Paul Johnson Q&A, Part 5

Q: Who’s the best player on the team?

A: I don’t know. Be hard to say. I have the coaches rate ‘em.  You’d be surprised who they thought. What is it, nine coaches? There’s a lot of different opinions.

Q: Is it by position, or overall?

A: I have ‘em rate ‘em all. Rate the offense and the defense. I let the defensive coaches rate the offense. They do ‘em both. It’s always interesting to see everybody’s take, who they think are good. (A player that) some guys might have had as 1,  the other guy has as 12. It’s like with a girl – beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

Q: You rank them 1 through 85?

A: You can have anybody you want. Take the offense, rank ‘em 1 through, whatever, 30. Guys who play. Take the defense, rank ‘em 1-30.

Q: Is that a common practice?

A: Probably a lot of people do that. I’ve done that for a long time. It’s just interesting to me to see. Then you can get the comprehensive averages and you just kind of see. Because you develop relationships with those guys as your position coach that sometimes somebody from afar looks at them differently.

So, one thing about being a head coach that I really miss and that you see and you try not to override the assistant coaches unless it’s really obvious to you that somebody’s better, but from a distance, I miss the close relationships you have when you’re at a position because you can’t have that relationship with 120 guys.

But I can also stand and watch practice and I don’t meet with them every day,  so I may have an opinion on who’s the better player unbiased. The personal feelings don’t come into it. And for the most part, you try to let the assistant coaches, you go with what they think unless you just see a guy and you think, ‘This guy needs to play.’ Then you go, ‘Why is he not playing?’ and he needs to play. But that doesn’t happen very often.

Q: Can you tell me anything about the list?

A: (Shaking his head). I don’t want the kids to know.

Q: Has that ever helped you make decisions about playing time?

A: It’s just there. it’s just interesting to see what their perception is. Alot of times, it’s a lot different because the offensive coaches will have different offensive kids ranked first as opposed to what the defensive coaches will have. Inevitably, what happens is sometimes guys are scout-team All-Americans where they’re on the scout team and they run off a card and they don’t have to think.

Nothing happens if they do it wrong or they drop a ball and all of the sudden they become really good. Now you get in the (offensive) system and you’re not as good. Same thing on defense. If I line up over there and I’m the free safety running the alley and I don’t care if they throw it over my head (because) I’m on the scout team, well, I can blow people up on the line of scrimmage like crazy.

So if I’m the offensive line coach, I’m thinking, Man, that guy’s really good. But in essence, when he gets in a real game and he has to worry about not getting it thrown over his head, he’s not nearly as fast coming up there. So it’s just a process there. It’s nothing more. We don’t go off of that. I don’t go off of that.

Q: How does the competition at safety look? I know Fred Holton is coming back from his Achilles injury.

A: Fred’ll be back and we’re excited about him. We may have to move some guys around. There were some freshmen that were redshirted. The goal is to get the best players on the field. If Rod Sweeting, Louis Young and Jemea Thomas are the best players, common sense would tell you one of them might need to be the other safety.

If you’re going to play with five (defensive backs), then maybe it’s Fred, maybe Fred’s better than them at safety. Maybe it’s whoever, some of those freshmen – Domonique Nobles, Jamal Golden, Corey Dennis, there’s a lot of those guys. Chris Milton. I think we’ve got some pretty good athletes back there. That’s what spring football’s for. Somebody’s going to come out of the blue. They always do.

Q: Chris is at safety?

A: Chris is at corner, safety but they’re interchangeable. Corey Dennis is back there. I’ve already moved Zach Laskey. He’s going back to running back.

Q: What about wide receiver?

A: I think we’ve got some good players. We’ll see what they do. We’ve got some talented freshmen. It’s Chris Jackson’s turn to step up. We’ll see if he will. Jeremy Moore has been hurt, hasn’t played. Now he’s got a chance. You couple that with the freshmen, I’m not worried about that. I think we’ll be fine.

Q: What about B-back. I imagine you’re hoping Charles Perkins pushes David Sims.

A: We’ve got three or four guys. You’ve got David Sims, you’ve got Charles, you’ve got Zach Laskey. Broderick Snoddy could play there, maybe. He might. Who knows? That’s what he played in high school. So there’ll be competition there.

