More Paul Johnson on special teams

Greetings-

This is the portion of the interview from coach Paul Johnson’s Monday post-practice media session that dealt with special-teams coaching. I’m not sure how it reads, but I’d say his voice reflected agitation but he was pretty calm throughout. I’m about to head to the Tuesday news conference. I’ll have notes posted about 12:30. Thanks.

On the call for a special-teams coach:

The whole thing is ridiculous. Guys calling for special teams coordinators don’t have any idea. You know how many teams in the ACC, SEC, Big 12 and Big Ten have special teams coordinators that don’t coach another position?

Six. You know who it is in our league? Boston College – which is helping them a lot – and N.C. State. And the Big Ten, it’s Purdue. In the Big 12, it’s Kansas State. I think it’s Coach (Bill) Snyder’s son. Most staffs are set up the same as ours.

Coach (Charles) Kelly is quote-unquote the special teams coordinator, which means he collects and puts things together for the book. He has the punt team (and) punt return team. Other coaches are assigned areas of special teams. It’s been that way everywhere I’ve ever coached for 32 years. Sometimes, you’re better than others. It’s like Coach Kelly. I asked him today: Are you coaching the punt team any different than you did with (2007 second-team All-American punter) Durant Brooks? (Kelly’s response) No, coaching ‘em the same.

On his track record:

We’ve had good special teams before. If I was sitting there and evaluating the tape and I’m looking at the schemes and I’m looking at what we’re doing and it’s totally screwed up, then you’ve got problems. But you can look at it: We’re doing the same stuff that everybody is.

In fact, this summer, we went up to the Falcons. Mike (Smith) and I are pretty good friends. He gave us access to their special teams coach and we went up there and spent two days. We’re doing the same stuff they’re doing. It’s the same schemes, it’s the same stuff. It’s like, if you want to be negative, you can find stuff to be negative about no matter what you want. It’s just the nature of the beast.

On the problem being related to the specialists:

I’m hesitant to say that because that’d be throwing somebody under the bus.

I don’t think there’s very many people in college who are coaching the punter. The guy either punts it or he doesn’t. The guy hits one 52 yards and the next one 13. Nobody’s saying, ‘Hit it 13 yards.’ Kickoff, you kick one four yards deep in the end zone the next one you hit belt high.

On if it’s not a matter of coaching:

It is what it is. I promise you nobody told him to try to pick the ball up inside the 10. It happens. That’s why they play the game. Do we have to get better at it? Yeah, you bet. I mean I’m frustrated we’re not better at it because we practice it every day and what we’re doing is sound. We’ve just got to be better at it. I think if you asked the kids, they’d be the first to tell you it’s important. We talk about it, we practice it.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

71 comments Add your comment

Hayseed Dixie

October 25th, 2011
10:38 am

Ken, ask Coach if I can take Tevin over to the Pink Pony for a whiskey drink and some lap dances.

When I was in my 20s, it always seemed to calm *me* down.

Hayseed Dixie

October 25th, 2011
10:40 am

On second thought- maybe not the best idea.

The NCAA is watching, they’d probably take our 1990 title for ‘improper benefits’.

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 25th, 2011
10:50 am

How about letting Mike Smith coach for 1 game.

GT 2011

October 25th, 2011
10:50 am

This offense is really bugging the crap out of me. Fix that. The hell with special teams right now! Fix the offense!

Technically Correct

October 25th, 2011
10:55 am

One has to wonder what Tech’s last two end-of-the-season collapses will do to recruiting next year. Will recruits see this as a trend? If the football teams continue to implode, will the on-the-fence remaining quality recruits become disenchanted, get scared off and decide to go elsewhere? If they do, will be left with with incoming classes that is destined to repeat the end-of-the-season collapses again.

Always a Jacket

October 25th, 2011
10:56 am

Ken
I hope Tech starts winning soon for your sake.

I would hate to ask Johnson why he is loosing. He needs to be a little a little more humble with the press, because I think his weak recruiting is starting to show and things could get much worst. Good that he is frustrated, because the fans are frustrated too.

Everyone knows special teams have been getting worst since Johnson arrived. What he has been doing is not working. So, it is natural to ask what he intends to do to change, but seems he wants to defend what he is doing.

Good luck with future questions

Tech82

October 25th, 2011
10:57 am

Our special teams play has been an embarrassment to be sure but I’m with GT2011, fix the offense and start moving the ball. That will take a lot of the spotlight off the special teams miscues.

That O will NEVER work in D1 Football...

October 25th, 2011
11:12 am

Glad to see you Kool Aid drinkers starting to figure out the “johnson” is indeed a D**k!

The arrogance is absolutly killing every aspect of our program, from points to recruiting.

I must say I agree with the “johnson” on one thing…we do not need a “special teams” coach, we need a NEW HEAD COACH!!!!

