Johnson’s most frustrating issue this season

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said the most frustrating thing about this 6-5 season is his inability “to find the hot button on this team.”

He said finding ways to motivate his players has been consistently difficult.

“People can cry about schemes and play-calling, but the chemistry and just being able to do that [motivate] are just as important,” Johnson said.

This week shouldn’t be an issue.

“It’s for the state championship and bragging rights,” he said. “Pick one game off our schedule for alumni, fans and everyone involved, this is the game they would pick.”

He said that he and his staff have tried many different things this season, from the obvious and popular what’s at stake for Tech to what’s at stake for the other team.

“Try everything until you find something that works,” he said.

When asked what motivated last year’s ACC championship team, he said, “If I knew I would use it this year. I don’t know. It just happens.

“I’m more frustrated about that than anything else.”

Motivating teams hasn’t been difficult for Johnson at previous stops at Navy at Georgia Southern.

Discussing this topic last week, Johnson said at Navy the players knew that they weren’t highly recruited. Therefore, “if they didn’t play like their hair was on fire,” they could be embarrassed.

At Georgia Southern, the players didn’t want to be the class that didn’t get a chance to make it to the national championship game. They won two consecutive while Johnson was the head coach.

206 comments Add your comment

Doug the Jacket

November 24th, 2010
5:18 am

Bring Back Chan

November 24th, 2010
5:44 am

Three years in we should not be having these problems. At a certain point you have to admit the problem is not the attitude of the players, but the ineptitude of the coaching staff. This team has shown zero improvement throughout the season.

Chan never lost 7 games. Can’t wait to see which podunk school gets to shut our option down cold in the bowl game.


November 24th, 2010
6:00 am

It’s all about Team Leadership. As CPJ continues to recruit his style of players the chemistry will evolve. Be patient, & we will see a passion & determination to win that will dominate the ACC for years to come. Go Jackets!



November 24th, 2010
6:08 am

It is only a matter of time and we will be fine

JJ Red Panties

November 24th, 2010
6:25 am

I am all about CPJ, but IF this happens next year, then we will need to look closer at this. But I am confident that this too shall pass. Go Jackets!!!!!! THWG!!!!!!


November 24th, 2010
6:25 am

Bring back Chan……he will be available soon. He had better take the first opportunity offered after he is fired in Buffalo. His career is now rounding 3rd and headed for home!


November 24th, 2010
6:25 am

I do not respect a man that blames others for his failures.

My guess is that his players feel the same way.

Mike Lum

November 24th, 2010
6:41 am

I still don’t know why the players think they can walk on the field and beat the opponent. Johnson is right. I would be embarrassed to play in the Shreveport bowl. But just watch, the players will be smiling and waving at the camera…then get shut down by another lesser opponent.


November 24th, 2010
6:53 am

“Georgia Tech’s seniors have one goal left to accomplish. They’ve won a conference championship. They’ve beaten Georgia. They’ve played in a BCS game. But they’ve yet to win a bowl.”

Doug Roberson, you HOMER.

That is Georgia tek’s seniors’ goal ? To have beaten Coach Richt 1 time in 9 years. Been there done that; don’t need to win the Georgia game, nope – not according to Doug Roberson.

Georgia tek’s seniors have also accomplish another goal for Georgia tek – to have won a Major Bowl game in the last 55 years. Went to a BCS bowl game was their only goal in this area. Been there, done that too, according to HOMER Doug Roberson. Winning the miserable ACC then got blown out by 2 opponents to end the season.

[...] this is humorous: Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said the most frustrating thing about this 6-5 season [...]


November 24th, 2010
7:04 am

re: GraysonBuz

Your claims of CPJ needing to bring in more of “his guys” is a very weak claim, in 08 & 09 he didn’t have more of his guys around, in fact his current Roster has about 66-68 of his guys (his “hand-picked Recruits) filling the 85 schollys, that is a huge majority of the 85 scholarships that he’s allowed, with that Majority on his Roster, it is very hard to convince me and many other “non Kool-aid Drinkers” that the problem is with the players not being able to be motivated.

Quite simply the problem is TALENT, or the fact that CPJ has not Recruited enough replacement-talent from we we have lost from the 08 & 09 Teams.

During 09 & 09 not one GT fan anywhere ever said a darn thing about “we need more CPJ-type guys on the Roster”, no one cared becasue we were putting a decent amount of talent on the field.

Dwyer, Burnett, Morgan, Nesbitt all played very BIG as TRUE SOPHS., nonw compare that to CPJ’s T-Sophs, & RS-Frs. and you will see a gigantic talent drop-off.

