Johnson on Sims, Watts and his first job

Greetings-

Sorry for the delay. I just got back from an interview with John and Mary Brock, who provided the lead gift for the Georgia Tech indoor facility. Very gracious couple and big Tech fans, as you might imagine. I can tell you that they don’t have keys to the building. We met outside and had to wait for a project supervisor to let us in.  A Q&A should be up by the end of the week.

Got a few leftover notes that didn’t make the notebook, and some sort of unrelated but interesting stuff from coach Paul Johnson about his start in coaching and why he calls plays.

Here’s the link to the notebook, which has all the lineup changes and a few other notes. You also should read Jeff Schultz’s post about what Johnson said about how he would stop the rash of NCAA rules violations.

1. Johnson lauded starting B-back David Sims again for his work ethic and unwillingness to give up when he switched positions and started fourth on the depth chart. In talking about Sims as well as B-back Charles Perkins, he described how Sims’ reaction isn’t necessarily typical.

“I think that sometimes, there’s such an expectation level (to receive playing time), and I’m not talking about Charles in particular. This day and age, guys think they’re entitled. You’ve got to earn something. You don’t just get it because you did something in high school or you did something somewhere else. You’ve got to come in and win the job. David had two ways to go when he was fourth. He could have pouted and left or he could make up his mind that he’s going to outwork guys and try to win the job. To his credit, he took the latter. I think that’ s great example for other guys who aren’t where hey want to be.”

I spoke with Sims Monday after practice and he was pretty candid about being stuck down on the depth chart at quarterback and how he actually did consider transferring. It’ll be in a story scheduled to post Wednesday afternoon and run in Thursday’s paper.

2. In the story I mentioned Monday about the five guys who made a splash in camp, I asked about backup outside linebacker Brandon Watts. I decided not to include him – the story’s linked here – but Johnson said that he’ll be the No. 3 outside linebacker and be on the nickel and dime packages and also play a lot of special teams.

“Brandon Watts is a really good athlete,” he said. “I think he’s more comfortable with what he’s doing. He knows his assignments better.”

4. I mentioned this in a comment on the post about the depth chart, but Johnson made a point to say that just because a player is second on the chart doesn’t mean he’s the next option. A case in point is true freshman corner Jamal Golden, who is listed as a backup. Johnson said he’s more like the fifth or sixth option at cornerback. If Rod Sweeting or Louis Young had to miss time, the next option might be the other No. 2 corner, Michael Peterson. After that, the next choice might be backup safety Jemea Thomas, or possibly Thomas would play safety and starting safety Rashaad Reid would move to corner.

This isn’t to denigrate Golden, but to clarify.

That said, I wonder how many teams in the ACC have three true freshmen on the offensive line two-deep. (Tech has Trey Braun and Shaquille Mason at guard and Errin Joe at tackle. Joe was recently switched out there.) If I have time, I’m going to take a look. I’m going to guess the answer is not many, if any.

Certainly to judge by experience, that is a thin, thin group.

5. Interestingly, to me, at least, Johnson apparently decided not to take advantage of a pretty useful source of intelligence about Western Carolina. Georgia Southern is in the Southern Conference with the Catamounts, and is coached by Jeff Monken, who coached A-backs at Tech and has been a longtime aide to Johnson. Johnson said he spoke last week with Monken about Georgia Southern, but not about Western Carolina.

5. In his answers about Miami and NCAA rules malfeasance, Johnson mentioned how a Tech player got wrongly slammed on a football blog and how it represents the lack of accountability for some media, a pet peeve of his. This happened last week. I confess I don’t remember what blog it was, but there was a post about college football players tweeting things that were obscene or, at the least, ill-advised. Quarterback Tevin Washington was one of the players included.

After Johnson and others at Tech started getting e-mails from fans and alumni, Tech’s sports information staff looked into it and confirmed that Washington doesn’t even have a Twitter account and that the writer was quoting a high school football player in Michigan named Tevin Washington.

6. Johnson unfortunately didn’t bite on my question about what sort of student he was at Western Carolina, but he did talk about his first job – as an in-school suspension teacher at his old high school. After graduating from Western Carolina, he was set to take a teaching and coaching job in the eastern half of the state when he ran into his old high school coach over the summer.

Johnson told him his plans and his old coach asked him to come coach for him instead. Johnson said he’d tried, but that there weren’t any jobs available. So he told Johnson to go see the superintendent. Johnson did, and was told again that no jobs were available. Johnson reported back, and his coach suggested he go back again.

Said Johnson “I went back the next day, and Mr. McGee, who was the superintendent, he said, ‘I don’t have any jobs, I don’t know where I’m going to put you, but I’m going to hire you. We’ll figure it out once school starts.”

