After further review, Tech decides its special teams need help

Perhaps we won't be seeing pictures like these from here on. (AP photo)

Perhaps we won't be seeing pictures such as this. (AP photo)

When the notion of hiring a special-teams coordinator was broached last fall by this helpful correspondent, Paul Johnson called it “ridiculous” and contended that, in divvying up assignments, his program was doing as most big-time programs do. Left unacknowledged was the reality that few big-time programs were less special on special teams than Georgia Tech.

Update: Georgia Tech stands ready to welcome a special-teams coordinator.

Conclusion: Paul Johnson has succeeded in negotiating the fine line between stubbornness, which can have its virtues, and silliness, which has none.

Two of last season’s losses — at Miami, where a botched punt became one Hurricanes touchdown and a long kickoff return generated another, and against Utah in the Sun Bowl, where Tech missed three field goals — could be traced to the kicking game. This was after a 2010 season in which the Jackets lost at Virginia Tech on a kickoff return for a touchdown, at Georgia after missing a tying extra point and to Air Force in the Independence Bowl after muffing two punts.

Running the numbers, we note that five of Tech’s past nine losses — that’s more than half — could be traced to failures of kicking, covering kicks or fielding kicks. We also note that the Jackets were 54th last season among 120 FBS teams in net punting, 59th in kickoff-return defense, 61st in punt returns and 106th in kickoff returns. Tech’s longest field goal of 2011 spanned 41 yards.

As much fun as it was to hear Johnson fuss about his kicking game — and he’s a fusser of the first rank — it also made you wonder: Why didn’t he try to do something besides fuss?

Now he has, and good for him. The addition of Dave Walkosky from the Canadian Football League can’t possibly hurt. Tech’s special teams had gotten so shoddy as to damage the entire operation. Kicking and its offshoots tend to be given short shrift by colleges — the pros, by way of contrast, leave nothing to chance — and that approach has never made a lick of sense. Given that kicking can win or lose games, why chop up the responsibility and have different coaches handle different aspects? Why render an essential function an afterthought? Why not put one man in charge?

To his credit, Paul Johnson thought hard about his special teams and concluded that doing it the way most others do it was no longer tenable for Tech. To his credit, he tabled his resistance and did what needed doing. This doesn’t mean the Jackets will never miss another field goal or yield another long return, but it does mean that future failures won’t stem from a lack of oversight.

By Mark Bradley

179 comments Add your comment

Eastside Jacket

March 1st, 2012
7:44 am

Good for him. Now lets stop somebody on defense so we can actually see how good of a punt return team we have.

ed

March 1st, 2012
7:44 am

they are getting it, kick offs now from the 35!!!

Thomas

March 1st, 2012
7:48 am

The Falcons shot themselves in the foot (literally) when they didn’t resign Todd Peterson a number of years ago. They went with the dual punter/kicker which was a failure. Special teams are easy to ignore until they lose games-

Boobie Bowden

March 1st, 2012
7:55 am

Wonder if we could get a sportwriter from Canada as well….

WnE

March 1st, 2012
8:00 am

re:
To his credit, Paul Johnson thought hard about his kicking game and came to the conclusion that doing it the way others do it was no longer working for Tech.
________________________

Now when will Coach Fish Fry come to the conclusion that Recruiting run-first QBs is no longer working for GT’s passing game & offense?

At some point CPJ has to come to the conclusion that doing things HIS WAY on offense isn’t working either, especially in the passing game.

GT’s passing game was putrid last yr. vs. BCS-level teams.

Before the CPJ-boot-licking-toadies come to his defense, GT and their Offensive Genius is 1-11 vs. Top-50 Defenses over the last 2 seasons, the so-called Genius has been getting fat off of crappy Teams and then losing to teams with AVERAGE defenses.

BBQ MAN

March 1st, 2012
8:01 am

WnE

March 1st, 2012
8:07 am

As far as 2010 goes Mark, you forgot about the Bowl Game fiasco in which GT & CPJ lost the Game because HE couldn’t find ONE PLAYER among the 85 that hold schollies to simply field a punt vs. Air Force.

I guess he need to change the way he Recruits also.

Kinda ODD that a guy gets called a Genius by the majority of GT fans, but upon closer inspection it sure seems that he does a LOT of things the wrong way.

The term Genius must come pretty CHEAP at school where the alums are always telling everyone how much smarter they are then the rest of the population.

http://i1210.photobucket.com/albums/cc409/OlWrecks/KungFuPanda.jpg

Aren’t we lucky to have Coach Kung Fu Panda heading up GT’s FB Program?

