Podcast: Johnson on critics, future; will Jackets finish better than Dogs?

Georgia Tech's win over Georgia Southern ended a three-game skid but what can the Jackets accomplish in their last five regular season games? (Hyosub Shin / hshin@ajc.com)

Georgia Tech’s win over Georgia Southern ended a three-game skid but what can the Jackets accomplish in their last five regular season games? (Hyosub Shin / hshin@ajc.com)

Georgia Tech had a significant win over Georgia Southern Saturday – significant because any win by either of the two major local football programs qualifies as a departure.

The Jackets had lost three straight, albeit two of them coming to teams better than them (Clemson, Miami) and one that’s at least as good and was favored (at Pittsburgh). Georgia, a Sybil-like mess since winning its opener against North Carolina, has dropped three of its last four games, including Saturday to Vanderbilt 17-16. The Commodores were 2-17 in SEC games under Derek Mason and hadn’t won in Athens since 2006.

Tech and Georgia both are 4-3. If you had to bet which team right now would finish with a better record, which would it be? It might come down to that last regular season game in Athens.

I’ll get to the remaining schedule breakdown shortly. But can you imagine the reaction if Tech coach Paul Johnson goes into Sanford Stadium and wins this year’s meeting, just as he did in his first season over Mark Richt in 2008?

Zach Klein and I spoke to Johnson in the latest edition of the “We Never Played The Game” podcast and he had a number of gems in the interview. Here’s a link to the interview:

Among the topics discussed: comparing the results of Tech’s and Georgia’s programs when the two have contrasting economic situations; perceptions of him as being a difficult and ornery guy who blames players for everything and picks fights with the media; his relationship with former athletic director Mike Bobinski and whether he believes he’s in trouble with a new A.D. (Todd Stansbury) coming in.

A few snippets:

• On comparisons between Bobinski and Dan Radakovich: “(Bobinski and I) weren’t particularly close but we didn’t turn our head every time the guy walked down the hall. I just never saw him much. … Dan was very hands on. Dan would be in my office three times a week. We had a relationship. Most of the ADs I’ve worked with had that direct contact with the football coach.”

How often was Bobinski in his office? “In three, four years? I probably can count them on one hand.”

• Contrasting the economic realities of Tech vs. many Power 5 conference programs: “I was set to hire (defensive coordinator) Ellis Johnson (in 2008) and we didn’t have the money. That’s what happens when one program says go hire who you want and the other one says you’ve got $250,000 to hire a coordinator.” (Tech hired Dave Wommack, who was fired after two years when he wouldn’t accept a demotion.)

• On his negative reputation: “Basically I think what happens is people get a perception of you and they run with it. The guys I get in a big a disagreement with, some radio guys, they don’t know me from Adam’s house cat. And then they get personal. But when it comes back on them, they can’t handle it.”

And then there was that time back when he coached high school basketball when he threatened to deck a referee. No, seriously.

It’s a great, raw interview that I’m sure you’ll enjoy, even if you don’t like Johnson.

OK, back to the breakdown.

Records: Georgia 4-3 overall, 2-3 in the SEC. Georgia Tech: 4-3 overall, 1-3 in the ACC.

Remaining schedules: Georgia: vs. No. 15 Florida (5-1), at Kentucky (3-3), vs. No. 21 Auburn (4-2), vs Louisiana-Lafayette (2-4), vs. Georgia Tech (4-3). Georgia Tech: vs Duke (3-4), at No. 22 North Carolina (5-2), at Virginia Tech (4-2), vs. Virginia, at Georgia.

Each has only two games that could be termed likely wins – Georgia vs. Kentucky and Louisiana-Lafayette; Tech in home games vs. Duke and Virginia.

Common opponent: Georgia lost at home to a Vandy team that Tech handled easily 38-7. They managed only 75 yards rushing against a defense that the Jackets pounded for 289 yards on the ground, 511 yards in total offense, five touchdowns and a 38-7 win.

Best win: Georgia opened the season by beating North Carolina 33-24. The Tar Heels have won five of six since. Tech’s four wins have come over Boston College, Mercer, Vanderbilt and Georgia Southern. Not an impressive group. Vandy’s the best of the four.

Worst loss: Tech’s best win is Georgia worst loss. The Dogs were a two-touchdown favorite at home but lost to the Commodores on homecoming day. Tech was an underdog in all three of its losses. The loss at Pittsburgh wasn’t as bad as Georgia’s.

Worst moment of the season: Tech had consecutive fumbles by quarterback Justin Thomas on consecutive possessions that turned into touchdowns against Miami. That ultimately decided the game (35-21). But those are player mistakes. Georgia had the worst coaching mistake against Vanderbilt. On a crucial fourth-and-1 late in the game, the Dogs chose to pitch the ball to Isaiah McKenzie instead of handing off to either Nick Chubb or Sony Michel. The play failed.

Even if you believe the play call wasn’t awful, consider this: Vanderbilt knew it was coming. Inside linebacker Zach Cunningham, who chased down McKenzie for the tackle, told the Tennessean he knew the play once he saw Georgia’s alignment: “Coach (Mason) alerted to us to the exact play they were going to run. It was something we saw on film, but also (Mason) knew it from their formation.”

So Georgia was outcoached by Vanderbilt. That might be the greatest indictment of all.

Again, for the Paul Johnson podcast, click here. For all episodes, go to the iTunes show page.

Subscribe to the new, “We Never Played The Game” podcast on iTunes with Jeff Schultz and WSB’s Zach Klein. New episodes every Monday and Thursday.

Some recent ramblings

Reader Comments 0

141 comments
DawginLex
DawginLex

If the mod of this blog had any guts, Ohio would have been perma banned years ago


Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO Makes me wonder why a supposed Blowhio State fan has the most posts on a Tech/UGA blog?