Q: And inside linebacker?

A: We’ve got a bunch of guys. Julian didn’t play the last three quarters of the bowl game. You’ve got (Daniel) Drummond, Quayshawn (Nealy), Jabari (Hunt-Days), who redshirted, Anthony Harrell, Tremayne McNair. Those outside (linebacker) guys can go in there (also). We’ve got more depth than we’ve ever had. We’ve about got the numbers to where you want them, per position.

Q: I’ve heard good things about Jabari.

A: He’s a test freak. He needs to take it to the field. He’s an imposing-looking, good-looking (player). We’ve never had guys who look like him play. He’s 240 pounds, can run, 6-2, 6-3. I mean, he’s an imposing guy. How quickly can he take it to the field?

Q: Could Izaan Cross play at nose tackle?

A: He could. There again, you want to get your best players on the field, so we’ll see how it unfolds. There’s a bunch of those guys on scholarship. ‘Too Tall’ (Emmanuel Dieke) has played a lot, Euclid (Cumming) has played a lot, T.J. (Barnes) has played a lot. We need to get something out of Shawn Green. Anthony Williams. All those guys have played. Chris Crenshaw’s played. Jimmie Kitchens will be back out here in the fall. We’ve got four coming in.

Q: Could any of the incoming freshmen play?

A: We’ll see. If they end up being one of the six best (they will).

Q: Is it easier for a true freshman to come in play as an end or a tackle?

A: I don’t think it matters.

Q: I’ve seen Pat Gamble listed as both a nose tackle and defensive end.

A: He’s a defensive end.

Q: With Shawn Green, does he just need to get better?

A: He needs to get in shape. Once he gets in shape, he got hurt, broke his leg and that hurt. I don’t know that he’s ever been in shape to play. We’ve got to do a better job. He’s got to do a better job.

Q: With T.J. Barnes, it looks like a matter of consistency.

A: He’s to the point where this is his chance. Do you want to be a 15-play a game guy or do you want to play? We’ll see how hard he works in the spring and summer.

Q: If you look at him, it looks like he has what you’d want at that position.

A: He’s a big kid, but Shawn Green, he might have been the best defensive lineman in the state coming out. Anthony Williams was a heck of a player in high school, heavily-recruited kid.

Thanks for reading. The sixth segment will be posted Thursday morning.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

355 comments Add your comment

Supersize that order, mutt

March 7th, 2012
2:45 pm

BGA, he “succeeded” in that he did (for the most part) what was expected of him. Could he have been better? Yes, probably. But again I ask how do you know it was the coaching and not just something inside Hill himself? Thomas had the same coaching, and he apparently also had something within himself that demanded and produced excellence. That is a quality that you cannot coach; it is a part of the maturation process. Maybe Thomas matured earlier than Hill has, but the combine has certainly shown that he is in the process of doing that. Did Thomas receive any national awards? I don’t remember for sure, but I don’t think that he did, but you certainly cannot say that he did not succeed at Tech. Hill’s success wasn’t as great as Thomas, but his future may turn out to be as good.

Supersize that order, mutt

March 7th, 2012
2:47 pm

@ don’t believe….., I think you mean they are like democratic politicians who will say anything they want to say but when presented with the facts try to bully their way out of it

hey WnE do you project much?

March 7th, 2012
2:49 pm

“But I’m sure that there’s a b00t-licking-to@dy somewhere that will offer up some sort of excuse as to WHY these types of things should NOT fall at CPJ’s feet.”

“Projection is a type of defense mechanism. In projection, a person experiences an emotion or thought that they aren’t able to cope with. So, instead, they perceive the thought or feeling as if it had come from someone else. One example of this mechanism is the person who is angry at a friend, but does not feel comfortable with feelings of anger in himself. He may instead deny these feelings and imagine that his friend is the angry one”.