@WnE

March 1st, 2012
8:09 am

re:
Now when will Coach Fish Fry come to the conclusion that Recruiting run-first QBs is no longer working for GT’s passing game & offense?

____________________________________

You do realize both Vad Lee and Justin Thomas ARE NOT “run first” QBs. You do also realize that CPJ was OC at Hawaii during some of it’s pass happy years. You do also realize that CPJ works with what he can recruit. You do also realize that we have had numerous QBs who have left the program instead of wait their turn in the rotation.

You surely would realize all of that if you weren’t just another typical DWAG fan. PWNED, now goodbye.

john

March 1st, 2012
8:09 am

The only way the kicking game will improve is if Johnson leaves

#1CPJ Fan

March 1st, 2012
8:19 am

I just wish we weren’t 1-10 vs the Dawgs right now…..holy shucks we suck

Taylor King

March 1st, 2012
8:25 am

I’m just happy he swallowed his pride and hired a special teams coordinator. By the way @WnE, I doubt Johnson is too worried about his passing game. Pretty irrelevant comment but I do agree with your last paragraph.

rduck

March 1st, 2012
8:27 am

WnE- GT fan poser… just another Dawg troll on the loose who just feeds off the attention of others. Just look at how he bashes CPJ and GT every article. Then he comes to the defense of Richt and Co. when they get called out in a recruiting article… Please people: DON’T FEED THE TROLLS

Jacket99

March 1st, 2012
8:28 am

The term Genius must come pretty CHEAP at school where the alums are always telling everyone how much smarter they are then the rest of the population.
———————————————
Aren’t you a GT alumnus, WnE?

Rickster

March 1st, 2012
8:38 am

“I’m a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech and my team really stinks this year.
They really, really, really, really, REALLY stink this year.
Like all the jolly good fellows, I’m crying in my beer.
I’m a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech and my team really stinks this year.”

WnE

March 1st, 2012
8:38 am

re:
You do realize both Vad Lee and Justin Thomas ARE NOT “run first” QBs. You do also realize that CPJ was OC at Hawaii during some of it’s pass happy years. You do also realize that CPJ works with what he can recruit. You do also realize that we have had numerous QBs who have left the program instead of wait their turn in the rotation.

You surely would realize all of that if you weren’t just another typical DWAG fan. PWNED, now goodbye.
_____________________

If you think that Vad Lee and Justin Thomas are anything but run-first QBs then you don’t know very much about CFB.

GT was the ONLY BCS Level school that was seriously considering Justin Thomas as a QB, all theother saw him as a WR or DB and in FACT his 4* Rating out of HS was based on him playing WR or DB in college, not QB.

For the hype over Vad Lee only 4 or 5 Schools/HCs saw Vad Lee as a pass first QB, GT, Vandy, Dook, Minn., Wake; NC State only offered him as QB after they thought they would lose him to another school.

It is real hard to project HS QBs to the College Level, but it is even harder to take run-first QBs and then expect them to run a 2-min offense or a 4-min. Offense when the game is on the line.

Anyway NEITHER, Vad Lee nor Justin Thomas were considered pass-first QBs by the majority of BCS HCs, in fact CPJ is one of the few HCs to offer them as a QB, and we all know his track record with Recruiting QBs over his FIRST FIVE Recruiting Classes.

http://i1210.photobucket.com/albums/cc409/OlWrecks/ClassRingtime-stamped03.jpg

Just a photo of my GT class ring for those that think that having independent thoguhts about GT’s FB Program makes one a uga poser.

Technically Correct

March 1st, 2012
8:39 am

Now, if he can hire a REALLY good recruiter who can sell the program and close the deal to 4 and 5 star talent, in a few years we will be competitive and relevant again!

WnE

March 1st, 2012
8:42 am

rduck

March 1st, 2012
8:43 am

you tried the class ring thing before and nobody bought it….

Just got to the recruiting article on Robert Nkemdiche visiting UGA and how Carvell notes that Richt and Co. may have blown it by not signing the brother. Then go to the 9:50pm comment where ole’ Wrexy has a fit and calls Carvell a bad journalist for going after HIS coach the way he goes after OURS…

Whiskey Breath

March 1st, 2012
8:44 am

Mark, you think we are idiots for blogging sports don’t you? Well keep in mind,
it keeps you employed.

rduck

March 1st, 2012
8:44 am

rduck

March 1st, 2012
8:46 am

don’t feed the TROLLS

rduck

March 1st, 2012
8:47 am

Go back to defending Richt in recruiting articles that call him out for being late….

rduck

March 1st, 2012
8:48 am

rduck

March 1st, 2012
8:49 am

I hate Paul Johnson but I love Mark Richt… sounds like a typical GT alum to me. class ring and all

@WnE

March 1st, 2012
8:51 am

re:
If you think that Vad Lee and Justin Thomas are anything but run-first QBs then you don’t know very much about CFB.

