Paul Johnson believes Tech will be even better in Year 2

Remember the offense that trampled Georgia underfoot? You still haven’t seen the monster fully unleashed. So said Paul Johnson, whose first Georgia Tech team won nine games. As his second round of spring practice was drawing to its end, the coach spent a half-hour discussing the past and the future. His prognosis: “I think we’ll be a better football team than we were a year ago.”

On his option-based spread: “It’s not so much putting in the basics. It’s the little nuances, the little changeups we didn’t get to last year … We were still just scratching the surface a year ago. There were so many games where if we’d been a little more adept at running it we could have done so much better … We will be better on offense. Now I don’t know if we’ll win any more games, but I guarantee you we’re better than we were a year ago.”

On just how that will happen: “It’s not just that we’ll get faster – we’ll be able to execute at a faster pace. You can watch our tape right now, and I can put on tape of my last year at the [Naval] Academy, and even though the kids here are much faster we don’t go as fast. Now this spring, I think we’ve made strides. If you ask our defensive kids, they’ll tell you it’s night and day from last spring to this spring, just the speed of it.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

On the offense at peak capacity: “When we get good at doing it, it’s like death [for the defense]. It’s not like, ‘I can take a wrong step and recover because they’re coming off slow.’ It’s like, ‘I thought he had the ball and [the real ballcarrier] is 15 yards downfield.’ ”

On continuity:
“We replaced a lot of moving parts a year ago. This year we don’t have as many moving parts to replace … We’ve got 16 starters back, and there may be one or two of those guys who get beat out.”

On the importance of beating Georgia: “Because of the recent history it was a big deal to the fans. And it was an important game to our players because it was the in-state rival, and we know they’ve a good program and a good team. But I don’t think about it [every day]; we don’t talk about it here. You move on. While it’s a big game, it won’t be mentioned until we get ready to play them. It’s not like our be-all and end-all.”

On the blowout Chick-fil-A Bowl loss to LSU: “I did a poor job of bringing our guys back down. When you have a young football team and you have 42 days of everybody telling you how good you are, you start to believe it and you forget how you got there.”

On the Chick-fil-A buildup: “I’m sitting there at a bowl function, and the emcee is talking about how Georgia Tech may have the best defensive line in the country, and I can see those kids from LSU bristling. And I’m thinking, ‘Dude, you’re not doing us any favor.’ ”

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

On what might have prompted LSU coach Les Miles to order a fake punt with his team leading by 35 points: “I have no idea. During the week, everybody was friendly and nothing happened. I just took it as … who knows?”

On the rings Tech commissioned bearing a certain score (45-42): “We didn’t get rings for beating Georgia. Everywhere I’ve coached, there’s always been dollars for bowls. Rather than give the kids a couple of hundred bucks that they blow in one week, we’ve always gotten bowl rings … There’s a ton of teams that do it – it’s not like we’re the only ones who ever thought of it. Rather than get another set of sweats, we got a ring.”

On the reborn rivalry with Georgia:
“[That one game] wasn’t as big a deal to me because maybe I hadn’t been here [for the losing]. I understand it’s a big game and an in-state rival. And I don’t want to sound cocky, but if you act like it’s a huge big deal, then it becomes huge… Hopefully we’re going to win some more.”

Tech and Georgia meet at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Nov. 28. Johnson’s team will win again.

305 comments Add your comment

Class of '98

April 16th, 2009
8:11 am

Didn’t you think UGA would win the championship last year? Why should anyone care what you predict?

Dawg Tired

April 16th, 2009
8:21 am

Did you ever notice that the AJC can’t write a Tech article without mentioning the Georgia game? I guess that sells.

rainman

April 16th, 2009
8:23 am

Tech will be better this year if:
1. The offensive line stays healthy
2. They develope a solid rotation on the D-line
3. FG kicking and punting improve
4. The passing game becomes a viable option

haney

April 16th, 2009
8:23 am

Thanks Mark, I appreciate you picking GT to win this year. I feel much better about UGA winning now than I did before. :)

goldarchie77

April 16th, 2009
8:25 am

Did you ever notice an UGA fan can never get tired of the same old discussion? Tech won, take PJ’s advice and get over it, we’ll see you again in November.

Keith S.