His first job was ISS, where, he said, he read “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” cover to cover. (The paperback version available on Amazon is 1,264 pages.)

He mentioned that he was able to call plays in that job, which led to questions about that topic.

He said he has called plays in all but two games as a head coach, his first two at Georgia Southern in 1997. He said early on that year, he was walking around practice monitoring when his former boss, Erk Russell, asked him what he was doing, and told him to get over to the quarterbacks to coach them and to call the plays, because that was his strength and why he got the job.

“I got to thinking about it, and after a couple games, I’m like, If that’s the best way I can help the team, then that’s what I need to do,” he said.

Johnson said he doesn’t hand over playcalling to an assistant because first, he’d end up second-guessing that coach and if he’s going to second guess anyone, he should just do it himself.

Another reason is that he knows when he wants to go for it on fourth down and so he can call plays accordingly. As a coordinator, when the offense got to the opposing 45-yard line on third down, he’d ask the head coach if he had two downs to make a first or just one.

“Because it makes a difference,” he said, “if it’s 3rd down and 5 and you know you’ve got two (plays), or if it’s 3rd and 6 and you know you’ve got one. As a head coach, I already know that.”

Probably more than what you wanted to know, but hopefully interesting to know.

Lastly…

It’s interesting to me that many of you say you’re tired of the non-Tech fans, but some of you can’t seem to keep yourselves from engaging in trash talk with them. My suggestion has been to ignore it. I’m going to try something with this post. Anyone who responds to a non-Tech fan, or the first to independently bring up Georgia, will be banned for a week.

If I had to guess, that means refraining from responding to how Johnson’s first job was good preparation for coaching at Tech, how Johnson screwed up some fourth-down call against Georgia, how Jeff Monken can’t help Tech because Monken can’t play defense, how it figures that Johnson would have to learn how to coach from a Georgia coach, something about the over/under on Tech’s win total, Tech being on probation, Johnson can’t recruit, Tech fans are nerds, etc. On that line of thought, anyone who brings up Javaris Crittenton will also face a week ban, because anyone who thinks that topic is appropriate to use for trash talk deserves at least that much.

My rationale is there’s always going to be people making snarky comments on this blog as long as they know they’re going to get a reaction. If you can’t resist responding, then maybe I can help. I invite you to tell me how idiotic I am. You wouldn’t be the first.

Thanks for reading. Please follow on Facebook and Twitter!

By Ken Sugiura, AJC

352 comments Add your comment

juvenal

August 30th, 2011
11:37 am

DawginLex

August 30th, 2011
11:37 am

Gonna be hard to legislate that one Ken.

I’m a Dawg through and through but I also love college football. I think Johnson is a great coach who could win big in the SEC at UGA if given the opportunity. Yes, he did coach with Erk and yes he would be our coach right now if Erk had gotten the UGA job after Dooley retired.

I’m asking the Tech folks on here to pull for us this weekend and shutup the blue rash that is threatening college football.

Later

Ireland Jacket

August 30th, 2011
11:38 am

Cant wait for Thursday! Go Jackets!

juvenal

August 30th, 2011
11:41 am

better watch out, Super……CPJ obviously not a lawyer, if congress can’t balance the budget, trust them to fix football about as well as they fixed the banks…..seems common courtesy, like common sense, much lacking these days…..

juvenal

August 30th, 2011
11:44 am

2nd poster brought up uga but please don’t ban him, or me for saying how much we appreciate his astute observations…..

Supersize that order, mutt

August 30th, 2011
11:47 am

Ken, that’s a tough call, but I’ll certainly do my best to comply. Anyway, I love your interview with CPJ. Very insightful. Thanks !!!

Flowery Branch Yellow Jacket

August 30th, 2011
11:47 am

Thanks Ken, not only for an excellent job, but for the terrific idea of suspending those who don’t want to “play nice”. It should make the experience better for all of us.

Supersize that order, mutt

August 30th, 2011
11:48 am

juvenal, was that addressed to me? I’m not sure what you were saying

GT4life

August 30th, 2011
11:48 am

Good report Ken. Very thorough as usual.

In theory your ban thing sounds good, but in actuality, I don’t know if it will work.

Supersize that order, mutt

August 30th, 2011
11:49 am

GT4life, it’s a start. Let’s hope it pays off

DawginLex

August 30th, 2011
11:50 am

supersize

I think he was trying to keep me as the “Lonesome Dawg” on this blog

fan of shorter passes

August 30th, 2011
11:51 am

Has Sims forgotten all his QB skills or is he a candidate to throw a pass similar to a wildcat type scheme? That probably would fool a few teams.

Appreciate your attempt as monitor.

DawginLex

August 30th, 2011
11:53 am

If I can’t talk college football and have responses, I’ll leave.

