Paul Johnson Q&A, Part 4

Fourth segment of interview with Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson. This portion deals largely with the quarterbacks, including the upcoming competition in spring practice.

Q: Going into spring practice, where do you have to get better?

A: We’ve got to get better at everything. It’s like when you watch the thing, we weren’t as good at running the triple (option) as we need to be by any stretch. Certainly, we need to be more efficient throwing and the same things every year. I don’t know that it’ll ever change. It’s always going to be like that.

Defensively, you (have to) get better at rushing the passer, being consistent tackling, better in special teams. There’s no any area I can say, ‘Oh, wow, we’re really good there.’ We were pretty good offensively on third downs. I think we led the country or were second (in third-down conversion rate). We probably were in the top 3 or 4 in (fewest offensive) three-and-outs. That’s always a positive. You’d like to get more three-and-outs on defense.

Q: The problems in the passing game, would you say it was a system-wide matter?

A: I don’t know if you can say it’s system-wide or not. We were pretty efficient the first four or five games.

Q: I mean, would you say it was system-wide as opposed to just one player or a position group?

A: Talent, too. I think as the competition level got better, we weren’t quite as good. We could do it against some people and other people, we struggled. Sometimes, it’s matchups and different things. You’re always looking for what will help you in that area. Can you tweak things? Can you do some things that will help you?

Q: How close is Tevin Washington to his ceiling?

A: I don’t know. I think he got a lot better. I think he’ll have to continue to get better or he’ll get passed. But he’s had a knack for doing that. I don’t think anybody thought he would be the quarterback last year and he didn’t let the guys beat him out. I’m sure in their mind, they’re coming this spring to beat him out right now. There’s probably two or three that think they can beat him out. (But) they’ve got to do it. And we’d be a better team if they do. And it’ll make him better fighting ‘em off. Competition’s a great thing.

Q: I imagine the quarterback competition is one you’re looking forward to a lot, especially given the hand you have in coaching those players.

A: I have not had the time to work with those guys like I have in the past. It’s something I miss. I’d like to get more time to do that. Brian (Bohannon) is pretty much coaching them. There’s so much going on (as head coach). You can stick your head in now and then, and during the game, I call the pays and I do that, but during the week, I don’t get to spend a lot of time with them, not like you’d like to.

Q: Do you have any plans to change that?

A: You always have the intention of it changing, but part of being the head coach is you’ve got a lot of other duties. You’re not the quarterback coach. You’ve got a lot of things that happen, a lot of things you’re dealing with. That’s why you hire a guy to do it and you’ve got to trust them to do it.

Q: I remember you telling a story about (former Georgia Southern coach) Erk Russell telling you after you’d become head coach to work with the quarterbacks, because that’s what you do best…

A: I watch practice every day and I’m around the drills and I’m always watching. If I need to go get involved, I will, but Brian’s been doing it now for four years and he knows what he’s doing. He knows what we’re trying to accomplish. You have to trust that he’s going to do a good job with them. I think he does.

Q: Where do Synjyn Days and Vad Lee have to get better?

A: Just get more consistent and be better. They’re both athletic and they bring something to the table. Synjyn’s a really strong runner, big. Needs to take better care of the ball, be consistent that way. I think for Vad, it’s just playing, learning the system. I would hope that he’s going to look a lot different this spring than you would expect a true freshman to come in in the fall.

You’ve got Dennis Andrews in here now. He’s going to be a little bit behind, then you’ve got Justin (Thomas), who’ll come in in the fall. Hopefully, this spring, we can sort out the Vad-Synjyn deal and know where that stands. And as compared to Tevin, we’ll see where they stand.

If both of ‘em beat him out, then we’ll see where you go, but you’d hope within 15 days, they’ll start to give you some idea of how that’ going to unfold.

Q: Are you hoping that after spring practice, you’ll have a good feel for who’s going to be the guy?

A: I don’t know if in 15 practices, if you’re going to know that, but certainly, you’ll be a lot closer to it than you would otherwise. What we’ve got to do is find a way in the spring to make sure that we give ‘em enough reps to get ‘em a chance to do it. Tevin’s played a lot; he might be the guy that gets less reps because he knows the system.

When we scrimmage on Saturday mornings, he may get a series or two with the [first string]. We’ll see how it goes. But you’ve got to let the other two guys play if you’re going to find out who’s going to be the better of the two.

Q: There was a school of thought that you might have been better served if Lee had gotten playing time early. I’m wondering what you thought about that.

A: We were one penalty away from probably winning our division and going to the ACC championship. At what point would have put him in? The other kid (Washington) was leading the country in passing efficiency for six weeks. He was 6-0. Are you going to take him out and put a true freshman in?