Real classy caling out BC you punk….

juvenal

October 25th, 2011
11:12 am

all anybody has to do to avoid criticism is win…….

Supersize that order, mutt

October 25th, 2011
11:17 am

Technically correct, the season isn’t over yet, so don’t pre-plan a collapse. Sure, we lost two games which we could have, and probably should have, won. But we still have plenty of time to redeem those losses and make this the special season it seemed to be on its way to becoming a month ago. To be fair, we SHOULD lose to Clemson, but that’s not saying that we WILL. And I still think we can beat both VT and UGA, and will probably split the two at worst. Frankly, I am more concerned about Duke, since every Tech team since I can remember has a knack for playing down to the competition and, if not losing, definitely struggling against weaker opposition. Let’s hope that the UVA game was the only game this year in which that happens. Do I agree with everything CPJ says or does? No, but I didn’t agree with everything Dodd said or did either; it’s always easy to second-guess a coach. I STILL TRUST CPJ!!!!

Ramblin Man

October 25th, 2011
11:21 am

As far as recruits I would say it depends on the kid and his outlook on things. One could say well it looks like they are struggling at (pick your position) and I play that position and know I can do it better and get playing time and help build a team. Others will look at what they may think will be a better deal. I know two guys that went to what some would call football mills and hardly ever got playing time. Sure they were on winning teams but had 4-5 quality guys playing one position and had trouble making the 2 deep and both said the wished they had looked at the programs a little better before they decided on a school.

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 25th, 2011
11:22 am

Ken, my comment about Jaybo was that he probably was told that his playing time was going to diminish. If that was the case then he made a great move.

Born2Buzz

October 25th, 2011
11:23 am

Hayseed, the Cheetah is just across the expressway. And admission is free with your game ticket. I’d say have Tevin just meet you there, and to bring CPJ with him.

Thanks for making me laugh. We need all the smiles we can get right now.

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 25th, 2011
11:27 am

Did Bobby Dodd display the arrogance that Johnson does? Probably not. Even Saban occasionally shows some humility.

Supersize that order, mutt

October 25th, 2011
11:28 am

GIVE ME….., probably not, but I bet Heisman did. And O’Leary certainly did.

old school

October 25th, 2011
11:30 am

charles Kelly is a puppet and a liar (daddy baller #16). Look at his personell. Guys on kickoff team that haven’t made a tackle all year! Jemea Thomas makes all the plays. Speed needs to man up too. He runs the kickoff team!

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 25th, 2011
11:33 am

If CPJ doesn’t win 2 out the 5 games remaining, you may hear the hot seat mentioned.

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 25th, 2011
11:33 am

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 25th, 2011
11:36 am

O’Leary had Freidgen as his OC. He didn’t act like a know it all.

GTman

October 25th, 2011
11:37 am

Yeah, no need to change the special teams coaching – it’s working just fine. I guess doing the same things as everybody else defines success. Problem is we are not executing on special teams. Don’t know if everybody else sucks too, but regardless CPJ nees to fix our crappy special teams play.

Supersize that order, mutt

October 25th, 2011
11:51 am

I heard O’Leary speak at a couple of Tech Club functions in Augusta, and he was DEFINITELY arrogant, but he was also able to schmooze the crowd, so that he had us all in stitches the entire time. Johnson is obviously not a schmoozer. Like juvenal said earlier, if you win you don’t get the criticism. If by some stroke of fate we beat Clemson, then everybody on here will probably be singing a totally different tune next week. Will we beat Clemson? Probably not, but I don’t see it being the wipeout that so many are assuming that it will be.

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 25th, 2011
11:54 am

CPJ fits players to a system rather than a sytem to the players. His way works great if he has great players. Tech can not recruit great players. But I still like the players Tech has.

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 25th, 2011
11:54 am

I owe an “s.”

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 25th, 2011
11:58 am

We’ll be at the game and hoping for a win. I want to see CPJ win a bowl after a team has had a month to prepare. Good teams win those games.

Markie Richt

October 25th, 2011
11:59 am

I for one love the “johnson”…if it were not for him, Ellie Mae, the younguns and I would have not gotten that great vacatoin to Memphis last year!

I would not change a thing either Paulie, it is all working out so well for your team.

K

October 25th, 2011
12:01 pm

Our offense and special teams are doing just fine.
Thank you.

SavannahJacket

October 25th, 2011
12:01 pm

Special Teams is directly related to recruiting. When you recruit kids that are 2 and 3 stars they are not at big, strong and fast as 4 and 5 star kids. Is this true for every kid, NO, but as a general rule it is. That is why they are rated. Bigger, Stronger, Faster Kids play better on special teams and at their positions. There is your answer.