______________________

Let’s look and see at the stats Mr. DWAG…….

Vad Lee – over 3,000 yds PASSING and 1,300 yds RUSHING as a Senior
Justin Thomas – over 1,500 yds PASSING and 740 yds RUSHING as a Senior

Both QB’s hold nearly 2:1 ratio of PASSING to RUSHING…….please explain how you consider these QBs as “RUN FIRST” QBs.

Just another DWAG fan…..PWNED, now goodbye.

azdawg

March 1st, 2012
9:01 am

dawg fans would love to see Richt follow CPJ and hire a ST coach as well but apparently that’ll never happen. give CPJ credit for trying to better his team while Richt continues w/the status quo, losing games to ST play and doing nothing to stop it but lip service.

WnE

March 1st, 2012
9:06 am

re:
Let’s look and see at the stats Mr. DWAG…….

Vad Lee – over 3,000 yds PASSING and 1,300 yds RUSHING as a Senior
Justin Thomas – over 1,500 yds PASSING and 740 yds RUSHING as a Senior

Both QB’s hold nearly 2:1 ratio of PASSING to RUSHING…….please explain how you consider these QBs as “RUN FIRST” QBs.

Just another DWAG fan…..PWNED, now goodbye.
___________________

You’re simply showing that the MAJORITY of geek-nerd-loser GT fans don’t know a damn thing about CFB!

High Schools passing STATS MEAN NOTHING, or close to nothing!

When projecting a HS QB asa passing QB in a BCS-Conference you look for things like ARM STRENGTH & THROWING MECHANICS, FOOTWORK.

Nesbitt had a strong arm, but I was one of the few GT fans that thought he should have been playing Strong SAFETY all along, and what do you know he makes the NFL as a friggin’ Strong safety. I saw Nesbitt’s HS game tapes and could see the poor throwing mechanics.

Back then GT was desperate to get Athletes like Necbitt in their program, so they feed their 18 year egos and tell them they can play QB when 99% of the other College HCs saw Nesbitt like I did as a Strong safety.

GT & CPJ are doing the same things with guys like Days, Lee & Justin Thomas, while all the other College HCs are being honest about their “true” positions on the college Level, CPJ is telling them they can play QB at GT just to simply try and “bribe” decent athletes to sign with GT.

HS passing Stats don’t project to the College/BCS level at all.

While I’m at it, please show me a QB that CPJ has had at GT that has IMPROVED AS A PASSER while playing for GT?

None of CPJ ’s QBs improve because they don’t have the Mechanics to play BCS QB to start with, and then they don’t get coached up while playing for CPJ.

To prove my claim about not getting coached up while playing for CPJ, Stephen Hill has learned more WR Mechanics & WR fundamentals working with D1-AA WR-Coach Terrance Mathis in THREE WEEKs than he learned in THREE YEARS playing for CPJ.

The Stephen Hill we saw running ROUTES & catching balls with HIS HANDS at the combine looks nothing like the guy we saw playing for GT for 3 years.

Ted M

March 1st, 2012
9:13 am

Its the media that mistakenly refers to CPJ as a Genius.

WnE

March 1st, 2012
9:13 am

re:
rduck
March 1st, 2012
8:43 am
you tried the class ring thing before and nobody bought it….

Just got to the recruiting article on Robert Nkemdiche visiting UGA and how Carvell notes that Richt and Co. may have blown it by not signing the brother. Then go to the 9:50pm comment where ole’ Wrexy has a fit and calls Carvell a bad journalist for going after HIS coach the way he goes after OURS…
________________

I guess I’ll have to update my photos with today’s date & time stamp.

BTW, that Recruit was late as heck to qualify and then claimed that uga didn’t show him enough “love” ; you can TALK SPORTS honestly and have an opinion about things other than your own school without being a fan of someone else.

The two are not mutually exclusive!