You either can't find any other Blowhio State fans who can read and write, or perhaps really a closeted Tech fan.

MacDoogle
MacDoogle

Did you notice that Bobinski went to Purdue to be the AD 6 months ago, and he just fired his head football coach in mid-season !! What kept him from doing that at Tech ??? 

creative
creative

@MacDoogle  I would say that they went to the orange bowl in 2014, then had a bad season, then he was gone.  There is also a buyout.  Do you really not know or are you just a dbag?

OH:IO
OH:IO

dog in an hole,


Another day closer to gym dogs! 


It's all you got. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

UGA and FSU own your guys in football. You've never beaten either of them.

And yes, our gym Dawgs would kick your tail, too.

khd713
khd713

So did anybody on here listen to the podcast? I guess not. Very good interview with PJ and worth checking out. I have my ups and downs with this coach and was definitely on the down side last week after his comments about fans like me not being resilient enough, but this interview warmed me back up a bit. I just wish he wouldn't be so defensive all the time, and would check some of those pointed comments every once in a while. I think in all he's a pretty good guy and a heck of a football coach, but he's got to understand that we fans have high standards too, and we want to win all the time. I know he does, too, but he's set a precedent by showing us it can be done, so now we have expectations. Now we want 2009 and 2014 every year. We've seen what his offense can do when it clicks, and we want it all the time. If he can figure out a way to raise the level of talent on both sides of the ball just a notch, he could take this program a long way and turn Tech into a powerhouse. But I don't think the school or anyone else wants to make the compromises that would be needed to do it the easy(ier) way. It will have to be done the hard way, if at all.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@khd713 

I listened to it, and it confirmed for me what a totally class guy Johnson is, in spite of his detractors.  I would respectfully remind you, based on what you posted, that when you start "expecting" more and end up being disappointed, you can easily fall into the pattern of the mutts, who "expect" a NC every August and fall apart every September when they realize that once again, it's not going to happen.  As Tech fans, we need to HOPE, but not EXPECT, enjoying the banner years, but realizing that since the 50s, we have never had continuous good fortune on the football field and probably never will.

khd713
khd713

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt @khd713 Point taken, but I was careful not to say national championship, and was referring more to consistency along the lines of 2009 and 2014. That would make any Tech fan very happy.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt @khd713 I have Known Paul Johnson since his days in Statesboro, he has always been  a class act when dealing with fans and alumni. When it comes to the media ,he usually treats them the same as they treat him. I hope that he gets Tech back up to the 2014 level of competition, most of the negative Tech Comments I make are targeted at other posters on the blog. As a Ga. Southern fan who graduated from UGa, we sometimes go too far with the "Good old Fashioned Hate" but most of the time it is taken and given with a sense of humour. I think it is best for the UGa/ Tech rivalry if both teams have something on the line when the week of"Good Old Fashioned Hate" comes in November.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Hey, you posted without your usual question mark(s)???

Are you finally taking a stand?

Big Wally
Big Wally

Hey Flat, I was looking at your comment about Richt and Vandy way below.  My memory isn't so good anymore, but didn't Richt almost lose a 3rd time to Vandy up there during that time period?  Real close game, UGA won at the very end with a fumble or blocked punt or something. 

FlatTire
FlatTire

@Big Wally yea there was a real close game; he also forgets we lost to Kentucky twice UCF Colorado and Boise ST

TOJacket
TOJacket

I didn't forget!!......dawgs can't beat George OLeary.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

But they OWN you and your adopted school.

Chirp chirp chirp. Yap yap yap.

Did you raise your hand?

FlatTire
FlatTire

More hilarity from Tech-ohio the closet Tech fan who whose on a UGA blog a 5 am


give it up Tech fan

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

And Woody proved more than once that he was a disgrace to college football.

That you worship such a scumbag is no surprise.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@OH:IO  I used to have friends that were Ohio St fans;  let me give you a little knowledge for today.


No self-respecting Ohio St fan is going to be on a UGA blog at 5 in the morning; nor do they even care about UGA in the first place.


I know the last 50 years of Clean Old Fashion hate aint what it was for ya during the previous 50 but lets cut the charade and get a new handle.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@OH:IO  No worries I'll play along; I just don't know why you picked Ohio St and the Big 10 given there record against UGA and the SEC

OH:IO
OH:IO

@FlatTire



Really?


Grew up 5 miles from the Shoe.


Graduate


8 National Championships


And, Woody went for 2 because he couldn't go for 3. 

FlatTire
FlatTire

@OH:IO Woody.... what a hero for every Clemson player to look up to

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

You've changed them before, lying hypocrite.

That's what two-faced cowards do.

TOJacket
TOJacket

It's as enjoyable as ever to me!

TOJacket
TOJacket

Yea stupid.....that disgrace won 5 NC's

Big Wally
Big Wally

@TOJacket ...and now TO thinks he is an Blowhio State fan.  Talk about riding someone else's coattails. Good grief, can you techsters fake and real ones at least stick to one team.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Doesn't change the fact that he's a disgrace to CFB, or that you lied again by vowing not to respond to me anymore--just like your butt buddy tampongator.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@UWreckMeBaby

I chase two favorite teams; attended both schools and spent years in both cities.

Nothing at all two-faced about it.

Get over yourself.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Well, it's pretty obvious that young Beamer was just riding daddy Beamer's COATTAILS (just for you Blowhio).  Young Beamer has to be the worse Special Teams coach ever. Which leads to the questions, why is he even still employed today?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

Coming from osu alum Kirk, who bears significant responsibility for osu's winless record vs UGA.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

So........you're a lying hypocrite!

But you know that.

TOJacket
TOJacket

I would love to see y'all play!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

They've already played, idiot, and Ohio St backed out of the last agreement to play again.