Bisher shouldnt have written this crap while being treated


September 17th, 2009
9:36 pm

I love the fact that GT is getting their arses whooped tonight…I am tired of you nerds running your mouths….stick to golden tee, football is not your expertise!!!!

Tech sucks

September 17th, 2009
11:07 pm

hahahah. Hey Saint Simons. Scoreboard.

God Tech sucks. They should be 1-2 if the refs didn’t hand them the game against Clemson.

Johnson has been figured out in little over a year.

It’s all downhill from here nerds.

Furman Jr.

September 17th, 2009
11:28 pm

This is the most comical junk I have ever read. A high school offense that gets exposed every time a team has a strong defensive line is not coaching greatness. Ask UM, LSU, Virginia, VT or N Carolina if they think they would swap coaches with Tech. I promise this list will grow as the year goes on.


September 17th, 2009
11:39 pm

bisher i told you thatcoach johnson was not one of the top 100 way to hurricane by way georgia tech how feed to be in a hurricane


September 17th, 2009
11:56 pm

The greatest huh. Maybe the greatest dickhead coaches based on what I saw Thursday night.

Furman Bisher

September 17th, 2009
11:58 pm

Oh, the coach call a player stupid…. Bobby Dodd would have never done than and I still don’t like Bear Bryant.

Are you that Stupid????

September 18th, 2009
12:05 am

Good call Furman, his team looked great tonight and he showed his rearend on national TV.

Habersham Dawg

September 18th, 2009
12:26 am

After having re-read Furman’s column again, this is for my fellow Dawgs who are giving him hell. So what if he’s a Tech Homer. I’ve personally never read a column of his that was UGA hating. In his column he stated what he’d prefer to see, with not one syllable of UGA bashing. Leave off and save your venom for m and Saint Simons and the other Buggamites that deserve it.

Old Dawg

September 18th, 2009
12:48 am

Bisher you are an ACC “homer”. Hope you enjoyed 33-17.

Sarasota 'cane

September 18th, 2009
5:06 am

Funny how you fools pump that Rambling Wreck for beating FOUR OF THE WORST TEAMS IN MIAMI HISTORY! What do you have to say now that UM just beat ONE OF THE BEST TEAMS IN GT HISTORY?

Johnson is one of the best coaches ever?????? Child Please!!!

Go ‘canes!


September 18th, 2009
6:35 am

He looked really great against Miami……… 33-17 What has he done?

J Dwyer

September 18th, 2009
7:00 am

Coach “are you stupid” Johnson and I really laid a huge stink bomb last night. I now officially withdraw my candidacy from the Heisman race.


September 18th, 2009
7:22 am

Thanks for a rambling, baseless, pointless article.

Even Miami could not draw 50,000. Must be a Tech attendance curse.

Tech draws like this blog draws.

Saint Simon

September 18th, 2009
7:27 am

Stupid?Was somebody talking to me?


September 18th, 2009
7:59 am

I think Miami showed how great CPJ is last night! HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


September 18th, 2009
8:08 am

Ha Ha you talk about over rated what a coach ???????


September 18th, 2009
8:16 am

Johnson’s high school offense no longer works. Once the D-line penetrates the O-line, it breaks the timing. After you see it once you know how to defend it.


September 18th, 2009
8:23 am

Tech’s Johnson ranks with the best!? No, Tech’s Johnson is RANK! Our team is average at best.


September 18th, 2009
8:26 am

I just read this column after the beat down inflicted by Miami; it’s laughable that this man is still allowed to voice his opinion in the AJC! A year and 1 game into bigboy football and the old coot (Bisher) is declaring Johnson an all time great?! If any dawg fans had any reservations about where the old coot’s loyalty lies this article should be confirmation. I didn’t know he worked a deal with Dodd to give his the “hookup” on a free scholarship (thanx Old Dawg). If you want to see how scandalous this guy is, google Bear Bryant’s autobiography and type in Furman Bisher and Wally Butts. He is the true definition of a scoundrel.


September 18th, 2009
8:46 am

Paul Johnson….one of the greatest?????? That has to be one of the most idiotic statements I’ve heard in a long time! I wouldn’t even rank him as one of the best Ga. Tech coaches ever. What has he done??????? Nothing close to being compared to the great ones….not even in the same breath…….I don’t care who you have seen coach……If you rank Paul Johnson as one of the best coaches ever……Than your football IQ is in the damn gutters…! These Ga. Tech fans………….and that offense isn’t going to win any championships in the big boy league… that tells you right there that Johnson is a nut….He better take that back to Ga. Southern or to the slow footed military schools……oh yea Miami just proved my point…….lol!


September 18th, 2009
8:49 am

Look in sports illustrated’s vault at the 8/29/66 issue starting on page 28. That article has some of what UGA91 is talking about.

coach smith

September 18th, 2009
8:56 am

What a JOKE of an article this is (even before the Miami game)

I think Tech is at a crossroads now. They can suck it up and have a decent season or self destruct.

If I was a Tech fan, I’d be concerned about some of the post game comments from players AND that your Coach Johnson was caught calling a player “Stupid” on the sidelines

I think Tech could easily go 7-5 with losses to UM, VaTech, FlaSt, UGA, and to one of the 3 teams Vandy, MissSt, UNC