Posts Tagged ‘Paul Johnson’

LIVE: Bulldogs, Jackets vie for more than bragging rights

The early scene from the final regular season game for UGA and Tech.

The early scene from Sanford Stadium, site for the final regular season game for Georgia and Tech.

ATHENS — Good morning. Before we get to the game, I have a small request: Let’s be civil.

I understand emotions (and beer) often cause sports fans to jump the rails a little bit. Because we will have both Georgia and Georgia Tech fans on this blog, the chance for a verbal inferno becomes even greater.

But the same rules apply: no profanity, no profanity that is cleverly disguised with punctuation marks, no racist comments, no sexual innuendo, no stealing of screen names to give the impression that somebody wrote something when they really didn’t, no … well, you get the idea. You can praise, mock, laud and criticize all you like. But let me share something an old editor of mine once told me: If you have to ask, “Can I write this?” the answer is probably no.

Fair enough?

OK, onto the game. Georgia and Georgia Tech is, first and foremost, always about 364 days of bragging rights. …

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Upsetting Georgia would give Tech needed boost for future

Roddy Jones (20), Troy Garside (33) and Marcus Wright (3) were among celebrating Jackets in 2008. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

From Tech's 2008 celebration: Roddy Jones, Troy Garside and Marcus Wright. (Brant Sanderlin)

During the course of a five-minute interview, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson referenced Georgia’s No. 3 ranking in the BCS three times, just on the chance that we didn’t know.

“It’s not often you get a chance to play the No. 3-ranked team in the country,” he said.

“We haven’t beaten them in three years — that should be motivation enough. And they’re the No. 3-ranked team in the country,” he said.

“It’s an important game — and we also know that it’s the No. 3 team in the country,” he said.

So, just for clarification, Georgia is ranked No. 3 in the country, correct?

“I think so,” Johnson said, smiling. “That’s what somebody told me.”

Welcome to the view from the other side. Johnson is perceived as the other coach of the other team in the other conference. On Saturday, his Yellow Jackets will face the Bulldogs in their annual feud in Athens. Johnson …

Continue reading Upsetting Georgia would give Tech needed boost for future »

Radakovich’s exit won’t affect Paul Johnson (for now)

Dan Radakovich fired Paul Hewitt but he hired Paul Johnson. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Dan Radakovich fired Paul Hewitt but he hired Paul Johnson. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

(UPDATED: 1:30 p.m.)

Dan Radakovich is leaving as athletic director at Georgia Tech, where he had thousands of empty seats at football games and needed to search between couch cushions for funding, for the same job at Clemson, where he won’t have to worry about either.

So don’t blame Radakovich for leaving. He has been rumored for previous vacancies — most recently Tennessee and Texas A&M — and the wonder is that he didn’t leave before for a more lucrative option. The fact Radakovich is filling a position at another ACC school may upset some Tech fans, but it’s a slam dunk of a career move.

The question many already are asking is: What does this mean for Paul Johnson?

The answer: Probably nothing. At least in the short term.

Nor should it.

Tech is having a bad season: 3-5 overall, 2-3 in the ACC and coming off a 41-17 home loss to BYU. This follows going 2-5 down the stretch last season …

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Georgia Tech stops the bleeding but assumes nothing

It was a much easier day for T.J. Barnes and the Georgia Tech defense. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

It was a much easier day for T.J. Barnes and the Georgia Tech defense. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

The last time Boston College came to Atlanta in 2007, Matt Ryan threw for over 400 yards, Georgia Tech lost and dropped six of its next 10 and Chan Gailey lost his job.

Boston College’s latest season visit to Georgia Tech intersected with a firing again. It was only the defensive coordinator (Al Groh), not the head coach, who lost his job this time. Groh didn’t even make it through October. But if something had gone haywire Saturday, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson wouldn’t have had anybody left to point a finger at. Serious questions that would’ve seemed implausible after Johnson’s first two seasons would’ve been asked.

Was his program spinning out of control?

Were players, who had followed Johnson’s lead for an ACC championship and 20 wins over 2008 and 2009, now not listening to him?

Was the talent really that bad?

The panic is on hold for now. Georgia Tech crushed …

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Quick hits: Tech defense better, Vad Lee impressive

Redshirt freshman quarterback Vad Lee finishes off his 24-yard touchdown run. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Redshirt freshman quarterback Vad Lee finishes off his 24-yard touchdown run. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

I’ll be back with a column on Georgia Tech’s 37-17 victory over Boston College shortly. Until then, here are my three “Quick Hits” on the game:

1. POST-GROH PROGRESS REPORT: OK. Don’t get too excited. Boston College entered the game ranked 79th nationally in total offense and 84th in scoring. And it looked the part.  But the Jackets appeared far less confused for most of four quarters after allowing 42, 49 and 47 points in the previous three games (all losses), which led to Al Groh’s firing. Boston College was held to a lone field goal in its first eight possessions before scoring two second-half touchdowns. So, alas, Tech had some movement in the right direction.

2. VAD LEE MAKES HIS CASE: If redshirt freshman quarterback Vad Lee wasn’t ready for significant playing time before, he certainly seems to be now. Tech might even have itself a little quarterback controversy. On …

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LIVE: It’s desperation time for Georgia Tech (and defense)

Paul Johnson's team needs to go 4-2 just to get bowl eligible.