April 16th, 2009
8:26 am

If Tech closes the talent gap with Georgia, this series could get very uncomfortable for the Dogs in the years ahead. Either way, I look for Johnson’s well-prepared, disciplined teams to turn this formerly one-sided series into a back and forth affair. Georgia is way too undisciplined to dominate a well-coached team year after year.

Ted Striker

April 16th, 2009
8:47 am

Tech should be improved with another year of recruiting under Paul Johnson’s belt. Speaking of PJ’s belt: Sansa? No visible label but it certainly seems more Sansabelt than Nike.

UGA fan Ted Striker, over and out…

Mac

April 16th, 2009
8:51 am

As an Eagle, I saw Johnson’s offense up close during both of his stints at Ga. Southern. The passing game that’s coming in Season 2 is going to really excite the Tech faithful.

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 16th, 2009
8:57 am

Mark, was that a Zeppelin reference “trampled Georgia underfoot” for me?

Thank you, the levy has broken.

Wow, so what CPJ is saying is we probably should have beat UGAg 59-42.

I agree we will beat UGAg on the 28th. I’m thinking 52-17.

malibuGT

April 16th, 2009
9:07 am

I’m looking forward to Saturday’s scrimmage….and of course next year. While i certainly like our chances on Nov 28th, as CPJ indicates, beating ugag isn’t our measuring stick. Who do you think is GT’s biggest challenge for conference championship?

Class of '98

April 16th, 2009
9:09 am

By the way, Mark…

So you’re saying that a coach, entering his second season with a team, after COMPLETELY REVAMPING THE OFFENSE in his first season, and after bringing in his first recruiting class of players to match his style of play, might, just might have a better team in his 2nd season?!?!

So you’re saying that his players, having another 12 months to learn the playbook MIGHT be more comfortable with it now than when he first stepped on campus??? WOW, I never thought of that!!!

You must be some kind of sports genius or something!!!!

And you wrote a 1000-word article, of which 800 words are Mr. Johnson’s. Nice work if you can get it, huh?

wes

April 16th, 2009
9:18 am

Hey, Mark can pick games fairly well.

He got all 4 of the Final Four picks correct 5 years ago!

Nice prognostification!

GT GRAD

April 16th, 2009
9:19 am

I am very excited and optimistic about the future of GT Football!

We will get a little better each year for the next 2-3 years. GT will become a consistent Top 15 team. This will lead to even more success in recruiting. GT fans will develop higher expectations and the team will be in a solid position to accomplish the goals Paul Johnson sets for the team each year!

It is a great time to be a GT Football Fan!!

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 16th, 2009
9:22 am

Class of ‘98, there are many fleabags who wade in the denial puddle. Mark has broken it down for them, but they’ll still swim in it. Reality is something they like to BLACK OUT.

Tornado

April 16th, 2009
9:23 am

Interesting story, if pretty obvious to anyone who’s paid attention and isn’t wearing red or orange blinders.

Duke played both Navy and GT last year, and their defensive linemen said Navy’s O-linemen came off the ball much faster than GT’s. The Wreckbone is gonna be in a different gear this season.

PJ has had five previous jobs, and in all five of them the offense (and the overall team) improved light years from year one to year two. He’s been at three places for more than two years, and at all three of those the team improved significantly once again in the third year.

Tornado

April 16th, 2009
9:27 am

One other thing: really bad headline choice . “Even better” implies that GT was really good last year.

Paul Johnson has made it very clear that, by his standards, GT was thoroughly mediocre last season. I mean, isn’t that what he’s saying throughout your article?

DawginLex

April 16th, 2009
9:45 am

Rambler the only thing you deny is that you are still a UGA wannabee. You will never be a DAWG, just accept it and move on. That’s what your obnoxious coach just said.

Kenny Powers

April 16th, 2009
9:46 am

It’s like, “get used to the GA game being a big deal because it is going to cost you your job like all the other previous GT coaches”

JB

April 16th, 2009
9:52 am

His success at Navy got him the TECH job. Nuff said

willie

April 16th, 2009
9:53 am

I wonder why UGA fans spend so much time reading and commenting on GT articles?

JB

April 16th, 2009
9:55 am

Willie my man, go to the Georgia blogs, it’s 40% NERDS.