For that have been overdosing on CPJ’s Kool-aid, one way to tell that your Recruiting is weak is the play of your Special Teams, great Special Teams play shows that gap between Starters & Back-ups is small and that those Athletes are ready to Step-in in case a Starter goes down, CPJ’s teams have had very weak Special Teams on the Coverage & Return Units which shows that the Athletes that he has Signed are not ready Athletically for D1-A BCS-Level CFB.

Once again all the BLAME falls at the feet of CPJ, yet he continues to throw his players under the bus.

I’m not a Chan supporter because he could never get us a decent passing QB, but if Chan said the same things that CPJ has said in the Media about his players, he would have been crucified by the GT Fanbase, the GT Fanbase seems to like smug, smarmy comments more than they do good Coaching on the sidelines, and GOOD RECRUITING in the Off-Season, thing that CPJ HAS NOT delivered this season.


November 24th, 2010
7:06 am

Is the honeymoon over for the “new sheriff in town”?


November 24th, 2010
7:22 am

re: Spike

Not yet Spike, the GT Fanbase is one of the most unknowing when it comes to CFB, and that is why we end up hiring guys like Chan and CPJ in the first place.

ADs at big-time BCS Programs know how important Recruiting is, and very rarely do they hire guys that cannot Recruit.

By the time the “reality” sets in to the Kool-aid drinking segment of the GT Fanbase that loves CPJ he will have signed 5-6 recruiting Classes and by that time we’ll have Service Academy CFB at GT, then the Kool-Aid drinkers will wake up and wonder what the heck was GT thinking whe nthey hired that guy.


November 24th, 2010
7:22 am

Are you people serious? Chan Gailey? Chan was neither a great recruiter nor a great motivator. Look at his career. He’s been mediocre everywhere he’s been (including at Tech, Dallas, Miami, Buffalo, etc.). He’s reputed to be some sort of great offensive guru, but his record doesn’t support that claim. If we recruited well when he was at Tech, it was more likely one or more of his assistants that did the recruiting (Giff?).

Everyone is reacting to his quotes that he is throwing players and coaches under the bus. I haven’t read any quote where he’s called out a player or coach by name. The way that I read the quotes about motivation, he’s admitting that motivation is a problem and that he’s responsible for finding a way to motivate these kids…which Gailey never saw as his responsibility.

I’m as disappointed with this season as ANY Tech fan/alumni, but the carping at this point is ridiculous.


November 24th, 2010
7:34 am

Wrex.. Thanks for the heads-up!


November 24th, 2010
7:36 am

Wrex, if the AJC likes smug, smarmy comments, you’re right up their alley. Georgia Tech’s Jane Fonda. PJ holds his players accountable, his coaches accountable and himself accountable.


November 24th, 2010
8:04 am

chan, never won 11 and never went 9-4. plus he lost more bowl games than he won u who want chan back must be ga fans


November 24th, 2010
8:07 am

re: InsectInside

Has CPJ held himself accountable for his Recruiting efforts over the past 3 Classes?

Once you Recruit them, you have come with something better than “they didn’t execute” after those same Recruits don’t play well.

Just maybe CPJ’s “we-don’t-need-any-passes-other-than-jump-balls” Passing Game won’t work at the higher levels of CFB unless you have a 6-3 230lb. 4.4-forty once-in-a-coaching-career physical specimen like Bay-Bay?

Did CPJ ever consider that on Offense the TE vs. LB is one of the GREATEST advantages at the higher levels of FB (BCS & NFL) in the passing Game YET he still won’t Recruit any TEs and refuses to have any Offensive Sets that require a TE?

These are the kinds of question that the CPJ Kool-Aid drinkers won’t discuss, and those that do “know a little FB” that ask such questions are deemed to be “negative GT fans” of “Mutts in disguise”.

Please prove to me where I am being unfair in any way to CPJ?


November 24th, 2010
8:10 am

why are my posts not getting through?????


November 24th, 2010
8:14 am

Chan Gailey was neither a great recruiter nor a great motivator. Yes, we got some great players during his time at Tech, but I doubt that it was solely due to the charisma of the great Chan Gailey.

The quotes from Coach Johnson (if you read them again) indicate that he sees it as HIS responsibility to motivate these kids and he’s frustrated with HIS inability to do that this year with this team. How is that “throwing someone under the bus?”

In the final analysis, Paul Johnson may or may not be the savior of Tech’s program, but I’d NEVER advocate going back to Chan (mediocrity) Gailey.


