Memo to DanRad: Time to Lock Paul Johnson Down

Zachary OstermanCorrespondent IDecember 26, 2009

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 05:  Head coach Paul Johnson of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets is presented with a formal invitation to the Orange Bowl after defeating the Clemson Tigers in the 2009 ACC Football Championship game at Raymond James Stadium on December 5, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

(It is again time to pull out the checkbook, Dan Radakovich, this time for good)

Hey folks. Still trying to get over the Urban Meyer announcement, which frankly, has me floored.

But it also means the coaching carousel will again spin, and the big man on the Flats will again be the subject of at least some rumor and speculation. (You'll recall, for the purposes of this conversation, that Paul Johnson's contract was retooled after last season, and then extended after this one.)

Now, I'm not saying Paul Johnson is a top candidate for the Florida job. Realistically, he's a long, long shot, though he might come up in private conversations between now and the moment Jeremy Foley publicly anoints a successor.

Where Tech should be worried, much like the Notre Dame search earlier this month, is in the fallout. Should Florida snag, say, Les Miles or Dan Mullen from another SEC school, would they come calling on Johnson? Can't see him leaving for the latter, more so for the former.

Now, Johnson has been adamant that he's happy at Tech, that he didn't even really want to leave Navy and that it was only the prospect of returning to Georgia that lured him south from Annapolis.

And honestly, though every coach will tell you the same thing until they put their name on another school's contract, Johnson is one I believe more than most.

But right now, Johnson would be the seventh highest-paid coach in the SEC, and that's a reality Georgia Tech needs to address with more money, not more time.

Tech's program has never been one to get caught up in college football's arms race—the Jackets have carved out a nice niche for themselves in a good market, and trying to spend with the big boys would break them.

But there are plenty of successful Tech alums out there with deep pockets and a football itch, and it's time for Dan Radakovich to reach out to those individuals with a special plea.

I don't think Paul Johnson is going anywhere. I think he likes it at Georgia Tech, I think he realizes he's in a place where he can really create a good thing with his option offense and I think he's honestly excited about building a winning tradition in Atlanta.

But money makes the world go 'round, and it's time to give Johnson his spin on the wheel. Lock him down, and keep the program focused on going in one direction only: forward.