Paul Johnson's team needs to scramble in second half of season just to become bowl eligible.

Of all the directions anybody could have expected Georgia Tech would go under coach Paul Johnson, this wasn’t one of them: He is getting involved in the defense.

Johnson fired his second defensive coordinator in 4½ seasons when he canned Al Groh after a 47-31 loss at Clemson two weeks ago. Athletic director Dan Radakovich gave Johnson a vote of confidence following the Groh firing, but Johnson obviously feels some pressure (internally and externally) to turn around the Jackets. They’ve lost three straight since a 56-20 win over Virginia (allowing 138 points in those three games) and have fallen to 1-3 in the ACC.

There is still a chance to salvage something out of this season. The remaining conference games (Boston College today, Maryland, North Carolina, Duke) certainly all are winnable, and BYU next week isn’t overpowering. Georgia is the most difficult game left on the schedule. …

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Radakovich says Johnson is ‘right person for this job’

Paul Johnson's program has slid since a fast start but mostly because of defense. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

After 2-4 start, Tech coach Paul Johnson fired his second defensive coordinator. (AJC/Curtis Compton)

In his first two seasons at Georgia Tech, Paul Johnson went 20-7, including 12-4 in the ACC, and won a conference title (the whims of NCAA investigators notwithstanding).

In the 2½ years since, he is 16-16, including 10-10 in the ACC, and has lost nine of his past 13. He also just fired his second defensive coordinator, hoping to salvage a season that has some fans grumbling and wondering if those early results were some aberration.

Yet to be determined: Is this merely a step back before another eventual ACC title run (most optimistic) or ugly foreshadowing of a Bill Lewis collapse (most pessimistic).

Welcome to today’s sports world, which can be best summed up as: What a beautiful morning/Wait I felt A Raindrop/The Sky Is Falling! (Elapsed time: 12 minutes.)

For what it’s worth, the sky isn’t falling in Dan Radakovich’s office. The Georgia Tech athletic director …

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Al Groh’s problems at Georgia Tech weren’t pure ‘fantasy’

Al Groh's teaching methods and schemes failed from day one at Tech. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Al Groh's teaching methods, schemes failed from outset. (Johnny Crawford)

Al Groh was a mistake. He was Paul Johnson’s mistake. It took about 2½ years for the Georgia Tech head coach to realize that.

Groh, who had success as a defensive coordinator in the NFL but was a disaster at Georgia Tech from the outset, was fired Monday by Johnson, who has seen the Jackets regress since Groh’s hiring in 2010.

It’s not surprising Johnson would fire an assistant. He fired Groh’s predecessor, Dave Wommack, even after winning an ACC championship in 2009. He fired a coach (Groh) whose defense had given up 42, 49 and 47 points in the last three games, collapsed late in overtime defeats to Virginia Tech and Miami and allowed 510 yards in offense to Middle Tennessee State.

The stunning part is that Johnson did this now. I had been asked several times by readers over the past two weeks whether I believed Groh would make it through the season. My answer always was yes, simply because …

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Predictions: Dogs over Darth Rooster, Falcons over Skins

chalkboard

Before getting to this week’s big game between Georgia and the S.S. Columbia, captained by Coach Queeg, we have some news related to roosters: It’s World Farm Animals Week!

I checked PETA’s website, and fortunately they did not mandate that all SEC schools with animal mascots change their names to something more acceptable, like to the Fighting Whole Grain Muffins, but it did commemorate this event with a blog that read in part: “By the end of the day, 104,273 cows, 297,392 pigs, 702,383 turkeys, and 21,261,534 chickens will have been killed in the U.S. to satisfy an old eating habit.”

"Bread. Milk. Overthrow Lichteinstein."

"Bread. Milk. Overthrow Liechtenstein."

And I know what you heathens are thinking: Does that come with fries? Because I’m pretty sure if cows, pigs, turkeys and chickens were sitting at the top of the food chain instead of on the right side of the menu, they would pull into a “Bones” (same name) and ask: “Does the Spurrier chops come with a side? Actually, never mind. They had a weird …

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Georgia Tech shows its upside in win — and it’s impressive

Orwin Smith takes off for 77-yard touchdown run, part of Tech's first-half explosion. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Orwin Smith's 77-yard touchdown run was part of Tech's first-half assault. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

The first play went for 70 yards and a touchdown. The third play went for 77 yards and a touchdown. The fourth play went for 60 yards. No touchdown. (Virginia’s defense celebrates this small victory, then two minutes later gives up a touchdown.)

Remember 2008, when Paul Johnson brought this scattering-fire-ants-looking offense to Georgia Tech, and the Jackets won games scoring 41, 38, 31, 41 and 45 points, the last coming in Athens?

Remember 2009, when the numbers just got more stupid (49, 49, 39 … 56?), and Tech fans tore down the goal posts after an upset of No. 4 Virginia Tech, and Johnson was viewed as some borderline deity on The Flats for winning the ACC title in only his second season?

That’s sort of what it looked like Saturday. Maybe the ramifications weren’t as great. Virginia, the afternoon sacrifice, wasn’t ranked. There was no title clinched. Tech isn’t …

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