November 24th, 2010
8:18 am

You want to know what I am frustrated about? Reading the sports page this morning and the GT players talking about winning a BOWL GAME! We better be thinking about UGA. Seems like after qualifyiing, we aren’t hungry the rest of the season. Personally, I don’t think we deserve a bowl game, unless we play beat UGA or at least play a tough game against them. Who in their right mind, thinks they deserve a bowl with a 6-6 record. I’d rather stay at home, but thats me.


November 24th, 2010
8:24 am

Wrex – I’ll give you this. It always ticks me off when, as a fan, I question something that the current coach or team is doing and I get accused of being a Dawg fan in disguise. Questioning doesn’t make you less of a fan. In my eyes, it’s the right of any fan of the program to sincerely ask questions because we want the program to be better.

I agree. The passing game HAS to get better for this offense to work. What has held that back? I can’t figure out the real reason. In any passing situations this year, our O-line has been porous. That could be because they don’t get a lot of practice time developing pass blocking skills. They focus most of the time on the run blocking patterns. Joshua was a great leader and a tough kid, but was far from the most accurate passer I’ve ever seen. And we’ve all seen the abysmal performances of some of our WRs in dropping catchable balls.

What worries me most about the next game is our defense. This coaching staff seems to want to deflect criticism away from the 3-4 scheme, but I hate it as a defensive scheme. Unless you use the blitz packages that Tenuta used to dial up on every play, you set yourself up to give the opposing QB all the time needed to shred your defense. It’s a difficult defense for even the pro linebackers and d-backs to master. Receivers get lost in the zones and pop out uncovered way too often. Give me a pressure defense that occasionally gives up a big play but more often than not puts heat on the QB anyday.


November 24th, 2010
8:26 am

agreed gtne80, as the title suggests there is frustration on multiple fronts…the idea that PJ is dishing out blame instead of shouldering the responsibility himself is hogwash….
but hey coach, looking for the hot button?
just give the damn ball to orwin and let him light a fire under this team….
go jackets…..thwg

astute observer

November 24th, 2010
8:28 am

This is not about chan gailey. Why does every conversation or criticism about PJ devolve into backlash against Gailey? Sorry to burst everyones bubble but there are some true GT fans who are concerned about PJ and his coaching style and recruiting. Next season is looking very scary to me because I don’t think we improve much at all on defense and Nesbitt our warrior and leader will be gone. The next 2 years will tell us what PJ is truly all about because we will finally be playing with PJ’s recruits. I have to admit that I’m very skeptical since I have yet to see any young players stepping up this season. Next season PJ will be out of excuses so I want to see this team win.


November 24th, 2010
8:32 am

I agree with my fellow GT alums that we’re getting tired of this same ole song & dance routine by CPJ. When teams like Iowa, UGAg, or Va Tech have ample time to prepare then they shut down the perfect option. What do we do when it’s third-and-long? Try to pass and come up short.

Listen, I knew as well as anybody the season was over the second Joshua went down but I respect the job Washington has done in a pinch-hitting role. If only CPJ could adjust the offense to feed off of his talents.

It ain’t gonna be pretty up in thugtown, probably another 51-7 smackdown like Mark Rich handed Chan.


November 24th, 2010
8:33 am

i can tell someone is a moron with no evidence to back up their assertions when they start talking about other people drinking koolaid.


November 24th, 2010
8:35 am

“astute observer,”
I’ll go against my better judgment and give you the benefit of the doubt, assuming you really are being honest here.

You don’t think the defense will improve next year? Why not?

You don’t think players with another year in a brand new system will play in it better?

You haven’t liked what you have seen out of some of our youngsters like Cross, Barnes, I. Johnson, Sweeting, Young, or Attaochu?

Do you think losing Brad Jefferson (our only real impact senior) is going to hurt THAT much?

Please explain how you think the defense won’t improve.

mark Pricht

November 24th, 2010
8:35 am

I hear what you are saying about the D, but they actually kept us in some games like VT, special teams killed us…I think our big issue is not scoring in the first half, what has it been like 4 games now?


November 24th, 2010
8:38 am

You know what bugs me? Fair-weather Tech fans, who jump on the bandwagon when the team wins the conference championship last year and then jumps off when the team has a down year. I am a true fan. I stick to my team and coach no matter what. I have been frustrated this year as most of you all are about our team’s performance. But I do have faith that we will turn things around next year. This team has no chemistry at all and it does bother me, but I don’t think that goes down as the coach’s fault. CPJ has had 2 recruiting classes that is a fact, but I don’t think they have developed to their potential yet. A great college football player is made by great coaching, but it also has to do with the player’s will to be the best that he can be. Examples would be Calvin Johnson and Bey Bey Thomas. They both were highly recruits that came to Tech, and they worked really hard watching films and working on every facet of the game to get better. I remember watching an interview about Calvin Johnson and how he spent alot to time watching film and trying to be perfect, because he knew that there are people out there that are more prepared than he was. Most of the players this year are probably on the high from last years ACCC and has come back to reality. I hope our team can win this Saturday, but if they don’t I will still support them because that’s what real fans do.