For the offense, if we don’t start blocking so that TW can make a pitch or a pass then we will look just like the Miami game for the rest of the season. Which goes back to recruiting…. Bigger, Stronger, Faster Linemen could block some of the linebackers shooting the gap and killing Tevin.

There is no doubt that the offense works, just ask UNC we had some bumps but put up a ton of yards and points on a very good defense. Tech has to recruit better and redshirt and build up the guys that we have. If we don’t, then no offense will work.

This also goes for the D-Line. LB’s and DB’s looked great in the Miami Game, one of thier best of the year. Still need Bigger D-Linemen for this to work.

Go Jackets…. Lets have our best game this Saturday!!!

Big Ed

October 25th, 2011
12:04 pm

Gimme….we are maybe 3-8 when teams have 2 weeks to prepare, not counting Girls Scouts game 1.

Wonder if the “genius” realizes that?? (just being funny on that one, sorry, we all know the answer)

8-9 men in the box….D strategy completed in less 2 seconds.

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 25th, 2011
12:06 pm

Savannah, that’s why next year looks promising. The players will be bigger and stronger, not sure about faster.

tech dj

October 25th, 2011
12:11 pm

Any one else sick of hearing about success at Navy and Ga Southern! Who gives a crap about Navy!

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 25th, 2011
12:11 pm

Ed, it appears that better athletes can shut down the TO. CPJ should have learned that years ago, so make some adjustments. So far he has not shown that he can.

The O gets well this week...

October 25th, 2011
12:12 pm

…Clemson allowed Wofford (who runs the same TO offense) over 300 yards rushing earlier in the year, plus 2 LOOONNNGGG passes for TD’s – but, Clemson’s O, too, is really cooking right now, especially in the second half of games – should be a barn burner on Saturday night – don’t know who wins, but whoever gets the ball last will win…

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 25th, 2011
12:14 pm

I think the biggest problem is that CPJ is not an engineer. If he was then he could fix it. lol

Big Ed

October 25th, 2011
12:15 pm

You Dumb A’s still dont get it!!!! You can not recruit for this offense!!! Every 4-5 star kid out there thinks they will play in the NFL one day. So why the F would you play in a system that ZERO NFL teams run? Get it?? You would NOT.

Recruiting a QB that can throw a forward pass?? No Fing way, we get TW. Receivers that can catch a pass? No, we get SH. Big boys who can pass block? No, undersized white boys.

On the D side….recruiting DB’s & LB’s to learn to pass rush, defend top nothch receivers in practice?? Oh hell no…all we do (apparently) is run Sims or TW up the middle for 3 yds.

I could go on but its pointless….if you think this offense works you are simply stupid or do not actually watch the games or understand the game of football.

Dont “stat” me, the only “Stat” I care about is more points, which means “W’s” I dont give a sheeot if we lead the world in rushing yards between the 20’s!

carolinajacket

October 25th, 2011
12:18 pm

And the last time they let Wofford give them a real fight they won the Nation Championship. They are very good even though they, too, are very young.

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 25th, 2011
12:19 pm

It sounds like Clemson has a NFL wide receiver. The challenge is to keep him and the ball from getting together.

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 25th, 2011
12:23 pm

Leading the nation in rushing the past two years has produced no positive results. We all know that having a passing game would have made a difference.

U(sic)GAly

October 25th, 2011
12:24 pm

Big Ed, crawl back over to the butt licker board and post your insult/expletive laden rants there…they’ll love you and I’m sure you are one of them anyway just trying to spread a bad attitude over here.

I just pulled up our most recent recruiting class…we have some huge OL and LBs coming in as well as some talented skill position players. Only thing missing is DL. The guys we are playing now will be much better next year and great in two years.

I’m optimistic about our chances this week. Our D is playing better and I have faith in the offense and our players. They want to win as much as we do. Our ace in the hole is that Clemson’s coach is a volatile idiot who is in over his head, but blessed with talent. We can take them.

GTBob

October 25th, 2011
12:28 pm

Big Ed, we very rarely get 4 and 5 star recruits anyways. Would you rather run a specialized offense with 3 star recruits or continue trying to run a pro star offense with 3 star recruits? Did you watch GT before the CPJ era? Was it really better?

Supersize that order, mutt

October 25th, 2011
12:31 pm

U(sic), Yabba Dabba Doo IS in over his head, but he was smart enough to hire a GOOD OC, and that takes a lot of pressure off him. But he is still the man in charge, and he IS capable of totally f’ing up. Let’s hope this is the week he does.

TO Seventies

October 25th, 2011
12:32 pm

Every teams players will be better in two years, including Clemson’s and Miami. One thing for sure, no blame will ever attach to Paul Johnson. He says he takes responsibility, but then blames everyone else. No fault to his wonderful system that scored 7 points last week due to special teams, bad player, whatever. Surly as Saban but without the quality wins.

