Georgia Football: Paul Johnson’s Retirement is a Sad Event

Georgia Football, Paul Johnson of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Georgia Football, Paul Johnson of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has announced his retirement from coaching on the heels of the Yellow Jackets 45-21 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs. While many Georgia Tech fans are excited, many Georgia Football fans are saddened by coach Johnson’s departure.

The news came as a shock to many. In April Georgia Tech signed Johnson to an extension that was supposed to take him through the 2022 season as coach. However after the 45-21 loss between the hedges, its become increasingly clear that Georgia Football is in another stratosphere, compared to the Georgia Tech program.

The Dawgcast Podcast first hinted of the retirement in this tweet:

Bill Shanks of ESPN Middle Georgia officially broke the Paul Johnson retirement news in this tweet:

Fans of the Georgia Bulldogs aren’t thrilled by the retirement as the Dawgs have dominated their in state rival under Johnson. UGA won eight of 11 games against Tech with Paul Johnson at the helm.

Kirby Smart has a 2-1 edge against Paul Johnson in their three meetings. After blowing a 14 point lead and losing by one point in their first meeting, Kirby and UGA bounced back to blow GA Tech out twice, outscoring them 83-28 in the two victories combined.

Due to the Dawgs’ dominance, the retirement of Paul Johnson is a sad event for most Georgia fans. Particularly due to the triple option offense that Georgia Tech runs. While it can be a difficult offense to stop, Georgia didn’t have much trouble with it.

More importantly it’s always been wildly believed that the flexbone offense that Georgia Tech runs, is preventing them from landing premium offensive talent on the recruiting circuit. Even the best duel threat quarterbacks don’t choose the Yellow Jackets, due to the wear and tear the offense requires on the body.

The best offensive lineman don’t typically choose Georgia Tech either, due to the fact the blocking scheme is so much different from an NFL blocking scheme. Most Division One high school players have aspirations of the NFL and won’t go to a school that they feel hinders their opportunity.

Shaq Mason a staring guard for the New England Patriots, is the only current NFL offensive linemen from a Paul Johnson Yellow Jackets team.

Georgia Tech also has trouble landing top skill position recruits. Because they rarely throw the ball, it’s a tough sale to convince wide receiver and tight end recruits to choose Tech.

Darren Waller a former Georgia Tech wide receiver, is now a reserve tight end for the Oakland Raiders. He is the only current NFL skill position player who was recruited to Georgia Tech by Paul Johnson. Surprisingly there are no Georgia Tech running backs on NFL rosters currently.

Even more encouraging for GA fans and discouraging for Tech fans, was the fact that Paul Johnson was never able to build a good defense a Tech. Had he found the right defensive coordinator that could recruit, the Jackets would have been much tougher to beat with that running game.

Georgia Bulldogs fans are slightly concerned that a new coach for their hated rival, will mean a scheme change. The right coach and that scheme change, could mean the Dawgs have some recruiting competition from their in state rival, for the first time in a long time.

For years the Dawgs have been the only local choice, in a state that ranks top four in the nation for producing four and five-star college football players. UGA has especially dominated recruiting in the state of Georgia, since Kirby Smart was named head coach.

Ken Whisenhunt a former NFL head coach of the Arizona Cardinals and the Tennessee Titans, is expected to be a top candidate to replace Paul Johnson. He’s a Georgia Tech alum and currently the offensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers.

Brian Bohannon of local FCS program Kennesaw State, has also been named as a potential candidate. He currently has the owls with a 10-1 record and in the playoffs for his division.

Scott Satterfield of Appalachian State, is another name that’s floating around as a potential replacement candidate for Paul Johnson. His Mountaineers have a record of 9-2 and are set to take on Louisiana Lafayette, in the first ever Sun Belt Conference championship game.

Maybe Georgia fans will get their wish and Jeff Monkan of Army will be the new Georgia Tech head coach. If Monkan is hired the Jackets will continue to run the flexbone triple option offense, as Army runs the same Paul Johnson inspired offense.

A schemed change for Georgia Tech wouldn’t be all bad for the Georgia Bulldogs. Changing to a pro style offense or a spread option, would likely set the Yellow Jackets back a couple of more years.

Tech would have to recruit entirely different personnel in order to change systems. In the meantime they would have to force fit players, into a system that isn’t ideal for them. This would make Tech more vulnerable, especially against a talent laden team like the Dawgs.

Such a scheme change would likely mean Georgia Tech would be a non bowl qualifier for at least two seasons.

The other positive for the Dawgs, if the triple option is done away with at Tech, is they won’t have to spend so much time preparing for an offense that no SEC team runs. In fact the Dawgs have spent practice time every week on defending the option, since the Dawgs lost 27-28 to Tech, in Kirby Smart’s first season at UGA.

This would leave UGA more time at the end of the season to prepare for a possible SEC Title Game. It would at least allow some things they work on against GA Tech, to be relevant to who they play for the SEC Title.

Kirby Smart was asked after the win over Tech, if Georgia was playing their best football as reported by Chip Towers of Dawg Nation in this piece. He immediately went into the fact that not much translates from the win over Tech in this quote:

"“Offensively I could say, well, we’re playing better. Defensively, I can’t tell you that because we’re going to play the exact opposite. Not one thing we did this week is going to be relative, other than tackling. That’s it.”"

So while there are some potential positives to Paul Johnson retiring, many Dawg Fans can’t help but lament the fact that the coach that Georgia has owned, is now riding off into the sunset.

Though Dawg can fans take pride in the fact that Georgia helped to force the retirement of Paul Johnson, they can’t help but mourn the fact that they will no longer see a livid Johnson on the sidelines as the Dawgs enforce their will on the hated rival. One thing is for certain, Paul Johnson will be missed by fans of Georgia Football.

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As a UGA fan, how do you feel about the retirement of Paul Johnson? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below. Keep a browser window open to ATL All Day for the latest on the Georgia Bulldogs, as they prepare to take on Alabama in their quest for a second consecutive SEC title.

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