November 24th, 2010
8:38 am

As with the story of the Zen Master, “We’ll see…”

Agreed, much of the tale of this coaching staff will be told over the next two seasons. Were the first two years a fluke? Was it the result of the change energizing the players that remained? or is this year the fluke year? We’ll see….

If Johnson can’t get it turned around, in the next two years, then he’ll end up being canned.


November 24th, 2010
8:40 am

There sure are a ton of fair weather fans out there. It was just a year ago and we won the ACC title. I’m guessing these same fair weather fans probably never played this game of football. Teams have up and down years. Sometimes it’s coaching, sometimes it’s lack of chemistry or lack of leadership. For those of you who want to get rid of CPJ after one mediocre year, ya’ll need to get a life. Turn off the computer, and go volunteer at a community kitchen or something. You are waaay to whinny.

Go Gold

November 24th, 2010
8:42 am

It’s all in the recruiting. It came easy to many D1 players in high school. Think about these players on their high school team and they were the very best. Now they have to step up and practice, play and compete on a consistent basis with the very best. It’s that something inside that drives an average player to excel (i.e. Keith Brooking). I bet you never had to motivate Calvin Johnson, Joe Hamilton, etc. it came from deep inside the stomach.


November 24th, 2010
8:43 am

Sure are a lot of UGAGers in here posing as Tech fans.


November 24th, 2010
8:46 am

Techmate gets post of the day.


November 24th, 2010
8:47 am

Maybe its a simple matter of lack of talent. We lost so much last year (including a couple of offensive linemen who don’t get a lot of attentilon). We will have to play our best game of the year to beat UGA and we will have to cut out the stupid mistakes (that has been said after every loss) and finally put some pressure on their qb (sadly lacking all year). On the other hand, I notice that many of the DAWG fans play down this game yet UGA seems to take the week before the game off a lot.


November 24th, 2010
8:48 am

Bring Back Chan…Can you stop posting the same crap on every Tech blog? Not sure if you remember a guy named Calvin Johnson, but he played for 3 years under chan and we didn’t win anything. Never in my life have I seen a talent more under used than Calvin was at Tech. Last thing Tech needs to do is bring back chan.

Wrex…CPJ became Tech’s head coach in December 2007. By that point over half of the 2008 Recruiting Class was already assembled. Meaning most of those players were hand picked by chan gailey. Your right that most of the scholarship players are CPJs guys, but at the same time almost every upperclassmen on the roster was recruited under chan gailey. There are major leadership issues on this team and that has been the case all season. Leadership falls on the upperclassmen. It is their responsibility to set an example for the younger guys to follow.

Your point about the 2007 recruiting class is valid. But it took gailey 5 seasons to get 1 class this talented. Every other class gailey put together had a couple of good players along with a bunch of 2 stars and unranked players. Not sure if CPJ will be able to replicate that special class gailey put together, but the overall depth CPJ is recruiting is much better than what chan did (consistently getting 3 star talent).

This year has been bad on all accounts, but lets give CPJ a few more seasons before we decide to burn him at the stake. He earned that right last season.

Go Jackets…Beat georgie

Infantile Dawg Fan (redundant, I know)

November 24th, 2010
8:54 am

B-B-But the narrative we’ve created says that that Johnson only blames the players!!!! Facts to the contrary, we’ve been making fun of those evil techies and fish fry johnson by saying he always blames the players! What do we do now?!


November 24th, 2010
8:56 am

YellowFuzz – Iowa did, in fact, shut down the option last year. Their defense shut down a LOT of teams last year. As for UGA and VT, you’re wrong. They didn’t beat us by shutting down the option, they beat us because we couldn’t stop their offense. UGA had 415 yards and 21 first downs against our pathetic defense – and we were still driving at the end of the game with a chance to win.

As I’ve said repeatedly, our problem is not CPJ’s offense. Our problem is a total disaster on the defensive side of the ball. I don’t know if it’s due to a lack of athletes of inept coaching but we can’t stop ANYBODY. We made Duke look good (and they’re not).

If our defense could generate some stops, we would be fine. Our offense is putting points on the board.

Dave from GT

November 24th, 2010
8:59 am

Most Jackets I know really don’t give a crap about a bowl game. Most Dawgs I know really don’t give a crap about a bowl game.

Both of these teams have not represented GA very well on the national stage……..