BGA

March 7th, 2012
2:50 pm

super every year i watch the draft. and whenever it’s a key position like qb, running back, wide receiver or a top pass rusher, i know where the guy played if taken in round 1. julio. check. aj check. crabtree. check. yet this year, hills name will be called and if i didn’t live in ga, i probably wouldn’t know who he is unless i was a fan of vt miami etc. bottom line is tech coaches did a horrible job of coaching him. i guarantee you over the past 25 years, there has never been a player at a div 1 school who was projected to be a 4-6 round pick at wide receiver and he moves up to likely first round after the combine. never. wake up to pj. the guy is a stubborn mule. look at special teams as an example. mark bradley said for 2 years they needed one and he just brushed it off with his no were fine. when they obviously weren;t. i am saying the same thing re receivers now. hell hire terrance mathis. the guy obviosuly does a better job than anyone at gt.

supersize here is where you an i disagree...

March 7th, 2012
2:51 pm

if you are a republican have mercy on your soul.

only bullies i have seen lately are named gingrich santorum and rush limbaugh.

BGA

March 7th, 2012
2:55 pm

super thomas had 46 receptions in his last year at tech. hill had 28. thomas got the chance to prove it on the field. hill didn’t. 28 catches in 13 games is a 2.15 avg and you think gt coaches utilized him well. terrance mathis proves this as false.

WnE

March 7th, 2012
2:55 pm

You’re WRONG supersize

Bay Bay SUFFERED the same exact way that Hill did but on a lesser level.

Going into the Combine/Proday workouts time frame Thomas was only thought of as a 3rd round prospect, and the his personal workouts with his trainers ELEVATED him to 1st round draft grade.

Hill had a 4th to 6th round draft grade based on college film, both of those guys made their MONEY/draft grade from being physical freaks:

6-3 235lbs running a 4.38 for Thomas

6-4 215lbs. running a 4.36 for Hill

GT’s SYSTEM and their game film did them NO FAVORS at all

They both made their draft grades through Personal workouts & testing away from GT & CPJ.

Bay Bay was not thought of as sure fire 1st round pick based on his game film from GT, that is is a LIE that the CPJ supporters have put out to cover for CPJ once again.

Supersize that order, mutt

March 7th, 2012
2:56 pm

BGA, one thing we obviously agree on is that CPJ is stubborn, but I have no problem with that for the most part. I HAVE questioned some of his play calling, and I DID think it was unreasonable of him not to want a ST coach. But one thing about the ST coach argument is that few schools in the country actually do have a dedicated ST coach. VT doesn’t have one—-that’s why it’s called Beamer ball; Beamer coaches STs there. CPJ apparently thought (WRONGLY) that either he or his assistants could handle that. I’m glad he woke up and hired one. I don’t know if we need a better receivers coach or not, but I DO think we could benefit from a dedicated QB coach who would teach our QBs how to pass out of CPJ’s offense, so that when they DO pass, they will hit the receivers with better accuracy. That won’t happen, but it would probably be a big plus.

BGA

March 7th, 2012
2:57 pm

and i might add stephen had a more accurate passer in tw than thomas did in nesbitt. but what the heck. pj and his staff did awesome with hill! never mind the facts. nevermind paul told him to stay another year and now he’s a projected first rounder. just shows how much pj knows about receivers. no wonder he left.

Supersize that order, mutt

March 7th, 2012
2:58 pm

BGA, the number of passes thrown to Thomas vs Hill doesn’t say a thing about the receivers coach, who is the one you have been trashing. What it says is that either CPJ didn’t want TW to throw more, or he wanted him to and he (TW) couldn’t.

George Stein

March 7th, 2012
3:01 pm

C’mon, WnE. Own up to what you have said.

In WnE’s mind, it’s the system that is responsible for success. Wonder where Russell Shepard is gonna get drafted?

BGA

March 7th, 2012
3:02 pm

gotta say wne is 100% spot on re dem thomas. he was not a first rounder after techs season. but at least he had twice as many catches for scouts to look at. even with a less accurate qb. some of you can deny the truth but pj and his staff have done a horrible job with the receivers here and utilizing them. i can only wonder what they could have done here had a guy like mathis been here to coach them at tech. paul just tells them to run downfield and if they are open, then maybe they will get the ball.

George Stein

March 7th, 2012
3:02 pm

Also, if you believe anything Mel Kiper says, he thought Hill could have been a first rounder next year based on his tape. Not sure how WnE squares that with his insane comments.

