Georgia Tech Head Coach Johnson: Punch UGA Fans In Face

Patrick GarbinContributor IDecember 2, 2009

ATLANTA - OCTOBER 17:  Head coach Paul Johnson of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets looks on from the sidelines against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 17, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It looks like the Georgia Bulldogs are not only superior on the gridiron than their in-state rival, but also have a much classier coach.

Three days following Georgia Tech’s 30-24 loss to Georgia, Yellow Jacket head coach Paul Johnson made some shocking remarks that stirred the Bulldog Nation. 

Speaking to an Atlanta sports-talk radio station, Johnson asked, “Why would the University of Georgia defend Georgia Tech?  What have they done to be the mark for Georgia Tech football?  What's the last thing they won?  1980?"

As a UGA fan, I personally respected Johnson.  You have to acknowledge a coach who was hired less than two years ago by a middling football program and has quickly turned the Yellow Jackets into the best team in their conference.

At the beginning, seemingly everyone questioned his triple-option offense, doubting it would work against major college defenses.  Johnson’s gimmicky offense is now one of the most feared in football. 

Most importantly, Johnson has achieved what his predecessor Chan Gailey did not—Georgia Tech football now matters.  

However, it sounds like the coach is either crying over spilled milk or doesn’t know his Tech-Georgia football history very well. 

The Bulldogs have won plenty since 1980, especially when compared to Georgia Tech. 

Georgia has captured four SEC titles, including two during the Mark Richt era, since its national championship of 1980.  During the same time, Georgia Tech has won one outright ACC title and that came nearly 20 years ago.

Since 1980, the Bulldogs are 21-8 versus the Yellow Jackets, including last Saturday’s victory. 

It seems to me Georgia has done plenty “to be the mark for Georgia Tech football,” if the mark is one of a long-standing, successful football program.

Johnson continued to said, "We're not going anywhere. We'll be here for awhile. [The loss to Georgia is] not the be all, end all. We're 1-1 [against Georgia]."

The coach is right; Georgia will likely have its hands full when playing the Yellow Jackets as long as he is patrolling Tech’s sideline. However, Johnson’s 1-1 record in the rivalry doesn’t quite compare to Richt’s 8-1 and should not be worthy of mention. 

I almost don’t blame Johnson for downplaying Saturday’s defeat with the ACC title game looming this week. I too would want my team to accomplish something it hasn’t since 1990, more so than a victory over a five-loss Georgia squad.

Most of the Bulldog Nation continues to gloat days after its team’s triumph, so Johnson carried on, advising any Jacket fan getting badgered by a Dawg fan to “punch him in the face.”

Stay classy, Coach Johnson.

I can stand a coach who, every now and then, is overly defensive or doesn’t know his facts, but to even mention the phrase, “punch him in the face,” sounds classless.

The respect I had for Johnson has diminished and I’m now beginning to question his intellect.  Henceforth, I will no longer associate intelligence with everything having to do with The Georgia Institute of Technology. 

Seriously, I speculate most of what Johnson said, especially the remark advocating fan violence, was a verbal slipup.  I doubt one loss to Georgia is going to turn him into the next Lane Kiffin.

Notwithstanding, it's remarks like his, that make some fans appreciate their own coach even more.  For the Georgia faithful, it’s Coach Richt—a man of faith, principal, and integrity, and one who is smart enough not to resemble a jerk in public.

Johnson has been the head coach of a major college football program for only two years, so, like Tennessee’s Kiffin, he may still have a lot to learn.  Regardless, surely he has more sense than what it takes to run the triple option.  


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