Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Handing out the Grades: Georgia Tech

With the end of each college football season, there comes the hiring and firings as schools evaluate their program and whether they meet their expectations. Hiring a new coach is a dicey process and making the right or wrong hire will determine the success of the program over the next 10 years. Let’s look at this winter’s changes and hand out the grades.

Georgia Tech (7-5)
- Chan Gailey was fired from Georgia Tech after six straight winning seasons, mostly for not winning enough. Georgia Tech had become a consistently mediocre bowl eligible team, and that wasn’t enough when it came to looking across at rival Georgia’s broadening success. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to Georgia Tech or their fans as Chan Gailey has been a model of consistent mediocrity everywhere he has been a head coach. He is one of those guys that should go be a top NFL offensive coordinator and leave it at that.

The move opened the door for Navy’s Paul Johnson to make the next step in his so far successful career. He comes to Georgia Tech after six successful years at the Naval Academy and five successful years and two national championships at Georgia Southern. Everywhere Paul Johnson has gone, he has won without great talent. Unfortunately, he is now about to enter new territory and begin to play major college football, in a major conference, the ACC.

But the ACC is a conference where a move to the upper echelon is possible. There is no dominant team in the ACC. Virginia Tech, Boston College, Clemson are currently on top, but it wouldn’t take much from any of the second tier (Maryland, Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Virginia) to unseat them. It is a conference where perhaps only Virginia Tech can be considered a National contender. This is where Georgia Tech is hoping Paul Johnson can take them.

But recruiting at an academy is different than recruiting anywhere else. He will face stiffer competition to recruit the kind of players that he will need to be successful in the ACC. He will be playing a schedule that will have 8 quality opponents as oppose to one with 3 quality opponents. But most of all I question how his triple option spread attack will fare against quality competition. It is a gimmick offense that will cause teams problems, but if gimmick offenses were a way to win championships, you would see many more gimmick offenses. I question how successful his offense will be in recruiting players that want to play in the NFL and how it will fare against the quality defenses that Georgia Tech will face in the ACC.

Paul Johnson has gotten the most out of his talent everywhere he has gone. He rejuvenated a Navy program and had one of the most successful runs in recent academy history. He won championships at a lower level with Georgia Southern and has had statistical success everywhere he has gone. But I don’t know if you can win BCS Championships with a gimmick offense. He will also have a difficult time getting the top recruits running an offense that won’t prepare players for the NFL. It is a hire that could be hit or miss for a Georgia Tech program hoping to make it to the top of the ACC.

Grade: C+

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