How will Tech’s Johnson handle the post-Miami scrutiny?

Josh Nesbitt gets squeezed by the guys in orange. (AP photo)

Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt gets squeezed by the guys in orange. (AP photo)

Most teams can lose and have it just be a loss. When Georgia Tech loses, it’s an indictment of Paul Johnson. This mightn’t be fair, but it’s reality: When your stock in trade is a stylized offense, any reversal is going to be personalized. And Paul Johnson, as we know, tends to take things personally.

As noted earlier, he delights in flouting conventional wisdom, especially when it comes to his offense. Well, that offense just managed 95 yards rushing against Miami — 377 fewer than it did against the same Hurricanes 10 months ago. Yes, Jonathan Dwyer got hurt early, but Tech was supposed to have increased depth in the backfield, was it not?

So now Johnson will have to hear this topic bandied about in both cyberspace and the real world: Has the rest of college football caught on to his spread option? And he’s going to say no, that the offense if run properly will always work against any opponent, but how he wearies of the whole discussion and turns testy?

The loss to Miami was far more comprehensive than the Chick-fil-A thrashing by LSU. That game could be explained away — and Johnson tried — as a failure of motivation and special teams. The offense, he would say, wasn’t at fault. Well, this time it was. The offense did nothing. The defense did less. The Jackets trailed by 14 points at the half and by 23 after three quarters, and now nobody’s really sure what to make of Tech.

“I think we’re going to be good,” Johnson said a couple of weeks ago, but the near-flop against Clemson and the total collapse against Miami have left everything open to question. And next comes North Carolina, which came closest to shutting down that offense last season, and dates with Florida State and Virginia Tech — and yes, with Georgia — still remain.

A cult of personality has arisen ’round Johnson. Tech fans love his tough talk, and they loved it even more when he beat Georgia. But now his highly regarded team has suffered a major blow, and it’s incumbent on PJ not to take the inevitable questions — from both fans and media — as signs of insubordination.

He gets paid a lot of money to coach his team. Here’s where PJ has to duck his head, ignore the chatter and keep coaching.

354 comments Add your comment

Herschel Talker

September 18th, 2009
10:23 am

RAMBLE ON!!! – I LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR EXCUSES!!!!!

SAINT SIMONS – I LOOK FORWARD TO YOU POSTING THIS SCORE!!!!!

YELLOW FUZZ – I LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR USUAL BS!!!!!

jdawg

September 18th, 2009
10:24 am

If CMR had yelled at a student athlete….are YOU STUPID on national Tv coming off the field….it would have made national headlines…yes, he should have been questioned…..we all have to remember that the young man is not a PRO…and most are 18 to 22 yrs old…..way to go JOHNSON…

Paul H

September 18th, 2009
10:27 am

I real offense would help. Everyone is starting to figure his out. We saw what happens when Tech is forced to have to throw it. Wow. Not that I’m complaining.

Alphare

September 18th, 2009
10:27 am

Other teams have adapted to GTech’s style. The question is, how will GTech adapt to others’ adapted defense? That may not be clear for a year or so. If same thing this time next year, CPJ will have a hard time to stay in GTech.

Herschel Talker

September 18th, 2009
10:29 am

RAMBLE ON!!! – I LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR EXCUSES!!!!!!!

SAINT SIMONS – I LOOK FORWARD TO YOU POSTING THIS SCORE!!!!!!!

YELLOW FUZZ – I LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR USUAL BS!!!!!!!

DawginLex

September 18th, 2009
10:30 am

the old adage applies here:

It is never as good as it seems and it is never as bad as it seems.

UGA has its own issues to deal with.

but,

The Tech folks like trade school junkie and m and RAMBLE ON who predicted 12-0 and BCS title game are going to have to pour out the kool aid and drink a diet coke.

Heard the ATL area hospitals were flooded this morning with emergency admissions. Lots of broken ankles from the Tech folks jumping off the bandwagon.

all right, that’s all.

Jamaaliver

September 18th, 2009
10:31 am

With ten days to prepare for the UN game, I think you’ll see GT get back to where they want to be.

juvenal

September 18th, 2009
10:31 am

he did better than Rodriguez, but i think the lost scholarships caused Gailey to scrimp on linemen & LB’s, & Michigan 2nd year is going with a QB that fits their system-Josh tries hard, but doesn’t have the quicks-CPJ did something his first year many Tech coaches never did, & had a phenomenal 1st year GT should be grateful for, but until he gets his players in it is too early to call-Gailey’s troops were known for the occasional tank, & a lot of them are still there

SamInAtlanta

September 18th, 2009
10:32 am

Enter your comments here
There is NO substitute for a GOOD passing game.

bmoney

September 18th, 2009
10:35 am

why was tech’s d-line gassed in the first half? do they have 0 depth?