Supersize that order, mutt

March 7th, 2012
3:03 pm

BGA, I agree that TW is a better passer than Nesbitt, from a technical point of view. But I think that Nesbitt executed passing plays better than TW does, if you get what I am trying to say. Nesbitt’s accuracy was abysmal, but IF he had been more accurate, then he would have been a better passing QB in CPJ’s overall offensive scheme than TW

HighTech

March 7th, 2012
3:05 pm

Attaochu should never have had that penalty called on him. The refs should have blown the play dead before it got as far as it did. Bad calls by the refs ruined Tech’s chances to play in the ACC championship game.

BGA

March 7th, 2012
3:07 pm

it does super if that coach didn’t think he was a good option to throw to. doh

Supersize that order, mutt

March 7th, 2012
3:09 pm

well, BGA, and others, I am out of here for the rest of the afternoon. Nothing was settled, nor will it ever be, but it’s been enjoyable for the most part.

Supersize that order, mutt

March 7th, 2012
3:10 pm

BGA, before I go, it may be not that CPJ didn’t think Hill was a good option to throw to, but that he thought TW couldn’t get the pass off to begin with.

BGA

March 7th, 2012
3:10 pm

i have no clue what you mean super about executing them. you drop back and then you throw it. nesbitt’s passing % was in the 40’s % wise. I think tw is in the mid 50’s %. big difference. the fact hill only had 28 catches last season speaks volumes about the coaching. they wasted a star and you and many others are content with that. lucky two tech friends i know agree with me on this. this board is full of diehard gt pumper cheerleaders who are biased. not saying you are that but many are.

Delbert D.

March 7th, 2012
3:11 pm

Look at this list and take a stab at how many of the players were 4 and 5-star recruits in high school. Also, at least 10 of the schools are not high profile “system” schools, yet the players succeeded in making it to the NFL.

Best schools/conferences to attend to make the Falcons team:

# Players – School
3 – Alabama
3 – Georgia Tech
3 – Miami
3 – South Carolina
3 – Wake Forest
2 – Cal
2 – Fresno St.
2 – Louisville
2 – Missouri
2 – Montana
2 – North Carolina
2 – Oklahoma
2 – Oregon St.
2 – Stanford

1 – Baylor, Bethune-Cookman, Boise ST., Boston College, Clemson, Florida, Florida St., Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, Miss. St., N. Illinois, Notre Dame, Oregon, Purdue, Richmond, San Jose St., Shippensburg, South Florida, Texas, UAB, UNLV, USC, Virginia, VaTech

# Players – Conference
16 – ACC
14 – SEC
9 – PAC-12
7 – Big-12
3 – Big Ten
3 – WAC
2 – Big East
2 – Big Sky
2 – MWC
2 – WAC
1 – Atlantic 10 *
1 – C-USA
1- Independent
1 – MAC
1 – MEAC *
1 – PSAC **

* FCS
** Div II

This is based on the Falcons roster on 11-29-2011

George Stein

March 7th, 2012
3:12 pm

So let me get this straight, Delbert. You can have ACC Speed, which is apparently good enough to qualify as NFL Speed, but not good enough to qualify as SEC Speed?

GTfan2012

March 7th, 2012
3:14 pm

Don’t bother with WnE. True GT fans realize that CPJ isn’t a perfect coach. I am more than willing to admit that at times he has been stubborn. The recent move to hire a ST teams coach probably should have happened a year ago. His play calling has sometimes gotten repetitive (UGA game in 2009 where we threw 4 straight passes on our last offensive possession or the Sun Bowl game where we became overly reliant on the “safe” B-back dive due in part to Orwin’s injury). But he won an ACC title in 2009, Won 8 games in 2008 and 2011. I think 2012 and 2013 will go a long way towards seeing how far GT has come under CPJ. If we can win 8-9 games in 2012, that would be a success. If we can build on that in 2013, and compete for an ACC title, that would be a success. Conversly, if we win only win 6 or 7 games in 2012 and then can’t bounce back in 2013, CPJ’s job could definitely be in jeopardy.