That being said, Both teams really do give a crap about losing this upcoming game…….. and the constant lambasting that comes with the loss.

Now, if GT loses, that is because CPJ hasn’t had enough time. If UGA loses…… Richt is probably looking for a job with Les Miles or Nick Saban.

Take your pick. I’m in because I think we will see max effort from both sides and a really good game. With ESPN national coverage, a sold out stadium, a beautiful late fall night……… good BBQ, Georgia Babes……..

Man this is a great time of the year……. the BEST time of the year.


November 24th, 2010
8:59 am

GTZ09 & Techmate – Well said.

GT Jake-99

November 24th, 2010
9:00 am

This game will be a total beat-down. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a delusional HOMER— Possibly worse than 51-7.

The problem isn’t coaching, but LACK OF RECRUITING, and LACK OF TALENT!!!

And that blame falls squarely on Paul Johnson and his staff.


November 24th, 2010
9:01 am

Gailey could not win with his recruits. Johnson did.

Georgia is a 5-6 team for a reason. They are not Oregon or Auburn. If Georgia were so good, they would be playing next week for the SEC Championship.

There are going to be tub seasons for every program. Look at Texas, Florida, and Tennessee.

Stop getting impatient.


November 24th, 2010
9:03 am

GT Jake 99:

Please go look at recruiting class rankings between Chan and Johnson. With the exception of the 2007 class outlier, notice the general trend upwards.

Don’t let a few facts get in the way.


November 24th, 2010
9:03 am

Folks, this ain’t gonna be a blowout.

No way.

If you gamble bet the over.
Take Tech and the point spread.

I could see 43-41 in triple OT


November 24th, 2010
9:06 am

Go Jackets! Beat the bulldogs.

Paul in RDU

November 24th, 2010
9:09 am

Certainly some interesting comments on this page.
Some fact:
Chan Gailey’s record at GT 7-6 7-6 7-5 7-5 9-5 7-6
He won 1 Division title (in 2006) but did a horrible job in the ACCCG – and of course he never beat UGA. Heck, his 2002 team quit in the UGA game..
Johnson was hired as GT coach at the end of December 2007. Although this was before NSD it was after all of the serious recruiting had been done. He has effectively 2 recruiting classes (classes of 2009 and 2010) and most of them were redshirted for their freshman year.
I agree that he still needs to demonstrate that he can recruit players who are good enough for the ACC (he’s never going to out recruit UGA, Auburn, ALA, etc) but saying he can’t based on the performance of this year’s team is a stretch.
Next year (year 4 for CPJ) is the key year. You can’t judge how well he’s going to do based on 1 year. Other coaches have had poor records in their 3rd year at a school and done well in their 4th – NCSU was 5-7 last year (2-6 in the ACC) in O’Brien’s 3rd year in Raleigh. This year they are 8-3 (5-2 in the ACC) and will likely beat MD to be in the ACCCG.
Miami went 5-6 in Butch Davis’ 3rd year (1st losing year for them since 1979) and went 9-3, 9-4, 11-1 the following years.
Johnson’s 1st 2 years were the best at GT in over 50 years. Let’s see what happens in the next 2 before declaring him a bust.


November 24th, 2010
9:10 am

And my gut was right.

The “astute observer” was, as we all knew, either a dog wearing a jacket or a CPJ-hater. Not one reason behind any of his claims, just a bunch of nonsense.

Virginia-Highland Jacket

November 24th, 2010
9:11 am

For you “it’s all recruiting types” – REALLY? Please explain Texas & Florida’s 2010 football situation to me geniuses. For @bringbackchan – are you really that dense? Clearly a lot of you guys don’t understand the game of football. CPJ is a winner everywhere he has been and he has already and will continue that at GT. For the idiot that said Ugag & Va. Tech shut down the triple option – how? In the Ugag game our first round draft pick dropped a 4th down pass on the game winning drive, Nesbitt also got hurt in the game by a cheap play by gaggers. Va. Tech we were dominating until Nesbitt went out and Washington kept us in the game if you were actually watching.

CPJ is smart enough to see the weaknesses and will make adjustments, but don’t let facts get in the way of your demand that your team wins 10 games a year or more or else.


November 24th, 2010
9:13 am

His offense only works well in little boy football. It’s not about motivation. You lost gailey’s recruits. Now you’re back to navy. Good luck with that. You’re a .500 team year in year out with this coach and system.


November 24th, 2010
9:14 am

This will be a blowout

UGA 50+

teck 7

If you are expecting some dreamed up BS scenario where teck somehow stops UGA is actually going to happen you will be in for a surprise.

Did any of you fools see the Duke game last week????