"Folks in Athens will be quivering at the thought of that hire."
"There are now two college football powers in this state."
"Coach Johnson has a 6-0 record over their big rival, Army."
The big news in the world of sports of late, the BCS and college coaching changes, has been focused on the state of Georgia. Georgia not making the BCS top two and settling for the Sugar Bowl instead was a big story. Another big story has been Georgia Tech's firing of Chan Gailey and hiring of Paul Johnson as head football coach.
Even before Gailey was fired, the media and Tech fans have been clamoring for Paul Johnson of Navy and formerly of Georgia Southern to become the Yellow Jackets' next coach. Those who share their opinions with us through the state's sports sections have routinely spewed statements like those at the top of this column. You can tell they are surely hoping for a change of fortune for Georgia Tech in their rivalry with the Georgia Bulldogs.
Paul Johnson is a good football coach that will likely make Tech better. How much better; only time will tell. According to many scribes that I have read, it has already happened and Johnson has the Georgia Bulldogs ready to run for cover. As ESPN's Lee Corso often says, "not so fast my friend."
Just who in Athens is quivering over the thought of Paul Johnson being Tech's coach? Is it coach Mark Richt? Is it the Bulldog team? Is it Georgia fans? Is it beloved mascot Uga? Is it Larry Munson? I could call the roll forever and find nary a soul "quivering" over the presence of Paul Johnson, or anyone for that matter, at the helm of Georgia Tech football.
Who is now the second college football power in our state? Is it Georgia? Is it Georgia Tech? Could it even be Georgia Southern? According to many folks, topped by Tech fans, Georgia has been lucky to win 71 games, two SEC championships and play in seven bowl games since 2001. Even in this year's 31-17 victory over Tech, the Dog's seventh in a row, didn't they say the officials favored Georgia on every close call? They always say that.
Do you become a college power by winning 79 percent of your games or by merely hiring a coach that is perceived to be better than your last one? Doesn't Coach Johnson deserve at least one spring practice under his belt with his new team before calling them a power? I mean they haven't even won the blue rug bowl yet so Johnson can take notes.
Going 6-0 against Army really takes the cake. Does this mean that Johnson is going to immediately jump Tech on top of the Georgia rivalry? If you read the clippings it seems the writers believe because Navy handled their arch-rival Army under Johnson then Tech will do the same with its' nemesis Georgia.
Get real. Army? Army even dropped Tech from its future schedule because they said they could not compete with the Yellow Jackets. Please don't compare Army football to Georgia Bulldog football. That is ridiculous. Paul Johnson has a nice resumè but don't give him too much credit for beating Army. Especially when Georgia gets no credit for beating Vanderbilt. I believe Vandy would kill Army in football.
I try to be a gentleman when it comes to the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry but all of this talk about Paul Johnson scaring Georgia out if its collective boots is too much for me. I take solace in the fact that since I was born in 1958 Georgia has a record of 36-14 over Tech while under the direction of six different head coaches. Tech has had nine coaches during that same time period.
Ray Goff was maligned more than any Georgia coach ever. He had a record of 5-2 against Georgia Tech, including five in a row during his last five seasons. If it can be fathomed that Tech will come to dominate Georgia like Navy did Army while under Paul Johnson then so be it. Ray Goff didn't quiver over the Yellow Jackets so why should Mark Richt? That thought in and of itself gives me peace over Tech's hiring of one Paul Johnson.