Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson made for pretty entertaining radio Wednesday night on his weekly show on 790 the Zone. Johnson took calls from listeners who challenged him on all matters regarding the team and its disappointing 3-5 record. Johnson even proactively addressed issues that have been raised by fans and media about the team before they were brought up, namely quarterback Tevin Washington.
I’m not sure how these read, but I wouldn’t call his tone defensive. Even-keeled and firm, certainly. Perhaps defiant. You can listen here through the Tech iTunes page.
On the season:
“We’ve lost two games in overtime. It isn’t making excuses, it’s just facts. We’ve lost two games in overtime. We lost the one at Clemson after being ahead in the fourth quarter. Is Sammy Watkins a really good player? Yes. Is DeAndre Hopkins at Clemson a really good player? Yes, but all in all we played with them to toe to toe until we fumbled the snap on 4th and 1 from the 7-yard line. If we don’t fumble the snap, maybe we go up two scores in the fourth quarter and it’s different. It wasn’t like when we lined up, we couldn’t line up and they were knocking us off the ball.”
On the BYU loss:
“We were horrid on third down in that game but if you go back and look for the rest of the year, we were probably tops in the league or second in the league. Last year, we were second in the country. We’ve been pretty good on third down.”
“If we want to be honest, recruiting’s about the same as it has been. We can rewrite history, but the facts are the facts. I think we have some good players. We’ve got to be better. If we don’t play better, your point will be proven. If we do, mine will be proven that we’ve got some pretty good players.”
On recruiting and talent level:
“We’re trying to compete in the conference that we’re in, and if you look at it, we’ve played five times, we’ve been ahead five (times in the fourth quarter). If the talent level is that bad, then we must be doing a hell of a job coaching to stay in there and I don’t think that’s the case. So I think that the talent level is not as bad as you think. We’ve got to finish the games. Now, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. I got you – we need to win the games. I just don’t see the gloom and doom that everybody wants to buy into.”
On the team’s intensity:
“I think intensity has not been a strong suit of this team, I would agree. That’s something that we’ve got to find and I’ve got to do a better job of as a coach.”
On his record and quarterback Tevin Washington:
“There’s an overall body of work. When the time comes, if it’s not good enough, do what you’ve got to do but you don’t have to re-set your standards and you shouldn’t be judged on every series or every play or every game. And the quarterback shouldn’t be judged on every play, of every series, of every game.
He has an overall body of work. He can do what he can do. He can’t control punts getting blocked, he can’t control whatever, and the only thing I can tell you is the kid is busting his tail doing everything he can do for Georgia Tech. And I promise you, I go to practice every day, and if I thought the other guy would help us win, he would be playing.
And I’m not ready to throw away the season – and I’m not saying if we put the other guy in, we’ll throw away the season – he may very well play this week. But it’s not going to be because somebody tells me to do it. It’s going to be because I think he gives our football team the best chance. Because my job is to try to give us the best chance to win the game. I see those guys every day we practice. I know there’s a lot of people out there that can do my job better than I can. I gotcha. I understand that. But pardon me if I’m not going to listen to everybody who tells me who I should be playing, what I should be doing.
I’ve managed to survive for 34 years doing what I’m doing without getting fired and we’ve won a lot of games. If I’m going to go down, I’m going to go down doing what I do and knowing what I know. So that’s it in a nutshell.”
“You try to call the plays that people can run. You can have 100 plays and if you can’t run ’em, it doesn’t do any good to call ’em. I don’t mean this in a bad way or whatever, but it’s not like PlayStation, where you just pick a play. You have guys out there who can do certain things. And if guys struggle pulling, you don’t run the pulling plays. If guys aren’t as good at throwing one way, you try to throw the other way. That’s all the things that you know from being with those guys every day in practice and going into the game plan.”
“People say, ‘Well, when Vad goes in the game, you call a different game.’ Well, I try to do what Vad (Lee) can do better as opposed to forcing something else. Now there’s a point that it doesn’t matter just what Vad can do, you have to do whatever everybody playing with Vad can do. That’s part of coaching. We’ve got a lot of plays and people have probably made it – and I’m probably my own worst enemy by saying, ‘Hey, we run five or six plays and we do variations.’ – it’s a little more complicated than that. But we try to run the plays that give us the best chance to win the game.”
In case you missed it…
Thanks for reading.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog