Notes: Johnson waiting on coordinator hire

1. Georgia Tech’s search for a defensive coordinator will proceed at coach Paul Johnson’s pace. For now, that means nothing is likely to happen before the Yellow Jackets play USC in the Sun Bowl Dec. 31.

“We’ll deal with that when the appropriate time comes,” Johnson said following the team’s Thursday practice. “I know people to talk to and there’ll be a process we go through and it’s going to be an important decision.”

Johnson said he thinks about the decision daily, “but I haven’t done anything yet.”

Interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly has led the defense since Johnson fired Al Groh on Oct. 8 after a 2 1/2-year tenure that ended with the Jackets giving up 40-plus points in three consecutive games for the first time in school history.

With Kelly coordinating, the defense has had its moments, particularly shutting out Florida State in the second half of the ACC Championship game. But the Jackets also gave up 50 points to North Carolina in a 68-50 win.

“I think there’s been some games better than others,” Johnson said.

In making and then working with the hire, Johnson said he won’t be tied to a particular scheme and will have more involvement with the defense. Kelly will be considered, Johnson said, as will other defensive assistants.

“I want guys to be able to play fast and not get bogged down in all the minutiae, just be able to play,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of ways to do that.”

There are also a lot of ways to hire a coach and Johnson will use his. He said he laughed when he received one email asking if he had a search agency.

After the season, he said, “I’ll sit down and talk to everybody and we’ll figure it out. We’ll have one by the time spring starts, I promise.”

2. Johnson’s lone comment on wide receiver Jeff Greene parting from the team: “Guys have to do what they’ve got to do.”

Greene and Tech coaches came to a decision late last week that it was best for Greene to leave the program. The team’s leading receiver with 18 catches and 284 yards for a 15.8 yards-per-catch average, Greene is expected to transfer and continue playing.

Wide receivers coach Buzz Preston wished Greene the best, but said he wished Greene would have stayed.

“I would have loved to have the opportunity to help him get to where he wanted to go, but the decision was made, so you go with it,” Preston said.

For the Sun Bowl, Greene’s vacancy opens up an opportunity for Corey Dennis, who switched over to wide receiver from defense during the season after wide receiver Jeremy Moore’s temporary departure from the team in September.

Said Preston, “Corey’s been doing some good things in practice.”

3. The team had its fourth bowl practice Thursday after a four-day break for final exams. The Jackets will practice Friday and Saturday, then Monday through Friday of next week before breaking for the holiday.

“We were rusty and trying to get back in the flow,” Johnson said. “After you take a few days off like that, I think that’s what happens.”

Thanks for reading.

In case you missed it…

Greene no longer with team

Solomon Poole could play Monday

Notes: Orwin Smith nears record

Tech notes: When Shaq met Shaq

After clutch catch, Waller’s confidence expands

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

150 comments Add your comment

tp jones

December 13th, 2012
9:04 pm


December 13th, 2012
9:18 pm

What was Jeff thinking? He’ll regret this.


December 13th, 2012
9:18 pm

CCK would do well to improve his chances for the DC job by holding USC to 25 (and winning the game)


December 13th, 2012
9:21 pm

Need one soon after the bowl game. It will start to affect recruiting. NSD is only 5 weeks after the bowl game. Need defensive players added to this recruiting class.

Unbiased Sometimes

December 13th, 2012
9:30 pm

anyone have a better idea of how many we will sign?

Biff Pocoroba

December 13th, 2012
9:35 pm

Tevin must be starting the bowl game. Greene figured he wasn’t going to have a change to catch a pass anyway, so he went ahead and left now. I hope someone else steps up and makes the two completed passes that PJ has each game.


December 13th, 2012
10:24 pm

We’ll sign at least 18. Ricky Jeune is the WR target – 6′3″ 205 kid out of NJ.


December 13th, 2012
10:31 pm

Don’t forget that playing football at this level is very stressful and very hard. These guys are just kids after all. I wish him the best

Full Metal Jacket

December 13th, 2012
10:39 pm

I respect Coach Johnson’s commitment to preparing to win the bowl game and his timetable for hiring. Like many fans, I wish we were actively woring on the DC hire with all the movement in coaching staffs at present. Surely new HC hires are diligently searching and interviewing for DC’s as we speak. And not to sound too pessimistic, but with a 6-7 record, an El Paso Groundhog Day bowl experience, and USC on the bill, I am finding it difficult to get excited about this bowl game. I hope we will use the added practice time and the game experience as a springboard to spring practice and next season. Beating even a lesser USC would break the bowl drought and get some national attention, but this season is over. Time to look ahead.