Bubba

September 18th, 2009
10:36 am

3 TDs by the offense in the last 3 games against D1A opponents. That’s not going to cut it. If CPJ’s offense is going to work there will have to be a CONSISTENT passing threat, and right now they don’t have that.

Futuro

September 18th, 2009
10:36 am

The secondary didn’t fit the bill. The offense had some good passing plays. I think GT and FSU are ?s now. Miami played well, what a change! For the ACCs sake I hope FSU beats BYU and both GT and FSU have a good rest of the season. Go Canes..

Habersham Dawg

September 18th, 2009
10:38 am

Your high school offense is just what it is, a high school offense. This is college football. Nesbitt looks so uncomfortable dropping back to pass. Ouch!

Go Dawgs and to heck with Georgia Tech!

GOTech610

September 18th, 2009
10:39 am

The season is not lost from one game.

PJ just has to rally the troops and hopefully GT will come out swinging.

Jdawg, get over it. It’s football. The coach can say what he wants to the players. CMR is too much of a wussy to even yell at his players. He would rather huddle them on the sideline and sing kum-by-yah like at the GT-UGA last year. That tactic was marked failure.

Eastside Jacket

September 18th, 2009
10:40 am

I’m not concerned about CPJ and his offense. He’s been doing this too long and has had too much success to doubt him. He’s seen every possible way to defend this “O” over the twenty-plus years he’s run it. He’ll adjust and get it clicking again soon.

It’s the “D” that concerns me. A weak line (other than 91), no pass rush and no pass coverage isn’t a good combination. I had my doubts about Womack last year. This year I have even more.

All I'm Saying Is...

September 18th, 2009
10:42 am

Criticize it if you want but there is nothing wrong with PJ’s offense. (PJ needs to have thicker skin and not be so defensive but that’s a story for another day.) Georgia Tech was a tired team playing its third game in, what, thirteen days and having to do so in the heat of South Florida. And, furthermore, G-Tech basically did not execute the pass consistently and I’m talking about the simple down-and-outs or up-and-button-hook type routes. Their QB has a lot of work he still needs to do on his footwork and getting set in order to make the throw as he has the arm strength and can and should be able to throw the ball better. The offensive line of GT was also man-handled by Miami which made it harder for the QB to get his feet set and make the proper throw.

As usual, everyone needs to calm down and not over-react to the outcome of one game in the new 2009 season (can’t believe we’re still talking about a bowl game from the 2008-2009 season like that’s relevant).

GT was simply outplayed and outcoached (something Bradley you didn’t think Shannon could do). We’ll see what happens and better understand what we have with some rest and practice time.

Devil-Dawg

September 18th, 2009
10:43 am

I just want to know where Saint Simons is this morning? That must have been a long night at Mullet Bay watching your insects get their butts handed to them.
33-17 Hhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!

Pi$$onaDawg

September 18th, 2009
10:43 am

3 games in 12 days would wear any team down. We knew the Jackets would have a hard first month with 4 games(3 ACC games) in the first month. This week is our first break and it is only 8 days between games. Coach needs to let the guys rest and do run throughs and film work. Ease up on the hitting and then we get another 6 days off until Miss State. We looked ok just tired and slow legs. If the poll voters can’t see the days and games then they are stupid. We are rollong into the 3 rd week of the season and next week the Polls need to start based on who teams have played and how teams have done.

Amazed

September 18th, 2009
10:43 am

I Amazed (get it) to all of the talk that everyone has figured out the Tech offense. I’m not Tech fan but reading comments on some of the blogs is embrassing. No matter what offense you run you have to execute. Tech did not do that last night. There offensive line was getting blown up on nearly every play. That’s way they weren’t successful. No matter the offense that is being ran if you don’t execute you won’t be successful. I don’t hear anyone stating that they have the West Coast offense figured out.

UpstateJacket

September 18th, 2009
10:43 am

Johnson’s offensive scheme has nothing to do with how awful the defense was last night. Zero pass rush, poor coverage in the secondary, and poor tackling in the trenches. I’d hoped the defense would be good. I figured they wouldn’t be great. But what I’ve seen is scary. I have not checked the box score but did Miami punt a single time last night?

PoliticalMan

September 18th, 2009
10:44 am

Tech has no backup plan on offense. A QB instead of a MLB playing QB would help. I’m willing to wait to see how Tech adapts. But color me as a sceptic.

GOTech610

September 18th, 2009
10:45 am

You can’t question the offense after one loss. GT is still young, and it is only PJ’s second year. He doesn’t even have his guys in there yet.

It’s only 1 loss. GT can rebound.