FL Jacket

March 1st, 2012
9:17 am

Wow Bradley…you politely refrained from the “I TOLD YOU SO” approach I thought you were going to take. New Year’s Resolution?

dawgfan

March 1st, 2012
9:27 am

And what is that genius Paul Johnson doing about his absolutely laughable defense? Nothing it sounds like. Good plan coach. I’m still LMAO over that befuddled look on Groh’s face when it occurred to him that Crowell wasn’t playing and we actually had a QB who could throw the ball. I guess they don’t see too much of that in the ACC. I have never seen a more inept defensive game plan in my life. He was clueless.

Oh well. They’ve got a new special teams coach so they can beat the Virginia’s and UNC’s of the world. All is well in Techie land.

Hilarious.

rduck

March 1st, 2012
9:30 am

So by your logic POSER, a BCS team CANNOT WIN without a top notch, pass first, great throwing mechanics, huge arm strength type of QB…
So Florida and Tim Tebow didn’t win the MNC after all.
So Vince Young didn’t win the MNC after all.
Just a couple of examples of QB’s that had poor mechanics and/or poor arm strength that had a pretty good career. Now move along POSER…

rduck

March 1st, 2012
9:31 am

dawgfan- and to think that GT was the best team you guuys could beat last year… hmm

GT fan for life

March 1st, 2012
9:33 am

hiring this ignorant mountain man was a huge mistake,this gimmicky offense has been exposed and no top recruit is gonna come to tech,when they finally wise up and fire this hillbilly will take years for the program to recover

Gorilla Biscuit

March 1st, 2012
9:35 am

They should have hired a new defensive coordinator.

dawgfan

March 1st, 2012
9:36 am

rduck, and to think that you actually have some kind of point? Tech fans immediately deflect any criticism of their program with irrelevant jabs that make little to no sense. If it makes you feel any better, Georgia has not been very good the past few years. I have no idea why this would make you feel any better though. Your joke program is 0-3 against us the past few years. Jab away Techie. Its really making Tech look good.

LOL

George Stein

March 1st, 2012
9:43 am

Troll hard, dawgfan.

WnE

March 1st, 2012
9:46 am

re:
So by your logic POSER, a BCS team CANNOT WIN without a top notch, pass first, great throwing mechanics, huge arm strength type of QB…
So Florida and Tim Tebow didn’t win the MNC after all.
So Vince Young didn’t win the MNC after all.
Just a couple of examples of QB’s that had poor mechanics and/or poor arm strength that had a pretty good career. Now move along POSER…
_______________________________________

Tim Tebow & Vince Young (VY ) are the WRONG guys to try and use to make your argument!

Tebow is 6-3 240lbs. and VY is 6-5 235lbs. and they were BOTH 1st Round draft choices and although they didn’t have the best throwing mechanics they were MUCH BETTER THROWERS/PASSERS than anything that GT has had since Joe Hamilton.

You’re comparing a 2-time Heisman winner and a guy VY that should have won at least one Heisman to guys like Justin Thomas 5-9 with a weak arm and to guys like Dennis Andrews that are 5-11 185 pounds soaking wet that every other College HC saw as a DB.

99.99999999999999% of the HCs that saw Tebow & VY coming out of HS called them QBs all the way, with the QBs that CPJ recruits 99.9999999999999% of the HCs that see them call them DBs or WRs all the way.

If you can’t understand that, then you aren’t smart enough to follow college FB.

You’re actually trying to compare the guys that CPJ has been Recruiting at QB to guys like Tebow & VY, you’re the biggest laughingstock in the history of AJC Sports blogs!

@WnE

March 1st, 2012
9:46 am

re:
Back then GT was desperate to get Athletes like Necbitt in their program, so they feed their 18 year egos and tell them they can play QB when 99% of the other College HCs saw Nesbitt like I did as a Strong safety.

________________________

Joshua Nesbitt was recruited by CCG…..which has NOTHING to do with CPJ. Joshua Nesbitt had tremendous arm strength with absolutely ZERO accuracy and consistency. CPJ recruited Tevin Washington and Jaybo Shaw which both are certainly better passers than Joshua Nesbitt. CPJ has progressively gotten BETTER at recruiting the QB position. Vad Lee and Justin Thomas are both perfect compromises between Nesbitt’s arm strength and Tevin’s feathery touch. I suspect Vad will put up consistent 2:1 ratios of PASSING to RUSHING.

Attributing Joshua Nesbitt’s lack of consistency and accuracy to CPJ is ludicrous and PROVES that you attended some second rate college in the middle of Athens, GA.

Stephen Hill has said nothing but POSITIVE things about his time at GT. Almost all NFL Scouts note his blocking skills as beyond his years….a la Hines Ward.