You’re not going to waste a year of eligibility to put him in in the fourth quarter when you’re ahead 70-20. I mean, I’m not. It’s like, in my mind, we didn’t even get Synjyn in enough. There’s no way you’re going to get three of them enough reps.

Thanks for reading. Part 5, which I think will be the last one, will be posted Wednesday morning.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

264 comments Add your comment

5150 UOAD

March 6th, 2012
12:04 pm

SuperS Chip lets WnE/Thomas Brown stay. He has never banned him.

Supersize that order, mutt

March 6th, 2012
12:06 pm

UOAD, if WnE posts the same crap on Chip’s blogs that he posts here, then that doesn’t surprise me at all.

HighTech

March 6th, 2012
12:07 pm

Supersize…it might be interesting to look on Chip’s blog to see if any of WnE’s alter egos, buLLdawg or Thomas Brown, are allowed to post there. I think I’ve seen Thomas Brown there before.

FL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
12:09 pm

What was the link to WnE’s twitter thread to Vad Lee again?

HighTech

March 6th, 2012
12:10 pm

Speaking of WnE, didn’t FL Jacket mention yes_ter_day that WnE always disappears this time of day? Must be the fry cooker beeping.

roadrunner

March 6th, 2012
12:10 pm

If you have a receiver with 4.3 speed, most coaches would try to get the ball to him more than 1 or 2 times per game.

GIVE ME A BREAK

March 6th, 2012
12:12 pm

The penalty CPJ is talking about was a dumb move by a good player. The officials had no choice but to make the call. Easily the one penalty that should not have happened. I’m excited about the QB competition. Hill caught all 12 passes at Pro Day at GT. I wish he had come back as a senior. I hope he has great success in the NFL.

GTBob

March 6th, 2012
12:16 pm

For anyone who wants to know what kind of guy WnE is, here is a recap of his twitter barrage on Vad Lee. All posts were made in 2 days:

@VadLee02 make sure you ask CPJ Y his OL cannot pass block after 36+ months in HIS SYSTEM, & make sure you ask Claytor Y he is leaving

@VadLee02 and while u r at it, ask Tarrant Y he is leaving also, aks CPJ Y all of his QBs cannot learn to pass after 36 of playng QB for GT

@VadLee02 I was lookn at GT’s WRs comn bck they have Hill, Moore, McKayhan, Melton + scrubs, I wonder how any QB can ball w/no WRs?

@VadLee02 Kinda hard 2 become an NFL QB with no TEs @ GT 2 thrw 2 & no Screen Passes 2 throw, esp. since the HC nevr calls 4 screen passes.

@VadLee02 since u in town ask Josh how good does he think the pass blocking will be next yr. with D1-AA-sized O-linemn, 4 that fact in 2012?

@VadLee02 Thnk abt your NFL $, CPJ gets D1-AA-sz OLs to cut-blk to keep his $ com’n in, his OLs r 4 HIS SYSTEM, not to get U 2 the NFL @ QB?

@VadLee02 D1-AA sz OLs vs. Real DLs at VT, The U, UGAy, Klimpsn means no passng for GT QBs, no passng means NO NFL $$$, U a Athl. or a QB?

@VadLee02 Whose future paychk is more important your or CPJ’s, Cam is 6-6 250 he can play in a spread & still get NFL $$, can U at 6-2 200?

@VadLee02 QBs your SIZE NEED 2 be in a real Pro-Style Offense 2 learn what the NFL is lookng 4, you don’t want size & system 2 go against U

@VadLee02 I hope U make great choices in life young man, but do U really think that those 2011 Recruits 4 GT can play w/Bama/L$U/Auburn/UF?

@VadLee02 If U plan on going 2 war with those types of Recruits in a BCS Conf,U better get used 2 “lower-tier Bowls”, no BCS & Prime-Time 4U

Vad Lee finally asks him to stop.

@VadLee02, I respect your request, I’ll never tweet U again, I will chk bck in 3-yrs. to C what your NFL chances R at QB from a Optn Offense

Ghost

March 6th, 2012
12:17 pm

I hope PJ stays at Tech a very long . Much rather have Georgia face Pj coached teams with Pj recruited players.

HighTech

March 6th, 2012
12:19 pm

Ghost…we’re hoping CPJ stays at Tech a very long, too. Much rather have Georgie face Pj teams than Gailey teams.

GTBob

March 6th, 2012
12:19 pm

What was the link to WnE’s twitter thread to Vad Lee again?

http://twitter.com/#!/WrecksNEffect

Read around Jan 16th 2011. 12 posts in 2 days until Vad finally asked him to stop. It included gems like:

D1-AA sz OLs vs. Real DLs at VT, The U, UGAy, Klimpsn means no passng for GT QBs, no passng means NO NFL $$$, U a Athl. or a QB?

