Disastrous 4th quarter in Sun Bowl loss ends Paul Johnson’s honeymoon at Georgia Tech.

How does an 8-5 season feel like a huge letdown? When you lose 5 of your final 7 games, including a 3rd straight loss to your in-state rival and lose a mind boggling 7th straight bowl game. Up 24-10 in the fourth quarter Georgia Tech was minutes from changing the perception of their entire offseason. A 9 win season with a top 25 finish and optimism would abound. Instead Paul Johnson will enter 2012 for the first time not on the hotseat, but on notice.

It will probably go down as the bowl season’s biggest choke job. How else can you describe it? Inside 3 minutes Georgia Tech needed 1 first down to end the game, and the play calling became so conservative as to be totally useless. Repeated inside runs, that Utah’s defensive lines to their credit sniffed out and stuffed.

When Utah had the ball in the 4th qtr, their coach Kyle Wittingham played to win rather than not to lose as Johnson did.  The honeymoon is over in Atlanta, and chinks in the armor are starting to really show. Virginia Tech isn’t going anywhere. Virginia, Clemson, and Florida State are improving. The 2009 ACC champions are starting to fall behind the elite players in the conference.

Two missed FGs, and multiple break downs in the special teams coverage keep occurring. This has been ongoing during most of Johnson’s tenure. There is not one true difference maker on either side of ball which speaks to the inability of Johnson to bring in elite talent to Atlanta.

I am aware there are players like QB Vad Lee out there, but until they play you can’t make the determination they will be great players. The fact is Johnson has not recruited well.

Normally an aggressive play caller, he coached scared, and therefore his team played scared. Poor playcalling + medicore talent usually results in losses to the better teams.

For 2012, I think Johnson needs to make a major statement. I felt following a 6 win 2010 season anything less than 8 win season would have him on the hot seat. He won 8 so he’s safe for 2012, but Georgia Tech fans are getting restless.

Paul Johnson simply cannot keep ending season after season with 2 losses in a row. In addition consider in the last two years Johnson is 1-9 against the Jacket’s biggest rivals (Clemson, Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia) and bowl games. That simply is unacceptable and Johnson knows it.

These are same kind of results that got Jim Donnan fired some years ago at Georgia. He typically put together 8-9 win seasons, but lost his biggest games. If Johnson can’t start winning these games with some type of consistency, it will be his undoing eventually as well.


  1. Bay Roberson says:

    What can he do to make next year different? I think at some point he has to look at hiring some help for special teams and the offense.

  2. Jfann says:

    What you said Bay, and recruit better! I’m not sure anything would have helped the conservative 4th qtr play calling though. Johnson played not to lose and lost.

  3. George P Burdell says:

    I thought the triple option was perfect for GA Tech, and believe Jonhnson is an offensive genius. He did improve the defense with Grohe this year, but I am now worried about his ability to win . I mean the ability to lead and motivate the players to do their best. The Clemson win showed we could have gone undefeated this year. Let’s face it – Utah is really not that good of a team. Today was a disgrace.

  4. Jfann says:

    The offensive Triple Option scheme is fine and normally Johnson is an excellent play caller, but today was a 4th quarter he’ll regret. The 4th quarter play calling honestly was gutless. I’ve never seen CPJ crawl into a shell the way he did today. His team sensed and played like it. A disgrace is right.

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