Enjoy the island

Ken Sugiura

August 30th, 2011
11:53 am

it is going to be hard to administer, and it may not actually work, which is why i’m just testing it out and, i guess, making my first amendment. dawginlex clearly isn’t here to bait anyone. discussion is fine. the rather banal redneck-nerd-probation-thuga back and forth is what i’m talking about. i think we know the difference.

GT Alum

August 30th, 2011
11:53 am

Perkins thought he was entitled to start based on his performance in high school. Not so fast, fella. You must prove yourself worthy. Hope we see you bring your A game and actually prove something to the fans every play…

Supersize that order, mutt

August 30th, 2011
11:54 am

Lex, that wasn’t the comment by juvenal I was referring too. I got that one, and I agree. You’re ok, and I think all the regular posters here appreciate your opinions. Actually, I just re-read the comment I was referring to, and it makes sense now. Carry on. LOL

juvenal

August 30th, 2011
11:55 am

Lex, you were 2nd by seconds-1st posts should always be short…..

Supersize that order, mutt

August 30th, 2011
11:55 am

oops, I guess that means I have to say UGA or Georgia from now on. LOL

bill

August 30th, 2011
11:55 am

Truly good luck with the blog and your suggestions. This last summer when the man predicted the world was going to end. Did not happen. God had come down and read blogs for SEC and ACC schools and figured it had already ended.
again really good luck with the blog patrol.

bascogcjs

August 30th, 2011
11:56 am

Is the game televised Thurs.?

Ken Sugiura

August 30th, 2011
11:56 am

by the way, here’s the link for the online broadcast.

http://espn.go.com/espn3/index?id=234299

Supersize that order, mutt

August 30th, 2011
11:56 am

GT Alum, it sounds like Perkins couldn’t have a better role model than Sims. Let’s hope he realizes that and learns what it means to work to get what you want

Supersize that order, mutt

August 30th, 2011
11:57 am

Ken, I just hope that doesn’t mean you have to sit here 24 7 and read all this crap. LOL

juvenal

August 30th, 2011
11:57 am

would miss you, Super, if you were gone a week….think b4 you post, look forward to your post-game analysis….Ken, outstanding reporting, it really whets the appetite……

headley lamar

August 30th, 2011
11:59 am

oops, I guess that means I have to say UGA or Georgia from now on. LOL

Was that so hard ???

Supersize that order, mutt

August 30th, 2011
12:00 pm

awww, thanks, juvenal. You know I only respond when I get so PO’d I can’t take it anymore. But if things are being monitored, then I won’t need to respond, and maybe for a change we can actually talk Tech football. By the way, juvenal, where in the stands are your seats? I’m in Section 225, upper east.

Your Editor

August 30th, 2011
12:01 pm

“He said he has not called plays in all but two games as a head coach, his first two at Georgia Southern in 1997. ”

Should read: “He said he has called plays in all but two games as a head coach, his first two at Georgia Southern in 1997.”

headley lamar

August 30th, 2011
12:02 pm

or the first to independently bring up Georgia, will be banned for a week. ,/i>

Seems to me the following qualifies.

oops, I guess that means I have to say UGA or Georgia from now on. LOL

DawginLex

August 30th, 2011
12:03 pm

Ken

But I am a south Georgia redneck who went to UGA.

Other than that, I don’t fit the stereotypes though :) :)

1st game should be 49-0

2nd game could get dicey. Be thankful Dasher is graduated. Boy could play. MTSU has beaten some folks. Won’t be a pushover.

Value of a defense on display in Athens and Atlanta this year hopefully. Our year(and our opener) depends on it.

Supersize that order, mutt

August 30th, 2011
12:04 pm

Lex, how do you honestly assess your defense? I hope that’s not a bannable question.

headley lamar

August 30th, 2011
12:04 pm

By the way, juvenal, where in the stands are your seats? I’m in Section 225, upper east.

Most Tech games ive seen on TV you guys should have no problem spotting each other.

Just wave your arms around and you should be able to see each other fine.

Rduck

August 30th, 2011
12:05 pm

love your interviews of CPJ Ken. thanks for your hard work and for trying to clean up these blogs.
DawginLex- you bring good conversation to the board when you post. i don’t believe you have to worry about being banned.
can’t wait to be there Thurs night at BDS. gonna be fun to start another year of Yellow Jacket football on the Flats. here’s to a great season!

carolinajacket

August 30th, 2011
12:06 pm

Chris Jackson not even on the depth chart anywhere? Is he ever going to live up to his great potential?

Supersize that order, mutt

August 30th, 2011
12:07 pm

AMEN to all you said, Rduck

DawginLex

August 30th, 2011
12:08 pm

Won’t know for sure until I see them play. G-Day game 2011 versus 2010 was lights out difference, especially up the middle. Geathers took the recruiting of Jenkins personally and has really stepped it up. He has great blood lines.

