Sunday, October 7, 2012

How Paul Johnson Can Improve His Defense At Georgia Tech With One Phone Call

Georgia Tech lost to Clemson Saturday, their third straight this season and their third straight game giving up at least 40 points. According to ESPN this has never been done by a Yellow Jackets team in over 100 years of football.

For a program which owns one of the most remarkable stats in college football, the 222-0 win over Cumberland, this team now has its own place in Tech history.

Despite this most recent loss, Johnson has enjoyed much success over Clemson. Even after Saturday he is 4-2*  against the Tigers and specifically Dabo Swinney.

You may remember Swinney's first game as interim coach came against Georgia Tech, one the Tigers lost 21-17.  The AJC wrote about the friendship between the two head coaches this week leading up to the game. Swinney remarked how Johnson has been "very gracious and insightful to him since he became a head coach midway through the 2008 season

It is time Johnson stopped giving out the advice and started taking some from his friend up I-85.

This will be tough for a guy who has had his style of offense questioned for 30 years, yet it has produced on every level of competition. He does not take criticism very well and does not mince words.

But Johnson also calls himself the most competitive person he knows, to a fault he even admits.

If the guy who played in three straight Division I-AA National Championship Games, winning two, and won the Commander in Chief's Trophy a record five straight times wants Georgia Tech to be competitive going forward he must change. He must seek advice.

After last season when his Offensive Coordinator was being pursued by multiple teams willing to give said OC a big raise, Dabo Swinney did something very smart and humble.

After winning the ACC title last season, a clause in Swinney's contract kicked in to bump his pay to $2.1M per season. Mind you this is $200k lower than Johnson's current yearly salary. 

Knowing the importance of having good assistants, the Clemson head coach gave out $300,000 of his own money to his assistants.

Dabo Swinney "gets it".

He knows ACC titles don't come solely from the head coach. They come from game planning throughout the off season and game week. And maybe more importantly they come from recruiting.

Back to Georgia Tech where Defensive Coordinator Al Groh is floundering in his third season in the job.  Not only is Tech lacking in coaching, they have a massive deficit in talent when compared to their rivals. 

Head Coaches get the the praise but who does most of the recruiting?  Assistant coaches.  I would think the Clemson assistants have a little more enthusiasm in recruiting for their boss knowing his generosity and understanding how important a complete staff is. 

Johnson has already fired one DC and it is a foregone conclusion he will be firing another one after this season.

Groh is one of the lowest paid coordinators in the ACC at just $312k.

Money is tight at Georgia Tech who doesn't have a 80,000 seat stadium to draw revenue from, but if they want to be competitive they will have to pay more than what they currently are to get a Defensive Coordinator worth a damn.

Paul Johnson can solve that problem by making a phone call to Dabo Swinney for some return advice.  He can't afford not to. 

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