If GT goes 11-1 this year will you question it Mark? Not saying it’s likely, but I think the questions about the offense should come after the season…say if GT went 7-5 or something.

Not on one game.

Can’t wait to see the Falcons win on Sunday though!!!!!!!

You are right though, Mark, Paul Johnson has to deal with this every loss. Oh well.

Trip

September 18th, 2009
10:46 am

D-line and O-line play were pitiful. Time to tighten up or it’s going to be a long year.

swimdawg68

September 18th, 2009
10:47 am

I posted on Tues. that if you shut down the nerd running game you will beat them. I predicted Miami would beat them by 14 points. Schools have figured out how to defense the “high school” offense the nerds deploy. We saw that in the second half against Clemson and the entire game against Miami. The nerds are one-demensial on offense and their defense is average at best. I predict they will be beaten by FSU, N. Carolina, Va. Tech and in a major beat down in Nov. by UGA. Another trip back to Boise.

Hey Saint Simons 33-17 Miami hahahahahahahahahahah

quaildawg

September 18th, 2009
10:49 am

Same shoddy Defensive Backfield that was exposed by UGA, LSU CLemson and The U. Ignorance of the fact by Rose Colored Glass wearing Tech fans because of two 3 point W’s. No push on Defensive front. Missing those three NFL D-linemen now???
Zero imagination with passing game. One basic route along sideline for Thomas. Intermediate and long, that’s it. Nesbit’s passing philosophy drop back and heave it and hope my guy is either open or out jumps the defender. Sub 40% completion rate ain’t gonna cut it.

Pi$$onaDawg

September 18th, 2009
10:49 am

Can we get UGA to play Tenn. Tech, Bama, and Florida in 12 days? I would like to see UGA’s record after that. 2-1 I don’t think so.

SimpleDawg

September 18th, 2009
10:50 am

How will he handle it? Very poorly…..PJ has rabbit ears and regards every question or critique as a personal attack.

The Pseudo-Genius.

Stupid players.

tech

September 18th, 2009
10:51 am

UNC did not shut down our offense last year. We had over 400 yards of offense. Clemson came the closest last year to shutting the offense down.

Alabama Jack

September 18th, 2009
10:51 am

Fire Johnson and bring back Gailey.
Drop out of the ACC.
Schedule schools like Charleston Southern and Tennessee Tech.
Better yet, drop football, turn Grant Field into an eco-garden using the 70 tons of trash generated each week in Athens as compost.

Folks, where I live the sun rose in the East. The re-play shows we lost to a better team. We are 2-1 and still in contention for the ACC championship and/or a decent bowl game.

UGay will have the same record after Saturday if they are lucky, as will Virginia Tech, Clemson, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State. Michigan State, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State – but only if they win.

If any of them lose they will probably fire the coach, hang the team in effigy, and then commit mass hari-kari.

Its only a game folks, and this is only one of a dozen to be played by Tech this year. Get a freakin’ life.

SimpleDawg

September 18th, 2009
10:53 am

Oh, P on a D. Whaaaaaa. Would you like some cheese with that whine?

Kinda sucks when you have to play a couple of tough teams back-to-back, doesn’t it?

And Jacory Harris throws another TD pass…….

Ryno

September 18th, 2009
10:54 am

Tech should have opened the checkbook to keep Tenuta on staff. When the last of his senior leadership left last year – they took the bite (or sting, as it were) out of the GT defense.

I’ve never seen so many 15-20 yard passes completed across the middle – it was truly pitch and catch. It ain’t the offense that’s the problem, the Jackets just have to make stops for goodness sake!

Brad in Jasper

September 18th, 2009
10:55 am

I’ll try to be a voice of reason as I am on the UGA blogs (hard to do in cyberspace, I know). This will almost mirror what I said after UGA’s loss to OSU. – For GT, I think the O will be fine. The homerun threat is always there if a D-man is caught napping. I’ll give the O one mulligan, but no more. The D however, even tired, looked badly suspect. Harris looked like he was throwing flag football with the no-contact jersey on. I wouldn’t throw in the towel on an ACC title game just yet, but adjustments will be forthcoming. I don’t think UGA or GT fans have a lot of ammo for smack talk right now.

GatorDave

September 18th, 2009
10:56 am

HE IS GOING TO CALL EVERYONE STUPID!!!!!!!!

EDDIEHASKEL

September 18th, 2009
10:59 am

sand jax state, GUT has rec’d a severe beatdown in 10 of their last 12 quarters of football going back to the peach bowl.