Full Metal Jacket

December 13th, 2012
10:40 pm

It’s a shame that Hill’s emotional maturity didn’t catch up with his physical ability, but he is basically just a kid.

Full Metal Jacket

December 13th, 2012
10:42 pm

Coach Kelley has been good to Tech, but we need a different DC and hope that Kelley will stay on.

Erk Russell

December 13th, 2012
11:12 pm

@dc make recruiting worse? how

a journalist should ask pj where he sees recruiting, defense and special teams in 2016.

and congrats pj on your golden parachute, no quality product required.

nice job

Mama Says

December 13th, 2012
11:43 pm


U never made it past Ga Southern as a head coach right ?

I see why, you think the product that produced an ACC champion, 2 championship apperances and no lower finish in the Costal than 3rd as poor quality.

Wonder what you consider bad quality ?

GT Fan

December 14th, 2012
12:07 am

Mama Says …

The sad part with the “erk russell” guy is that he’s ingnorant to the fact that it was PAUL JOHNSON who install the TO at Ga Southern.

PJ was a defensive coach his first season, then switch to offense, and convinced Erk to run his (PJ’s) offense. Ga Southern IMMEDIATELY became an offensive power, winning the NC in 85, 86 & 89. Erk continued winning big for after PJ departed for Hawaii following the ‘85 season, racking-up a .783 winning pct. Years later PJ returned to Statesboro with his O, and went 62-10 with 2 NCs & a runner-up finish is his 5 seasons as the Eagels’ HC, a .861 winning pct.

I’ve often wondered how many games ER would’ve won if it weren’t for PJ’s offense?


December 14th, 2012
12:18 am

Jeff Greene u r making a mistake leaving, and Paul Johnson as far as a DC, you always put your team behind the eight ball, why much you be different, if you had results like Nick Saban or Georgia’s Coach MR I can see, I hope the new AD puts foot in your butt on your way out the door, always got to be a hard head and know it all, this isn’t Georgia Southern.


December 14th, 2012
12:19 am

Ken S. whats the deal on the AD search, where does GT stand, any news?

yeller bug

December 14th, 2012
12:27 am

Start with simple goals—let’s just try to win a bowl game.

Stinger 1

December 14th, 2012
5:23 am

I have never met Paul Johnson and probably never will. I only know what I read on the
AJC blogs and hear about him. A lot of that is that he is stubborn, arrogant, etc.
So be it. From some of his comments and answers to Ken`s questions, I get a feeling that he does have a sense of humor. The other thing is that he does not beat around the bush with his answers. I liked the one about him saying he laughed when someone asked if he had engaged a search agency to help him find a DC. Also,
he “promised” to have a DC by spring. The comment on Green`s departure ” guys have to do what they have got to do” was a CPJ classic. Keep em coming CPJ!


December 14th, 2012
6:26 am

I love what coach is doing with the program off the field. Graduation numbers are way up and the kids are representing the school in a very positive manner, but CPJ is at a critical juncture with his position of head coach at The Georgia Institute of Technology. He has got to make the CORRECT decision regarding this DC hire, and he has to make the commitment to install a more balanced offense in the spring. With Lee at QB, this second item should not be a problem. With this new balance, the defense can use the spring and summer sessions to prepare for what they typically see week in and week out during the season & we will not be out of a game after we fall down by 10 points mid way through the fourth quarter. Just my two cents regarding these two critical issues.

Georgia Cracker

December 14th, 2012
6:49 am

GT needs to broaden its curriculum like Stanford. Fire Bud Peterson.


December 14th, 2012
6:52 am

Johnson “involved with the defense”…..LMAO What a fraud. Biggest one trick pony in college football.


December 14th, 2012
6:56 am

Good DCs get paid. Tech can’t pay.

you can't fix stupid or bulldogs

December 14th, 2012
7:17 am

If CPJ does not get this right this time he could lose his job!

GT Rich

December 14th, 2012
7:49 am

I’v been watching Lovejoy in the playoffs, featuring 2 of GT’s commits. Jumichael Ramos (WR) and Travis Custis (RB) are for real and will push the returning players for time. Waller was improving, so Greene will not be missed. Best of luck to him…


December 14th, 2012
8:01 am


Coach needs to make a change on offense and hire a coordinator.. If he continues to be stupid and run this lame excuse for an offense he will be fired. He needs a DC that will come in and complement his recruiting. Recruiting has to be a priority if things are to change… The change in offense will help recruiting, but any head coach needs strong salesmen/coaches to sell the product. Right now the offense has hamstrung his efforts to bring ANY good talent to the flats.. Special teams will get better as the athletes get better.. Time will tell… People like GT Fan need to find a good therapist, if they still believe that this coaches offense works at this level…


December 14th, 2012
8:06 am

DC? How about some D1 talent. That ALWAYS helps.