Mark in ATL

March 6th, 2012
12:19 pm

…just wonder how this prickly personality is going to play out over a number of years….it was great the first year after beating Ga but now it could rub people the wrong way.

Supersize that order, mutt

March 6th, 2012
12:19 pm

speaking of disappearing, it’s time to get some lunch and go vote. Talk to you guys later

GTGreg

March 6th, 2012
12:20 pm

Hey roadrunner… if you have a receiver with 4.3 speed that continually makes boneheaded drops, at what number of attempts do you reach diminishing returns by throwing to him?

FL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
12:22 pm

Good lord…where is our Chip Towers banning anything less than “groupthink” on our own blog?

FL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
12:24 pm

roadrunner…

You’d figure CMR would stop throwing the ball to a TE that can’t even break 4.7 in the 40.

FL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
12:25 pm

Mark…

Very little CPJ does rubs anyone the wrong way for Tech fans…

GT fan

March 6th, 2012
12:27 pm

Does anyone know what his/her handle “WnE” stands for?

HighTech

March 6th, 2012
12:29 pm

I think it stands for WieniE.

gt4ever

March 6th, 2012
12:32 pm

@Wne

Joe Hamilton would have never been a QB at Alabama…. He seemed to work out just fine… I think he was runner up for the Heisman….

5150 UOAD

March 6th, 2012
12:33 pm

WrecksNEffect

Ghost

March 6th, 2012
12:37 pm

High tech, me too, IMHO Chans teams had better talent and matched up better against Georgia. I am on the keep PJ bandwagon.

GT fan

March 6th, 2012
12:41 pm

Tracy Ham & Raymond Gross were two great DUAL-threat QBs who made the TO darn near impossible to defend. I’d even go so far as to suggest that most, if not all, losses under those 2 greats was a direct result of turnovers, not the opponent’s defense.

PJ is going to get a TH or RG at Tech. Who knows, there might be one there now??

PJ’s teams at GT have won 34 games in 4 years. And that’s with 3 QB completion % in the 40s and one in the 30s. When GT gets a QB to 50-55% for a season it’s going to be a DC’s worst nightmare having to defend the TO.

HighTech

March 6th, 2012
12:42 pm

Ghost…what was Chan’s record against UGA? What is CPJ’s?

GTBob

March 6th, 2012
12:43 pm

IMHO Chans teams had better talent and matched up better against Georgia. I am on the keep PJ bandwagon.

Chan’s teams went 7-5 every year and never beat UGA. What exactly were you watching?

HighTech

March 6th, 2012
12:44 pm

GTBob…I’m glad your posts finally made it through. Hard to understand how someone can claim to be a fan of a program and then try to undermine recruiting efforts.

5150 UOAD

March 6th, 2012
12:45 pm

Chan didn’t get better recruits. He got basically the same ANY Tech coach will get. The kids that want to play and don’t want to go to the SEC.

Who's your Daddy Wne?

March 6th, 2012
12:48 pm

they had WnE, his mom and 6 men on Maury. today….

sad but looks like WnE and his mom will have to do it all over again.

these hash browns are for you.

FL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
12:50 pm

Chan got the same recruits middling programs like Lousiville, Pittsburgh, or NC State get. They get a handful of 4-star guys (maybe even a 5-star guy), a couple 3-star…but the vast majority were projects and lesser talented guys. For every Calvin Johnson he recruited an I-Perfection Harris…

roadrunner

March 6th, 2012
12:52 pm

@ fla jackoff: You must have trouble reading.I wasn’t talking about CMR, I was talking about CPJ.

HighTech

March 6th, 2012
12:55 pm

FL Jacket…looks like your rock hit a dog.

Fix my computer, Geek Squad

March 6th, 2012
12:56 pm

“The problems in the passing game, would you say it was a system-wide matter?”

How could their be any other answer but yes?

“We were one penalty away from probably winning our division and going to the ACC championship.”

Yeah, it was just that one penalty, nothing else at all.

5150 UOAD

March 6th, 2012
12:57 pm

roadrunner…like Bobo let 35:55minute MURRAY get the to ball to the Other Teams Defenders a few times a game?

nice play on FLA Jackets name. I guess you are a great one handed typist because you put FLA’s pun name to a lot of use.

HighTech

March 6th, 2012
12:58 pm

How could their be any other answer but yes?
———————————————–
That’s funny.

5150 UOAD

March 6th, 2012
12:59 pm

Fix my computer, Geek Squad…it is not your computer the STUPID button seems to be working just fine.

George Stein

March 6th, 2012
12:59 pm

Don’t hate on I-Perfection Harris, FLJ. That was one of the most creative names I’ve ever heard.