EDDIEHASKEL

September 18th, 2009
11:01 am

sans jax state, GUT has rec’d a severe beatdown in 10 of their last 12 quarters of football going back to the peach bowl.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 18th, 2009
11:01 am

Don’t bring UGA into it just because your AD scheduled 3 games in 13 days so your program could get more exposure by playing on Thursday nights. That is a entirely different argument its self as UGA does not need Thursday night games to increase its exposure nationwide for recruiting purposes.

quaildawg

September 18th, 2009
11:01 am

Eastside,
Yes CPJ has had success at every stop with “his” offense. But here is the question no one has ever asked or if asked I have never heard an answer.
It is one thing to run “his” O against the Southern Conference or the WAC or Primarily Big East Teams that are not the most athletic of conferences or do not have Defenses that are Fast and Physical. Not to mention the upgrade in Coaching ability.
Now that this team has begun to face those types on a regular basis and have had one year under their belt to experience this type of O is this going to become a trend that will necessitate CPJ to adapt and diversify???
From his personality I have to believe he will, but right now things aren’t looking so hot and Nesbitt has got to do alot better.

Mark Bradley

September 18th, 2009
11:01 am

We should note that the Jackets back seven on defense returned essentially intact.

Brad in KY

September 18th, 2009
11:04 am

I watched the game because I love Paul Johnson’s style. Georgia Tech’s problem isn’t the scheme: it’s the execution. If you know what to look for (and it’s not hard to learn what to look for), then it’s obvious that on many plays GT’s players simply aren’t executing their blocks. The O-Line is just getting out-played and the backs and receivers are sometimes totally whiffing on blocks. That’s execution; not scheme. They’ll get it figured out, I think, but so far this team seems far less tough mentally than last year’s team. And it was there third game in 12 days.

Metal Jacket

September 18th, 2009
11:05 am

Miami looked a full step ahead of Tech in every area. Tech looked slow, tired and poorly coached. The big embarrassment of the game came when CPJ asked a man who is a student and an athelete at GT if he is “stupid”. What a poor display of a coach losing it. This reminded me of Bobby Knight and I can’t stand Bobby Knight. How many mothers want their son to play for a coach like this? What a shame.

NCAA#1Fan

September 18th, 2009
11:06 am

Regardless of last nights loss by GT and the fact that Whipple’s offense looked much better than the Johnson offense…I for one am immensely glad that there are offenses like Johnson’s that are different. The modern trend to make every offense be the cookie cutter type of copycat (spread offenses) makes watching the games much more boring! But bring in contrasting styles and it livens up the whole pregame discussion and the game itself. Similar to the ancient romans bringing in warriors from all over to fight against members of their Legion to see which style of combat was more efficient.

So Tech fans keep your heads up! Nobody wins them all over and over (but hopefully the Tide will keep rolling in this year! :)

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 18th, 2009
11:06 am

Don’t bring UGA into the equation because your AD scheduled 3 games in 13 days to increase your national exposure for recruiting. You scheduled so you live with it.

F-105 Thunderchief

September 18th, 2009
11:07 am

I believe Paul Johnson is a great football coach. I have to believe Tech will still be pretty good.

quaildawg

September 18th, 2009
11:07 am

Ryno, obviously you were too busy celebrating the W against UGA. Stafford threw for over 400+ and 6 TD’s!!!! Tech defenders really didn’t have an answer…excuse me they did…shoddy tackling by the Dawg D!

Love GEORGIA

September 18th, 2009
11:09 am

I loved the miami game. All you big mouthed techies that have lived on the GEORGIA blogs here is a HA HA HA HA HA HA. your offence S**ks.Your georgia payback is coming in november.

leland

September 18th, 2009
11:10 am

Dear Mr. MB – I really like Kim from Real Housewives of Atlanta. What are my odds of dating her? Your pal, leland

ms

September 18th, 2009
11:10 am

The main thing I would be worried about is the LB’s and secondary…going into the game Tech’s pass D ranked 80th in the nation. After last night, I have to imagine its closing in on the 100th. There is something seriously wrong with Tech’s passing D. Clemson and Miami WRs were wide open all game.

mountain_jim

September 18th, 2009
11:12 am

This GT grad has believed all along that PJ’s offense is seriously flawed. When you are down 3 TDs and still have the QB under center for passing plays he is not going to have time to see the field while dropping back – and this QB only sees one receiver anyway. Miami showed us what a real offense and real QB looks like – PJ’s gimmick O needs more balance, and he is too hard-headed to realize it.

I can see that the lose of last year’s dline is going to kill GT in the passing game, but why is this year’s oline so much poorer? They are pityful blockers for the run or pass.

quaildawg

September 18th, 2009
11:14 am

P on a D Tech doesn’t play Bama, TN or FL so what’s your point???
Excuses, Excuses, Excuses, Whine Whine WHine!!!

reservoirDAWG

September 18th, 2009
11:15 am

“Tech’s Johnson”, nice headline. Tuck Fech!