MinnesotaJacket

April 16th, 2009
9:58 am

Always good to hear the talk from PJ, he is a straight shooter and does not BS around with his words. He blames himself for not getting our guys ready which I think was a big thing for the LSU game, and he plays down the UGA vs GT game which a good coach will do. He does not sit there and say he will win a national championship or win anymore games than last year but he sais there is a chance.
Things that will surprise
1. Defensive Line might not be great but they will play hard every play, and will make more plays than they will get credit for.
2. We will have a second reciever become a great player this year behind Bebe.
3. Our linebackers and Defensive Backs will make our defense one of the top 25 in the country.
Things to be a little nervous
1. Offensive Line Health
2. Nesbitt learning to trust his recievers and o-line to block
3. Will some of the red-shirt freshmen we are counting on actually make the plays we need them to make.
Go Jackets

Bo Williams

April 16th, 2009
10:00 am

Is it just me, or does PJ really resemble RO (Roy Orbison) w/those shades?

JB

April 16th, 2009
10:05 am

MinnesotaJacket……..He played down the Georgia win ?????? How far out in the woods are you up there ? Damn, who makes and gives the team RINGS for a regular season win ? GEEZ………

boojackets

April 16th, 2009
10:13 am

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DAWGS!!!!!!!!! We will take yall down this year!!

MinnesotaJacket

April 16th, 2009
10:13 am

JB I understand that you can’t read the article above other than recongnizing a few of the words you have seen from the waffle house counter….sooo I will choose to ignore the fact you can’t read what he actually said….Also the rings were for the chik fil a bowl and the PLAYERS decided to put the inscription on the rings not PJ….sooo yeah I would say he IS playing down the win, but thats ok you can make my hashbrowns covered, and smothered thanks :)

JB

April 16th, 2009
10:18 am

Johnson lost 29 of 74 games at Navy and lost 2 of 4 bowl games. Somebody besides LSU figured out how to stop this offense ( no, Martinez hasn’t). Just got off the Navy web Site. His 45 wins were pretty weak teams. Not bashing, just facts.

JB

April 16th, 2009
10:21 am

Come on Minnesota, why the PERSONAL attack………..I just called you on your statement that he played it down. He didn’t.

Kenny Powers

April 16th, 2009
10:23 am

So Minnesota Jacket you are saying your players are in fact so weak they relish a win that comes around less than Haileys Comet.

sammy

April 16th, 2009
10:32 am

Hey, I am a Tech and a Georgia fan, however, I can’t help but be proud of what Tech did to UGA last season. The Dawgs were suppose to be the wonder of the world last season, and they fell on thier rears. I hated that because I had high hopes for the Dawgs. But when Tech started showing some life under CPJ, and went about their business with a blue collar effort, I had to pull for the Jackets in that game. I look for Tech to win it again this year and win it more than they lose it in the years to come. I will still pull for both teams, but the Jackets get my vote when they battle agaisnt each other.

MorningJacket

April 16th, 2009
10:34 am

I’m excited about the offensive potential CPJ brings. I’m less thrilled with the defense. I hope he’s got something up his sleeve. Otherwise, we may lose some shootouts.

Z

April 16th, 2009
10:39 am

JB: 10 of those losses were from his first season at Navy, so excluding the first season, his record at Navy is 72 to 19.
Besides, that was the entire point of the article, that GT was going to be much better in subsequent years. Notice how 2,10 became 8,5 then 10,2 for Navy?

MinnesotaJacket

April 16th, 2009
10:40 am

Exactly Kenny…I mean that is what I said right “our players are in fact so weak they relish a win that comes around less than Haileys Comet” I mean those were my words right…I am actually 100% sure I did not say any such thing but once again a UGA fan will find something stupid to discuss in every sentence. It is all right not only did none of you even go to Georgia (since 80% of ya’ll never did) ya’ll can sound out this paragraph with your GED degree!!

Huh?

April 16th, 2009
10:44 am

I have never seen a team get more mileage out of one 3 point win than Georgia Tech is getting out of beating Georgia. Its almost flattering in a way. Really.

Jack G.

April 16th, 2009
10:46 am

Chicken Little yelled the sky is falling , the sky is falling and the Farmer said “Holly Sh** a talkin chicken”
All I get out of this blog is a bunch of talking chickens

Mike Lum

April 16th, 2009
10:50 am

I’m still concerned that Nesbitt can run this offense. He sure needs to imrove his passing over the bowl game. Stick to the running game!