Spanky

March 1st, 2012
9:46 am

GT fan for life – I gotta agree with you on that. This triple option doesn’t seem to work unless you have just the right components, and execution is forthwith. However, this special teams coach could be able to tweek a few negatives into possitives. Either way, I just can’t wait for football season!! This dead time sucks!!!

George Stein

March 1st, 2012
9:49 am

I’m sorry. When did Tebow win his second Heisman, WnE?

Those damn facts keep getting in the way, huh?

Hoopster

March 1st, 2012
9:58 am

Wow, buLLdawg/WnE is all over this blog. When will Thomas Brown appear?

1 4 GT

March 1st, 2012
10:02 am

Getim George!!!!

GTBob

March 1st, 2012
10:02 am

You’re comparing a 2-time Heisman winner

Am I missing an Archie Griffin discussion?

GTBob

March 1st, 2012
10:04 am

As for CPJ. I’m not sure he was looking just for a special teams coach. He probably left his options open and finally decided that he could get a better ST coach then an OL coach. Either way, i’m sure most Tech fans are happy with his decision.

WnE

March 1st, 2012
10:06 am

I’m sorry. When did Tebow win his second Heisman, WnE?

Those damn facts keep getting in the way, huh?
___________________

I’m sorry I gave the holy-roller one more Heisman than he actually won.

Either way, should that other poster be comparing GT’s QBs to Tebow & VY?

You lose focus on the gist of the discussion to pull out minutiae that doesn’t change whether I was right or WRONG,and in this case comparing GT’s QBs to Tebow was WRONG on his part even if I did mistake the number of Heismans that Tebow won.

In the NBA they say no harm no foul.

George Stein

March 1st, 2012
10:08 am

You’re sloppy with facts and that’s good example of it. Why don’t you go back to inventing dialogue between Paul Johnson and his recruits?

gee WnE

March 1st, 2012
10:08 am

one would have guessed by now that you would have figured out 99% of the bloggers here think you are a creep. a creep in the same vein as a penn state creep.

you make all these statements but i guarantee that you would not say any of them to the face of those who you insult. i call that internet bravado.

if ya wanna meet face to face i am sure there are any number of real jackets who would be happy to oblige you. hell i’m 64 and ill give you a shot.

considering you post all day long it stands to reason you don’t have a real job and you are posting between batches of fries.

could it be you still haven’t come out of the closet yet about your boy paul? just because he didn’t return your man love is no reason to continually bash him. is it not time to move on?

if you could do that you would do your for hire mom proud,

btw you chide paul for being stubborn and having a huge ego. have you looked in the mirror lately?

folks, here is a description of WnE in a nutshell…..

“Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually to other people. Thus, projection involves imagining or projecting the belief that others originate those feelings.[1]

Projection reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the unwanted unconscious impulses or desires without letting the conscious mind recognize them.

An example of this behavior might be blaming another for self failure. The mind may avoid the discomfort of consciously admitting personal faults by keeping those feelings unconscious, and by redirecting libidinal satisfaction by attaching, or “projecting,” those same faults onto another person or object.”

it may be time to find another job. making fries and cleaning urinals day after day after day has obviously damaged your psyche.

1 4 GT

March 1st, 2012
10:12 am

Very astute observations geeWnE.

WnE

March 1st, 2012
10:13 am

re:
Joshua Nesbitt was recruited by CCG…..which has NOTHING to do with CPJ. Joshua Nesbitt had tremendous arm strength with absolutely ZERO accuracy and consistency. CPJ recruited Tevin Washington and Jaybo Shaw which both are certainly better passers than Joshua Nesbitt. CPJ has progressively gotten BETTER at recruiting the QB position. Vad Lee and Justin Thomas are both perfect compromises between Nesbitt’s arm strength and Tevin’s feathery touch. I suspect Vad will put up consistent 2:1 ratios of PASSING to RUSHING.

Attributing Joshua Nesbitt’s lack of consistency and accuracy to CPJ is ludicrous and PROVES that you attended some second rate college in the middle of Athens, GA.
________________

CPJ the Offensive Genius had Nesbitt for THREE YEARS and during that time he didn’t improve his passing one bit!

So you want to try & spin that since Nesbitt was Recruited by CHAN that CPJ has no accountability in him not improving as a passer, but when CPJ beats uga & wins a ACC-CG with CHAN’S Recruits then Coach Kung Fu Panda should get all the credit?

P.S. it shouldn’t take a $2.5 Million HC FIVE YEARS to learn how to Recruit better QBs, and the truth is, is that we still don’t know if Lee or Thomas can pass at the BCS level to beat teams better than Dook or Wake!