December 14th, 2012
8:08 am

GT Rich……….wouldn’t count Travis just yet. Buzzards are circling.


December 14th, 2012
8:16 am

Custis is a life long GT fan. I think Tech will be fine with him..


December 14th, 2012
8:27 am

GT Fan. Check your facts before you lecture someone else. CPJ left GSU after the ‘86 season.

I love CPJ and Erk Russell. But, let me ask you this. How many games would CPJ have won if he not had Tracy Ham during his OC stint and GSU and AP during his HC stint at GSU? You try to claim 2 ACC champions games. I don’t think you should give a coach much credit for 3rd place in a division of 6 (and getting to play for the championship because the top 2 teams have probation issues). And after 3 seasons of 6-7, 8-5, and 6-7 (which is a .500 winning pct), CPJ finds himself on a serious hot seat with the fans. That’s not exactly setting the world on fire. And look how sloppy CPJ’s Tech teams have looked. Heck, in the 12th game of the season, CPJ had to run on the field and tell his WR where to line up. It looked so “peewee” league. I was embarrassed.
And think about this. GSU went 15-0 in 1989 with Tim Stowers as the OC (using CPJs offense). They completely dominated. So, that proved that Erk could win (and win big) without CPJ. But, was his success entirely because of the offense? Well, if it were only the offense, why then was Tim Stowers fired after the 1995 season after 5 dismal seasons and a 45-0 trouncing by Montana in the playoffs? You can’t say it was because the offense wasn’t as good as ‘89, because the same man was running the offense. So, who then WAS the success behind the first 15-0 season in the history of college football?

Erk Russell would have won big no matter what offense he ran.


December 14th, 2012
8:29 am

Real GT Fan

December 14th, 2012
8:32 am

Awesomeb = UGA Fan


December 14th, 2012
8:37 am

WRs will always be disgruntled in this offense. You think it is a coincidence that one WR left before the season (and returned) and 1 has left after the season?

Now CPJ can’t even recruit a good WR. We are having to beg a kid out of NJ to come to Tech instead of Purdue! You’re never going to beat Clemson and UGA if you can’t recruit against them. They are signing 4 & 5 star kids while we sign 2 & 3 star kids. And, yes, I know that stars don’t ALWAYS make a difference – especially as applied to the individual player. But, when you look at recruiting as a whole, the teams filled with 4 and 5 star athletes constantly beat the teams with 2 and 3 star athletes. Look at the offers this kid has:
Boston College
East Carolina
Georgia Tech


December 14th, 2012
8:47 am

Real GT Fan = Moron

I despise UGA for what Vince Dooley did to Erk Russell. I am a True Blue GSU fan that follows GT because of CPJ. I am a big CPJ fan, but lately, he has learned to make more excuses than finding a way to get it done. Just listen to his first after-practice presser after the UGA game. He went on and on about how good USC is, and how it will be a great challenge. When asked about the bowl losing streak, he said, “well, we played LSU and Iowa…..and NOW USC.” It was almost like he expected the losing streak to continue. He has gotten into the habit of preparing people for the worse in case it happens.

CPJ use to have a ton of swagger. He expected to win EVERY game. Heck, the man basically invented swagger at GSU. When he came to GT, I told all my UGA friends to get ready for Tech to win and WIN BIG! And he started out great. But now, he seems beat. I totally hope he turns it around at Tech, but I’m not sure Bear Bryant could turn it around at this point.

GT Fan

December 14th, 2012
8:59 am

Why does Ga Tech have a coach that has so many young men leave a program in his tenure. I have not heard of another program in Div 1 that has had so many player leave or quit a football team under on coach like Paul Johnson. What is wrong with Ga Tech football?


December 14th, 2012
9:10 am

So CPJ fires his DC mid season and wants to take his time filling the DC spot while all the new HC are filling spots now. Typical CPJ apathetic approach to coaching GT football. Stll waiting for him to develop a QB that effectively run HIS system, correct the defense, improve special teams, find a kicker that can kick the ball anywhere near the endzone,……. The list goes on. CPJ needs to assume the role of HEAD FOOTBALL COACH and not just “genius plan caller”.

Get a DC now that can make an impact on recruiting this year. Charles Kelley is not the answer


December 14th, 2012
9:17 am

GTman – I would be willing to bet that CPJ has his DC already lined up. I’d also be willing to bet it is either Giff Smith or Brent Pry. CPJ doesn’t let the media and fans in on everything. It is probably a case of the new hire not wanting the word out until his current season has finished.

