Unique methods pay off for Georgia Tech coach
By Jerry DiPaola
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 10:09 p.m.
Paul Johnson is part of a Georgia Tech coaching fraternity that includes some memorable characters.
• The school's first full-time head coach (John Heisman) has the most coveted trophy in college football named after him.
• The winningest coach of the group (Bobby Dodd, 165 victories) has his name attached to the stadium, a 100-year-old edifice that is the oldest on-campus facility in major college football and the venue where Pitt (4-3, 2-2 ACC) will meet the Ramblin' Wreck (5-3, 4-2) on Saturday night.
• Two others (Bud Carson and Chan Gailey) were successful NFL coaches and assistants on Steelers' Super Bowl teams.
• Another (Bill Curry) was the starting center on the Green Bay Packers' Super Bowl I champion.
• Three of them (Heisman, Dodd and William Alexander) won at least 100 games, a feat Johnson has matched (152) if you count his time at Georgia Southern and Navy.
Georgia Tech's next victory will be its 700th since the program's inception in 1892, making it only the 17th school to reach that milestone.
Johnson, though, is different. He coaches with a unique style, his triple-option offense testing the opponent's discipline and attention to detail, if not its pass defense.
Pass? Georgia Tech largely ignores the custom of the day in college football in favor of a running attack that leads the ACC and is fourth in the nation (an average of 315.6 yards per game). Meanwhile, Georgia Tech's 120 pass attempts and 45 percent completion rate in eight games are by far the lowest in the conference.
“It's just the system that we choose to run,” Johnson said. “I just always had the belief that if you can run and stop the run, you're going to have a chance to win.”
Johnson points to the national championship game after the 2009 season when Alabama beat Texas, 37-21, and threw only 12 passes.
Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound sophomore, can throw a little. He was 6 for 8 the past two weeks in 56-0 and 35-25 victories over Syracuse and Virginia. But those teams invited Georgia Tech to run, and the Yellow Jackets didn't turn down the invitation, rushing for 394 yards in both games.
“We'd like to throw it more efficiently than we have and maybe a little more,” Johnson said, “but just the nature of what we've done in the last couple of weeks. The secondary wasn't really involved in stopping the run game a whole lot, so there wasn't a lot of reason to throw.”
Pitt gets its second consecutive look at the triple-option after its mixed results last week in a loss to Navy. The Panthers have had trouble with mobile quarterbacks — Notre Dame's Everett Golson comes immediately to mind — but Pitt coach Paul Chryst doesn't sound concerned.
“We did some really good things against (Navy),” he said. “They had a couple of long drives at the end of the game. We have to clean that up.
“I don't feel like there is something inherent about that offense that we can't handle.”
Note: Charges of simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct were dropped against defensive tackle Tyrone Ezell in connection with a brawl July 30 in Homestead. Judge Thomas Torkowsky withdrew the case Thursday prior to a scheduled preliminary hearing.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt QB Savage turns down NYC invite to NFL Draft
- Panthers pulling weight for new strength coach
- Donald turns down New York invite for NFL Draft
- Former Pitt captain Cavanaugh blazes trail as entrepreneur
- Pitt wraps up spring football practice with closeness, competition