Georgia Tech Football: 5 Reasons to Keep Paul Johnson
With many fans in an uproar over the recent skid of their schizophrenic Yellow Jackets squad, the boo birds have been making an appearance at Grant Field over the past several weeks.
The head coach of any struggling team is almost always, and most often rightfully, the first person blamed for a squad's lack of success, and even an extremely popular coach like Tech's Paul Johnson is not immune from such scrutiny.
With sentiments trending downward for the modern day guru of the classic option offense, let's offer up some concrete reasons why it is not time for a head coaching change on the Flats.
The Offense Is Working
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
The less-than-studious fan will usually first blame the offense of his or her favorite team for losing games, because it is the easiest, most tangible entity seen by the uneducated in any given contest.
Since Paul Johnson runs a less-than-popular offensive scheme in today's world of pro-style sets, fans often buy into the doubting ways of pundits who often have little else to talk about.
If a fanbase was asked before the season if through Week 9 if they would take their chances with a team averaging over 35 points a game, most would gladly accept this scenario. Well, the Yellow Jackets, behind Paul Johnson's option offense are doing just that, averaging 35.1 points through eight games. To blame the offense alone for Georgia Tech's losses would be without research.
Through his entire career at Tech, Johnson's teams are averaging 30.7 points in 61 games while his defenses have surrendered 29.8 points per game during that same stretch.
He Makes Tough Decisions
After a dismal three-game stretch of losses to Miami, Middle Tennessee State and Clemson with the defense surrendering more than 40 points a game in each for the first time in the program's history, Paul Johnson axed defensive coordinator Al Groh after a 32-game tenure at Georgia Tech.
Groh had replaced Dave Wommack, who had been let go even after one of the most successful seasons in Yellow Jacket's history. Johnson's offensive genius has barely been able to edge out a continuously untrustworthy defense during his tenure on the Flats thus far, but he has recognized this as fact and done what he can to adjust.
He Wins More Than He Loses
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Paul Johnson has a trend that has followed his head coaching career since it began. His teams win. He had a 2-10 season to start his career at Navy, but never had another losing campaign after that. In Atlanta, Johnson has only posted one losing season, which was a 6-7 2010 season where his Jackets made a bowl.
Disgruntled fans might offer that Johnson is 6-8 vs. ranked opponents and 0-4 in bowls, but he's also 2-0 against Top Five teams, and has won a conference title. Paul Johnson is also 37-24 overall at Georgia Tech including a 23-14 record in the ACC.
Paul Johnson is a winner.
AP Photo/Josh D. Weiss
During the recent loss to BYU, when the offense couldn't quite find its rhythm, chants of "Vad-Lee, Vad-Lee" could be heard from the stands at various points in the game. Midway through the fourth quarter, current starter Tevin Washington received several rounds of boos, and when redshirt freshman Vad Lee finally emerged for his first drive, the crowd erupted.
Yellow Jackets fans have been touting Lee's skill since before he had even committed to Georgia Tech, and during his redshirt season of 2011, his name radiated through Bobby Dodd Stadium on a weekly basis.
Lee, who has had significant work during the 2012 campaign, has shown knowledge of the offense, combined with the "it" factor reminiscent of Josh Nesbitt and Joe Hamilton. He's quick on his feet, quick in his decision-making and has quite an arm.
Fans are excited about what will perhaps be Paul Johnson's greatest quarterback recruit thus far, and he's worth keeping tuned in for.
Buyout Would Be Costly
The only argument presented in this article that is not merit based certainly deserves mention. The elephant in the room with most any coaching change decision at the college level is money.
Tech now pays Johnson nearly $2.5 million per season bringing his current buyout to nearly $10 million, and that is something that Georgia Tech simply cannot afford, nor would it be prudent for most any college program for a coach with a winning record.