Jacket Dad

October 25th, 2011
12:34 pm

I know Johnson has many challenges at Tech, but seriously – our special teams have cost us dearly the past few years and yes, they are getting worse! And the offense is taking a nose-dive. They appear to have no confidence. The only area that has shown growth is the D.

Johnson’s (lack of) adjustments and play calling lately have brought a real sense of wonder and dread. We are a very young team that needs to build some confidence – hope he figures out how to do that.

Supersize that order, mutt

October 25th, 2011
12:34 pm

I don’t get where you guys say that Johnson doesn’t take responsibility. Did he single out Laskey for more than just the obvious? Did he throw him under the bus? NO !!!!

fan of shorter passes (as short as necessary!)

October 25th, 2011
12:35 pm

Mister Ed, you might be needing a Tums or Rolaids following that tirade during lunch.

Cheer up…Johnson has not revealed his secret air attack for Saturday…it may be similar to shock and awe! A wise man once said, You never know!

GTBEE

October 25th, 2011
12:39 pm

GTBob,

Ever hear of a guy who also had an era prior to CPJ? His name is Bobby Ross and he still wears a National Championship Ring with a bog GT on it!

Buzzpilot

October 25th, 2011
12:45 pm

It is not the plan that is bad on special teams, it’s the consistancy of exicution and headwork! Both of those are directly connected to coaching!! A player attempting to field a punt inside the 10 yard line with Miami players all around him has not had it drilled into his head by a coach what he should do.

Kicking and punting requires sickening consistancy of exicution. Just recruting a kid and sending him onto the corner of the practice field to work by himself, obviously does not work! There needs to be close attention by a dedicated coach who uses tools like close up video and constant feedback on doing the right fundamentals time and time again. We dont need a punter to boom it 50 yards all the time, he obviously has the skill he just does not do it consistently and that means coaching him up!

Show the players that Special Teams are indead important to you and the game and name a coach who’s primary job is coaching special teams. He can have another duty but it should be minor and not take up too much of his time during games and practice time.

We are Ga Tech, we can not reqruit partial qualifiers, JUCO transfers and kids who can hardly read and write. There is no excuse for dumb headwork mistakes!! We need to coach up our 3 and 4 star players to play smarter than their 4 and 5 star players in order to compete. We can not just do what other schools are doing in coaching or we will have many more games like last Saturday!

Paul Johnson you are great, but you can not do it all yourself. Delegate and hold your assistants accountable and work on fixing the problems with you teams exicution on offense!!

Hayseed Dixie

October 25th, 2011
12:51 pm

@Big Ed

Your football IQ is pretty low. Out of high school Stephen Hill was about as desirable a WR as you’re gonna get, period. UGA certainly wanted him. He might not be a next-level starter- but at the very *least* he’ll walk on an NFL team.

@Born2Buzz

You’re welcome, glad to see that these boards aren’t completely bereft of perspective. Yeah, losing sucks, but it sucks worse for Tevin, I can guarantee that. The Institute, and these young men, are far more important than what happens on the field.

And the Cheetah was too rich for my blood, anyway. Don’t take a UGA sidewalk fan to the Pink Pony, however, they’ll see a person of color and think they’re gonna get mugged. They’ll blow the whole evening. Wimps.

GTBob

October 25th, 2011
12:55 pm

GTBEE, I remember Bobby Ross and that one great year he had. I also remember the 4 typical Tech years he had. His overall winning percentage was 100 points less then what CPJ is currently at. CPJ actually has the highest winning percentage of any coach at GT since Bobby Dodd, but yeah we should fire him since he lost to Miami.

BankerDawg

October 25th, 2011
1:09 pm

Troubling statements, imo.

How can you fix something when you are apparently unable to even admit that there is a problem? Sounds like CPJ is paying lip service here, which surprises me a bit.

I said on an earlier blog that special teams cost you the Miami game. Without the muff and the squib, you may still beat them in spite of the poor offensive effort. We’ll never know.

Heck, it’s hard to tell. Blair Walsh is 12/20 for us this year…who saw that coming?

Good luck against Clemmons.

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DAWGS! SIC ‘EM!

QB/DB

October 25th, 2011
1:09 pm

CPJ could be a GREAT COACH he is a wizaed in the TOS but what holds him back is he is too ole and stubbon to have any flexability and that what keeps him and CAG from being great coaches. They know there stuff but times change and you have to adapt a little. CPJ won’t bulge and in every facet of life sometimes you have to even when you think you are right. Just look at a marriage sometimes you have to give a little to your spouse. Please CPJ just bend a little on recruiting, passing game, a little 4-3 D. hype to generate emotion. Please just a lttle, pretty please.