Supersize that order, mutt

March 7th, 2012
3:14 pm

BGA, Tech QB’s under CPJ seldom simply drop back and pass; that is not the nature of his offense. Almost all of TW’s and Nesbitt’s passes came out of some variation of the triple option formation, and the QB is almost always on the move. What I am saying is that Nesbitt could pass out of that formation better than TW does, but with less accuracy. Nesbitt was able to more smoothly avoid defenders coming at him than TW does; he just wasn’t too accurate much of the time

HighTech

March 7th, 2012
3:15 pm

I am diehard GT and I am completely biased in my views.

I’m glad BGA knows two tech friends.

Ramblin Man

March 7th, 2012
3:17 pm

BGA are you saying that CPJ should have told his best WR to leave for the NFL? Do you really believe that any college coach encourages thier best players to leave early? Come on man of course CPJ told Stephen he should stay and based on what the “experts” said at the time he was right. Hill was highlighted a couple of times by ESPN I think people other than ACC fans knew who he was. As a GT fan I would like to see more passing, but to suggest that the coaching staff did not do everything they could to help a player that wants to succeed is stupid.

George Stein

March 7th, 2012
3:17 pm

I have no idea what being biased means. We couldn’t stand Gailey?

Ramblin Man

March 7th, 2012
3:24 pm

WnE I will grant you that I am disappointed with some player development and yes it does fall on the coaching staff to a degree. That said if a player does not follow the workouts, training, and diet that the staff develops then there is only so much the staff can do. That is one reason Saban is successful, he has no problems pulling a kids scholarship when said kid fails to perform. I don’t agree with it, but I bet the other kids notice.

HighTech

March 7th, 2012
3:29 pm

George…I think the way it is being used here, biased means rooting for GT instead of UGA. You know, same thing as being hypocritical.

Boot Licking Toadie

March 7th, 2012
3:49 pm

I’m biased as heck, but in a good way. LOL

Delbert D.

March 7th, 2012
4:12 pm

Turner the Burner had Northern Illinois speed and power, I guess.

Ghost

March 7th, 2012
4:13 pm

The ratio of 4 and 5 star players that make the NFL are far higher than 2-3 stars, but there are quite a few more slots open than 4 and 5 star players to fill. Naturally more 3 star players will make it to Nfl. In 2008 rivals had 30 players listed as 5 star , of those 30 , 19 are in the nfl or invited to combine 8 will be redshirt seniors in 2012 . but so far 19 of 30 looking at NFL paydays.

BGA

March 7th, 2012
4:16 pm

nope super. he may fake a handoff but it’s a dropback and pass almost always. if no one is open, he may roll to the outside but that was rare

HighTech

March 7th, 2012
4:16 pm

Delbert D…did UGA offer Turner the Burner? That would be the true measure of his worth.

so i guess that saban

March 7th, 2012
4:19 pm

has issues with player development to. he has to because he gets verbals of 115 players every 4 years and he is accused of running players off.

obviously he develops players so well that he never runs players off. yeah right.

BGA

March 7th, 2012
4:24 pm

2 catches per game for a probable nfl round 1 pick. that is sad and it amazes me more of you aren’t furious.

BGA

March 7th, 2012
4:28 pm

ramblin obviously paul johnson doesn’t have a clue how good his receivers. else we would have seen stephen more used in games and he would have had more passes his way. what is stupid is having a star player used to block 95% of the plays you run. no wonder stephen left. everyone including myself questioned him leaving. now we know why he left. he was the lone one who knew his talent wasn’t being exploited. it’s embarassing for paul johnson this is happening again. first with bay bay…to a lesser extent and now with hill. who is next? greene? henry?

BGA

March 7th, 2012
4:30 pm

BGA

March 7th, 2012
4:33 pm

BGA

March 7th, 2012
4:34 pm

GTfan2012

March 7th, 2012
4:38 pm

BGA, you don’t know why Hill decided to leave… don’t act like you do! Hill lead the nation in ypc, showing that he is a big play WR. Probably he would have had more yards and more catches in another offense (but maybe not, we will never know), but chances are, he would never have averaged nearly 30 ypc in any other offense.

I can look at this another way. Once he decided he was going to the draft, GT coaches and former players obviously advised Stephen Hill correctly in who he should talk to, what agent he should sign with, and what he should do when preparing for the combine. Orson Charles did not get the same good advice.