I have to say, though, that Euclid Cummings is the most appropriate name for a GT player ever.

FL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
1:00 pm

roadrunner…stay classy

FL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
1:03 pm

George…

I will point out that the 2007 recruiting class was Chan’s last, yet far and away the finest, within 6 years. It took lots of momentum to get to the point where we actually beat UGA in the recruiting rankings (as arbitrary as those are).

I think the 2013 class might approach that 2007 class, definitely not in numbers, but in sheer talent. But it takes years of momentum and stability to get to that point.

are you serious ghost? really?

March 6th, 2012
1:06 pm

obviously you’re a fan of chan…

in 7 games against uga chan went 0 ‘fer 7. uga averaged 28 points a game while we averaged 12. this included a series worst drubbing of 51-7.

under cpj we have gone 1-3 and been in position to win 2 of the 3 losses in the last minute. uga has averaged 36 points a game and we have averaged 30 points a game,.

i guess when you hate a coach you cant see the forest through the trees.

George Stein

March 6th, 2012
1:08 pm

I agree completely with that, FLJ. It took George a long time to develop the relationships with the high schools before he started getting guys like Daryl Smith and Key Fox. And folks forget that Joe Hamilton wasn’t exactly a five star guy coming out of high school. Anyone interested in facts knows Johnson has recruited at roughly the same level as his predecessors, but he’s outperformed them on the field.

The issue the people have with Johnson – in my opinion – is that they struggle with things that aren’t conventional. His offense, his personality, etc. are not conventional. But, I think when you’re competing with others, there are two ways to be successful. One is to do the same thing they’re doing, but do it better. The other way is to do something different. I prefer folks who aren’t afraid to choose the latter.

gtTat

March 6th, 2012
1:12 pm

Stephen Hill is the fastest man at the NFL Combine and at 6′5 should have been a scoring machine. I believe the drops were due to lack of game passes. He wasn’t thrown to enough. If you only see one or two passes per quarter, you won’t be accustomed to catching with opposition.

Secondly, Jemea Thomas, the BEST defensive player on the team, was NOT a starter!!!

There are enough obstacles. We don’t have to handicap ourselves. CPJ will continue to lose as long as he underutilizes his best players.

FL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
1:13 pm

George…

The thing ignorant bloggers conveniently forget is that under CGO and CCG our APR scores were teetering on disastrous levels further jeopardizing the program from competing. It happened once under CGO’s and CBC’s watch already.

So you either play the same game as everyone else, where your academic expectations handicap you from the outset, or you do something totally different and maximize returns in both areas.

Dallas Jacket

March 6th, 2012
1:14 pm

Hey WnE
The “Offense” is 1-11 vs. top-50 defenses over the last 2 seasons!

Why don’t you include all 4 years. His offense was 4-0 vs top-50 defenses in 2009. You are not the only one who can go to ncaa.org and look up stats. Just don’t tweak the stats to fit your agenda.

George Stein

March 6th, 2012
1:16 pm

In general I agree, FLJ, except that I think APR is a terrible way of measuring academic progress. But then, just about anything the NCAA touches is FUBAR. I really have no use for those fools.

FL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
1:16 pm

gtTat…

Obviously we were watching different games, because you missed 2 separate wide open TD drops against UNC and Clemson.

Then again, this might blow you away. Best player on the team and NFL Combine warrior are rarely one and the same…

George Stein

March 6th, 2012
1:18 pm

Now, now, Dallas Jacket, you can’t use facts.

Also, it’s insane to use the traditional metrics for determining defensive performance. Let’s use Clemson as an example. They run a high tempo offense, which means they will run more plays and have more possessions. It also means the other team will, too. It should come as no surprise to anyone with a brain, then, that their opponents will score more points and accrue more yards than they would against a team that uses a more traditional offense.

FL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
1:19 pm

George…

I know the APR penalizes you for early graduations, but the scores for football are actually quite competitive now and continuing to rise. Lots of people do understand that the general student graduation rate really isn’t all that great either…especially compared to private schools where the hardest part there is simply getting in.

5150 UOAD

March 6th, 2012
1:23 pm

Fla jacket i saw a report that said the average tech student takes 5 years 2 semesters to graduate from Tech. Having the student athletes do it in 5 years is impressive to me.

George Stein

March 6th, 2012
1:23 pm

Agreed, FLJ.

Ramblin Man

March 6th, 2012
1:25 pm

Has anybody else heard or read that the BIG 10 is pushing hard to add GT, Maryland, ND, and another team by 2016?

Oh and don’t point out that WeeniE called Hill a scrub at one time, he always knew Hill was 1st round potentiol and CPJ wasted his talent. How many times does Weenie have to tell you guys how great and smart he is before you get it?