I’ve long been a Paul Johnson fan. I really like him, and the unique identity he brings to Georgia Tech with his option offense. As recently as two years ago he beat Georgia and had a 9 win season. There is a top 10 year, Orange Bowl appearances, ACC Titles and ACC Championship game appearances on his resume. He’s had a a lot of success in Atlanta, but Georgia Tech football is currently broken after 24-19 loss at Pitt.
Sure the score doesn’t look all that bad, but that was more cosmetic than anything. Georgia Tech got down 21-0 due to questionable play calling, mental mistakes on both sides of the ball, and a Pitt team that physically pushed the Jackets all over the field the first quarter and a half, then just coasted to the finish line.
For Georgia Tech to make a bowl this season a 1-3 start needed to be avoided at all costs. After Clemson handles Georgia Tech next week, the Jackets will sit 1-3, and mostly likely will be sitting at home for the holidays again. It will be the Jackets 3rd losing season in the last 4 years, and the question has to be asked – Is Paul Johnson capable of fixing what’s broke with Georgia Tech football?
4 years ago I would have said yes, now I have my doubts. When Paul Johnson went for a fake punt inside his own 40 yard line early in the game, it had all the markings of a desperate coach. You coach desperate, then your team will play desperate. There is a reason Georgia Tech has lost so many single digit games the last 1 1/2 years. They are mentally fragile team with little confidence in what they are doing. You can overcome that sometimes with great talent, but a top 20 recruiting class isn’t walking through that door anytime soon.
Georgia Tech is a team that has to win with better execution than their opponent, and right now it’s not there. Once a losing culture takes hold of a program it can take years to overcome it. Barring a near miracle to find 5 more wins on the schedule, Georgia Tech has to decide if Johnson is the right guy long-term after the season is over.
Georgia Tech let other ACC schools pass them by in-terms of facilities only now committing to improvements. That’s not on Johnson, but it may have come to late for him.
It’s looking more and more like Johnson’s tenure has run it’s course. He appears to be a coach without an answers.