WnE

March 7th, 2012
4:47 pm

re:
2 catches per game for a probable nfl round 1 pick. that is sad and it amazes me more of you aren’t furious.
_________________

They aren’t furious because they “love” CPJ more than they love GT’s FB program.

CPJ fuels their fragile EGOS because he “talks tough” about the UGA rivalry and talks about “retards” and folks going back to their “Wal-Mart jobs”.

Since we/GT can’t beat muttville on the field this is all they have to look forward to from their FB Program & HC, this is why so very few of them are mad that we had a guy with Randy Moss athleticism at WR and he only caught 2 passes per game.

As each season goes by, CPJ is proving that he can do LESS with MORE, after all he had 2 first round physical specimens at WR and in both cases their Game Performance/Game Film only had them as 3rd (Bay Bay) to 4-6th (Hill) round draft choices, yet as soon as the NFL scouts tested them they zoomed up to 1st round caliber WRs

If you have the Elite Physical measurements of a first round WR, then CPJ will make your Game Film & Game Performances look like a 3rd to 6th Round draft choice.

How’s that for a so-called Offensive Genius?

George Stein

March 7th, 2012
4:48 pm

Why won’t you answer me, WnE, about your promise to never post here again if anyone could prove anything you said was factually inaccurate?

GTBob

March 7th, 2012
4:48 pm

but so far 19 of 30 looking at NFL paydays.

19 out of 30 is pretty poor in my opinion. Picking the 5 star players should be easy and 5 star players should be locks for the NFL.

BGA and WnE

March 7th, 2012
4:55 pm

are obviously dawg trolls..

it may be time to just put them on ignore. let them talk to themselves.

WnE

March 7th, 2012
4:56 pm

re:
GTfan2012
March 7th, 2012
4:38 pm
I can look at this another way. Once he decided he was going to the draft, GT coaches and former players obviously advised Stephen Hill correctly in who he should talk to, what agent he should sign with, and what he should do when preparing for the combine. Orson Charles did not get the same good advice.
____________________

How do you know that Hill’s father didn’t seek out the “right” agent that happened to direct him to the right personal trainer?

WHY do you automatically give all the credit to GT?

It isn’t obvious that GT coaches directed him in any way after Hill decided to leave.

Orson Charles doesn’t have a TRACK BACKGROUND like Hill does, but he did set a combine Record in the Bench press for his position, so there is evidence that he has been working hard, he just hasn’t done well on his forty-yd dash…………YET.

Pop in game tapes of both players and tell me if you see a difference , AFTER ALL you did make the argument that it was the HC’s job to win on the college level and get the most out of them at the college level.

BGA and WnE

March 7th, 2012
4:58 pm

so tell me you two. how much are you payed to coach? since you know so much you obviously command more than a couple mil a year.

GTfan2012

March 7th, 2012
5:00 pm

WnE, why would you care what Orson Charles did on his bench, or be so sure he was improving his 40?!?!?

WnE

March 7th, 2012
5:02 pm

re:
but so far 19 of 30 looking at NFL paydays.

19 out of 30 is pretty poor in my opinion. Picking the 5 star players should be easy and 5 star players should be locks for the NFL.
________________

A 53% chance for a 5* HS recruit that played vs. HS competition to make the NFL sounds like pretty good odds to me.

That’s a better chance than a person with a 1,600 2-part SAT Score to end up as CEO of a fortune 500 company.

George Stein

March 7th, 2012
5:04 pm

WnE
March 8th, 2011
1:44 pm

re:
GTBob
March 8th, 2011
1:38 pm
________________

Please point out one FALSE statement that I have made in this Blog, just one.

Thought so!

Weasels like you focus on the messenger rather than the MESSAGE!

Simply prove me wrong and I’ll write a written retraction and never post another comment in any AJC blog.

I await your response.

dawgfan

March 7th, 2012
5:09 pm

Basically, unless you say that Paul Johnson is a great coach and doing the best he can with the talent he has, or something along those lines, Tech fans will not listen to a word you say and will dismiss you as unreasonable. That’s the bottom line. There is no reasoning with these people. They worship the man. He talks tough on radio shows and is a “straight shooter” so he’s their hero. Its hysterical. If his pizz poor recruiting keeps up they will go down with him in flames and I will enjoy every minute of it.

Thanks.