Look for an announcement shortly after the bowl game.


December 14th, 2012
9:18 am

I’am thinking a decision has been made on the DC. He is probably coaching another team to get ready for the bowl season and will be announced shortly afterwards.


December 14th, 2012
9:19 am

Awesomeb, do you think getting your head coach hurt Tech, & maybe CPJ not as all of it on O as he & everybody else thinks? Ken, same Q to you, think you could ask him?


December 14th, 2012
9:22 am

@gt4ever…there is no way that CPJ is goign to hire a OC and change the offense..his offense is the TO and that is what he is going to run..if he did hire a OC; CPJ would still call the mentioned that he needs to get more balanced..very seldom do you see teams that are balanced..look at championship weekend..Bama 51 rush/21 pass..UGA 29/34 lost..Stan 43/23..UCLA 38/32 lost..Wisc 50 rushing/10..Neb 44/34 lost..K State 45/14..Texas 30/35 lost..Baylor 55/39..OK State 37/53..OK 32/40..TCU 31/31 lost..FSU 37/21..GT 52/16 lost..these are the top 7 games of championship me where being a balanced offense is more the way..a ton of head coaches call the plays


December 14th, 2012
9:24 am

This situation kinda reminds me when Spurrier took over South Carolina. He was about to get run out of town until he changed his recruiting and offensive philosophy and now USC is a consistent threat to win the East.
CPJ needs to adjust and tweek his offense, get a dc to build a strong defense, & recruit recruit recruit, he gonna let his stubbornness become his undoing.


December 14th, 2012
9:25 am

@awesomeb..CPJ has a winning record against he is beating them


December 14th, 2012
9:29 am

If Paul Johnson can’t turn Tech around…who can?

Tech is royally handicapped by “The Hill” = President Peterson. Peterson cares more about robots who play music than he does our football program. What a loser.


December 14th, 2012
9:40 am

Good point GT TN. Unfortunately, 3 of his 4 wins against Clemson came in ‘08 and ‘09. In the 3 years I mentioned that CPJ is at .500 (’10, ‘11, and ‘12), he is 1-2 against them. So, just like the team has descended in the last 3 years, so has CPJ’s record against Clemson. CPJ’s recruits cannot beat teams like Clemson, VT, UGA, FSU, and Miami. His record against those teams in the last 3 years? 1-12. So, I stand by my point.

In fact, in the last 3 years, the only ranked team CPJ has beaten was Clemson in 2011.

Also, if you take out the FCS teams we have played in the last 3 years, CPJ’s winning pct is less than .500. Also, take some time and check how many teams we’ve beaten in the last 3 years that finished with a winning record. It might surprise you.


December 14th, 2012
9:42 am

The most important thing for the GT football program right now is not the DC, but LEAVING THE ACC FOR THE B1G!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


December 14th, 2012
9:47 am

Vangorder needs a job.. Just saying

Freddie Blassie

December 14th, 2012
9:49 am

I have whipped Gunkle at the Atlanta Municipal Auditorium and put up with Ed Capral, so I know what Paul Johnson has to go through at Ga. Tech. The president and the administration have been general impediments to GTAA since Bobby Dodd’s tenure and it is not going to change….ever. I don’t know, but I suspect DRAD’s desertion was a product of the Hill’s indifference to athletics and those eggheads’ desire to put athletics in their place as red headed step children.
You know littles complaining about the spread option offense are a bunch of pencil necks. I am a staunch supporter of Paul Johnson and will bet my wrassling trunks that Tech will have a banner football season in ‘13 and will beat Georgie. (OK, that was redundant)


December 14th, 2012
9:58 am are correct about the record..but the point about beating top 25 teams can be said about a team that everyone thinks is great..UGA is 3-9 against top 25 teams in that same time period..I understand that Tech has struggled in the last 3 years..however, i do think that he has some good players in the system now..I will give him another year before I jump ship on him


December 14th, 2012
10:08 am

CPJ probably knows who he wants as DC. I’m guessing the guy (or candidates, plural) are not available until after the bowl games.

Hope we can find a young coach who prefers an aggressive style, is a GREAT recruiter and makes a name for himself at Tech.

As for the future, we can probably all agree that “significant improvement” is needed.

dry dirt road

December 14th, 2012
10:08 am

When BD=AD=GT, MB=LBC=GT, therefore BD=GT=MB


December 14th, 2012
10:09 am

IMO, it’s not the TO scheme, our O-line is ineffective too often. Falcons have the same problem.

Doesn’t matter what you are trying to do with the rock if your hosses aren’t blocking anybody.