JB

April 16th, 2009
10:52 am

Sammy……10 wins in the SEC and a BIG BOWL win is falling on our rears ?????????
With probably more starters out as ANY Div 1 team……surely the Georgia people are disappointed with 3 loses last year, but we lost to the NATIONAL CHAMPION and and undefeated BAMA team ranked number 1 most of the year. The 3 point loss to Tech was a fluke.

Preston

April 16th, 2009
10:52 am

Will ESPN be there?

Preston

April 16th, 2009
10:54 am

I hope all of you know that I was joking.

JB

April 16th, 2009
10:56 am

In Minnesota’s world there is Tech grads……..and then, well nobody. He is the reason Georgia people hate Tech. I know some great Tech people, and they would not be proud of you.

Mark Bradley

April 16th, 2009
10:57 am

The Zeppelin reference was indeed for you, Ramble On.

Blowthewhistle

April 16th, 2009
11:00 am

JB. You refuse to acknowledge the truth about the rings…The rings were Chick-Fil-A bowl rings designed by the players which happened to have the score of the UGA game on the side. They are NOT rings specifically for “a regular season” game.

I know you just do this to get under our skin, but that is why you were personally “attacked.”

James

April 16th, 2009
11:00 am

The most important “measuring stick” for this season is not UGA. It’s important, especially at home, and I think we’ll beat them this year while they’re regrouping from losses. The year after that, back in Sanford, will be a hell of a game…
The most important thing for Tech’s season is simply to BE CONSISTENT! The times they played well last year were amazing, and the others, well…
I’d rather see them less dependent on a single player being hot (Roddy at UGA) and instead have everyone playing more consistently across the field.

Huh?

April 16th, 2009
11:01 am

“In Minnesota’s world there is Tech grads……..and then, well nobody. He is the reason Georgia people hate Tech. I know some great Tech people, and they would not be proud of you.”

I would like to second this post. Minnesota is the posterchild for Tech arrogance. If you didn’t go to Tech you are sub-human scum.

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 16th, 2009
11:02 am

That’s why you’re the man Mark!!!

Mr. Skynyrd

April 16th, 2009
11:03 am

JB,

Read the article again…jeez.

Reading comprehension isn’t really a strong suit of yours, huh?

It’s pretty clear to me by his comments that he’s downplaying the win. It was nice, we’d love to win it every year, but it’s not the be all and end all.

Mark Bradley

April 16th, 2009
11:04 am

And I apologize for being distant this morning, but I was involved in a high-level AJC meeting. And I’ve never been involved in one of those before.

Mark Bradley

April 16th, 2009
11:05 am

How can I be the Man when You Da Man?

o-me

April 16th, 2009
11:05 am

If you UGA fans are so great why are you bitching about GT’s improvements. Talks cheap..prove it on the field. Even bitched about your new Basketball Coach and you got a good one. UGA is a great school, you don’t need the bitching .

brewdawg

April 16th, 2009
11:06 am

Ah, there is nothing like that year 2 optimism after a good first year, huh Techsters? I get nostalgic thinking about it. The Dawgs were just coming off a better than expected first year, Mark Richt was Mark Bradley’s golden boy of the week (not always a good thing- so were Dennis Felton and Mike Woodson at one point), and everything was looking up for the Dawgs.

Now, flash forward 8 years, and the Dawgs are coming off the most disappointing 10 win, top 10 finish season in history, and the sky is falling. Our coach is no longer the golden boy. There is no real “buzz” (pun for you techies!) about the upcoming year. The team from Atlanta is the now the one getting the love and the hype. It’s madness I tell ya.

So now you Techsters are thinking, “Ha! Wish you were in our shoes don’t you?” Actually no, I don’t. UGA is exactly where I want them to be, exactly where I’ve wanted them to be my whole life. Think about it. We play in the biggest non-bcs bowl game, win 10 games, finish in the top 10, and IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH. The standard at UGA is now much higher than that.

So NOW you’re thinking, “Oh, he’s just another obnoxious UGA fan after all!” No, not at all. I think Tech does have a chance to be a force, and I wish you guys the best. Let’s make the series be one of the biggest end of year rivalries in the country. But don’t mistake one win to mean you’ve gotten over the hump (see UGA over UF 2007). GT has a lot of work to do before they are on the level of UGA. Let’s see if in 8 years you guys are as disappointed coming off a double digit win year as UGA is right now.