All the parts are there. There were some times last year where we looked lost. Houston is in the NFL but clearly took plays off. I believe Jarvis Jones with Ogletree will be better. Also will be better because interior DL will command double teams unlike last year.

The similarities are striking between GT and UGA.

1 or 2 more stops per game on 3rd down drops the PPG allowed by a TD and that equals about 4 more wins each.

BigTimeTechFan

August 30th, 2011
12:08 pm

Nice read, Watts is going to be flying all over the field this year, hope he takes an INT to the house. I wonder if they ever thought of moving him to Safety kind of like that other team did with Thomas Davis and he was All-American Safety, they are same mold size and speed.

Can wait to see Sims and Perkins, I think Sims doing so well is going to help Perkins, he will be so motivated to prove himself to the coaches.

Jacketforlife

August 30th, 2011
12:08 pm

Thanks for the guidelines Ken, I always have and alway will bleed Old Gold and White, but I am disgisted by the vitriol that see posted between the UGA and Tech fans, I am first a Jacket, but I am also a native Georgian, and being so I want the best for my state, so for the me the ideal situation would be for Tech to go undefeated and UGA to only lose the last game of the season.

Reid, Pelosi and Obama would be proud, Ken!!!

August 30th, 2011
12:08 pm

So in other words, no longer speak any truths about Yech? Why not just say you all must bow at the all mighty gt alter or else, Ken? Lol!!

GT Fan

August 30th, 2011
12:09 pm

Looking forward to seeing the NEW #9 (Tony Zenon) in action!

Love PJ’s stance on “entitlement” mentality. Hope C-Perk goes in the right direction … He’s got the potential to be great!

Curious to see if all the passing I saw in the 2 scrimmages shows up on Thursday.

2 days 7 hours 21 minutes!!!

DawginLex

August 30th, 2011
12:10 pm

Well, you got through 37 posts Ken.

GT Alum

August 30th, 2011
12:10 pm

Supersize that order, mutt:

Well, being in the current workforce with all the competition out there for a good, high paying job, Perkins needs to learn really fast to at his peak potential in all situations. Otherwise, there will be someone else taking over who does – both on the field and in the future workforce.

Born2Buzz

August 30th, 2011
12:10 pm

Ken, you are my hero.
Good luck with the new “law of the land”.
Lex, you have always been respectful and give good discussion points. Your welcome anytime.

2 days to go. I think we are all ready for the season to actually get started. I will be there Thursday cheering the brave and bold.

The issue with the young OL is going to be a worry all season. Traditionally the teams that have great seasons have very experienced OL’s. Unfortunately, it looks like the best talent we have on the OL are the younguns. We shall see.

headley lamar

August 30th, 2011
12:10 pm

Lex, how do you honestly assess your defense?

My two cents.

I think they are going to be tremendous. Second year of the 3-4 makes a huge difference. Ask Nick Saban.

UGA has a MAJOR infusion of talent ala Jenkins and Jarvis Jones

Ogletree is a beast and has moved closer to the ball. He will be all over the field.

Bottom line for too many years UGA defense sat back and waited. No more

We will attack and force turnovers. They were way up last year .

Either way the last few years we have scored plenty of points to win. 32 ppg last year a touchdown better than Tech.

If this defense is even halfway better we are in for a much better year.

PS Almost every magazine ive read agrees that UGA defense will be much much better.

fan of shorter passes

August 30th, 2011
12:11 pm

Another question that probably was answered long ago…since the game is not on TV (360 in not TV), then why is this game being played on Thursday?

Born2Buzz

August 30th, 2011
12:11 pm

That should have been “You’re welcomed anytime.”

Reid, Pelosi and Obama would be proud, Ken!!!

August 30th, 2011
12:13 pm

And dawginlex still poses as a UGA fan…..sad

Rduck

August 30th, 2011
12:14 pm

Ken- in one of your other blogs, it sounded as if Melton would be the other starting WR only because he is a senior. did I read that correctly? I ask because if so, wouldn’t that be kind of an entitlement?

Reid, Pelosi and Obama would be proud, Ken!!!

August 30th, 2011
12:14 pm

Heil Yech!!!! Heil Yech!!! Heil Yech!!! ;)

alabama jack

August 30th, 2011
12:18 pm

I salute your effrorts, sir.

Supersize that order, mutt

August 30th, 2011
12:19 pm

hmm, my response to “fan” didn’t go through…..fan, I think the main reason is the lack of market competition on Thursday night. The game at the dome will draw much more interest than WC ever would. And traffic won’t be as bad Thursday night either.