Paul Johnson Under Fire

Let’s face it, Coach Paul Johnson is the perfect fit for GT. Like it or not, his old school style is a great match for a team that struggles to recruit with any coach due to the schools academic requirements and in-state competition. He keeps Tech in every game and no other coach has won more in his first 4 years at the Institute on North Ave. He’s been the ACC Coach of The Year twice in his four seasons with the Jackets and only Frank Beamer has a better win percentage among coaches with 4+ years of HC experience in the ACC. Graduation rates are up, (uniforms are looking better) testing rates are up, National TV coverage is up and while it may not be “the sexy program” it’s certainly come along way since the Chan Gailey days. Why do some Tech fans insist on running him out already? Ask yourself… Can Georgia Tech find a better Coach? Who REALLY wants to come to Tech anyways? lets be honest… will we find a better X’s and O’s coach? that doesn’t exist. Is Saban leaving Bama for us? what about realistic candidates? What makes the Tech job appealing? It drives me crazy seeing some fans call for a change with no realistic views on a replacement. How did that whole Paul Hewitt thing work out? Too early to tell, but I don’t think the rush to hire another Brian Gregory is imminent or really ideal at this point. Let us think logically as Techies before we light the pitchforks. This was the guy we were signing to extensions and begging to stay two years ago, why has it changed so abruptly? This biggest knocks? Can’t recruit. You get what you get with our system, the blue chip pieces won’t land here… and we deal with it. Its something they aren’t looking for, one man won’t get 25 touches at running back, a QB won’t throw the ball 10x a game? so why are expecting something we aren’t actively trying to find? that we CAN’T expect, its not our plan and it’s not our system, so why are should we expect a cookie cutter recruiting class if we don’t run a cookie cutter offense? We can’t. The other complaint? Can’t beat Georgia, can’t beat Va Tech, can’t win a bowl game. OK, what’s your point? When should we beat Georgia? Maybe once out of five? In 2009, Tech was a winning drive away from taking two straight vs. the Dawgs, Bebe dropped a pass in his hands for the go-ahead score with seconds to play. In 2010, CPJ clearly, undisputed out-coached Mark Richt– he took a QB into Athens with 3 games of total experience, he was down 14 in the forth quarter, he rallied the team back, but the kicker MISSED AN EXTRA-POINT to tie the game at the end of regulation. Then he LET Georgia SCORE when they could have taken a knee for the easy win to get the ball back, making Richt look foolish despite losing to him again. In 2011 they just flat out lost, but my point is- CPJ can’t catch passes and can’t kick extra points, he did his job and did it well… it’s not fair as a fan base to hold him liable for the unpredictable. When have we been favored against Va Tech or UGA? who is going to change that? It’s crazy to me that some fans think Tech is LSU, USC, Texas or Alabama. WE ARE NOT A ELITE TOP-TIER PROGRAM, reality check folks… I hate to say that. We are, at best, a top 20 team that competes at a high level every week. Once every 20 years will we make a NC run, I don’t think any head coach can jump in and change that immediately, the scary truth is that with a poor coaching change away from being a Maryland, Wake Forest or Mississippi State. It’s time we start appreciating what we have. No, we may not win every game, but when have we ever been a pushover under CPJ? NEVER… he gives his team a chance to win week in and week out, and in my humble opinion, that’s all we can really ask for. For fun, lets take a look at (in my opinion) Coach Johnson’s 10 best wins and losses: CPJ’s WORST 10 LOSSES #102010 @ Clemson, LOST BY 14We don’t often lose to Clemson, but when we do… we do. Nesbitt’s last healthy game should have been better from such a promising, returning group. #92011 @ Miami, LOST BY 17Miami has our number. #82008 Virginia, LOST BY 7The Cavs? Really? The Cavs? Foreshadowing… #72010 Miami, LOST BY 25I know this was Tev’s first game as a true starter, but 25 at home? …and these ain’t your daddy’s ‘Canes. #62011 Utah, LOST BY 3Bowl woes continue, Tech up 14 to start forth quarter, fall asleep in the Sun (Bowl)… #52009 Georgia, LOST BY 6The tide starts to shift for only a split second, but Bebe’s dropped pass in his hands folds a go ahead TD drive with under a minute to play, UGA equalizes series vs. CPJ, continues to own the series. #42008 LSU, LOST BY 3535 in the Dome? after a UGA win? seemed like that team had already played there last game in Athens. #32011 @ UVA, LOST BY 3Not again…Sneaky Cavs steal a big win over Jackets; shot at first 7-0 start since 1990’s National Title team. #22010 @ Kansas, LOST BY 3Kansas has a football team? never heard of them. #12010 Air Force, LOST BY 7A Service Academy, losing at your own game… would be ashamed.CPJ’s BEST 10 WINS#102009 Clemson, WIN BY 3Hello Dabo, great to see you again. #92009 #22 North Carolina, WIN BY 17We ain’t dead yet… #82008 @ Clemson WIN BY 4Death Valley, no problem. #72008 #23 Miami, WIN BY 18White Out Thursday Night ESPN… Electric atmosphere to kick-off CPJ era. #62009 @ Florida State, WIN BY 5Tech wins back to back seasons vs. Bowden is the shootout at Doak Campell. #52008 #15 FSU, WIN BY 3Fate would be on our side…fumble in the end zone, rush the field, the drought is over and the rest is history. #42011 #5 Clemson, WIN BY 14Tech ends Clemson’s National Title hopes on ESPN Thursday Night Football in Atlanta. #32009 #4 Virginia Tech, WIN BY 5All The Way Turnt Up… GT Style #22008 @ #11 Georgia, WIN BY 3Johnson’s first trip to Athens is successful, knocks off Moreno & Stafford in final home game at Sanford. #12009 Clemson, WIN BY 5 (ACCCG)The Jackets are Orange Bowl Bound and 2009 ACC Champions.

On The Surface

I am rarely rattled or seem confused, I pride myself on confidence and composure. I think it’s easy to view me as arrogant, there is a fine line between arrogant and sure. People judge because of envy or not being sure of themselves. I’m introverted, growing up as an only child I’ve had to be. I’ve dealt with opposite sides of the spectrum, one parent never there for me at all, the other sometimes too much- so trust has always been hard. I’m overly straight-forward, black and white, facts, stats and ‘it is what it is‘. I never feel sorry for myself, I don’t mope, I don’t desire any sympathy. On the other side- I am very inwardly emotional, sentimental, tear up a lot, store tons of special memories and moments and care about being a positive role-model for many. It fuels my fire, it’s what makes me tick, it sounds stupid or cheesy… but it’s true. Not having that backing in my life hasn’t made me bitter, it’s just made me want to give that much more back… I am probably a little crazy, who isn’t? I guess most of all, I love life, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Sports: For Better or Worse

College Football is a beautiful game, a game of passion, emotion, allegiance and identity. There are 2 types of fans: the casual fan and the totally engrossed, overly-committed, let-the-outcome-affect-your-life type of fan. The first asks the second, “How can you be so upset about a silly game in which you cannot control?” Is there a good answer for it? not really, it just does… This irrational behavior is a bit over-the-top, but nevertheless for those that can’t explain explain it, it does exist. The reason I love baseball so much more, or at least claim to, is because the results of each individual game don’t hold as much value as those in college football. The season is so long, the numbers are true and don’t lie over time and at the end of the year- you pretty much get what you earn. College Football is different. One loss can effect your season, and the next season, and recruiting in state, and your week by thinking about it all, etc. etc. Many losses can be overly dissected with “Oh if this play were different we would have won” or “If we didn’t get/got that call we had it.” In baseball its a little easier to shake it off, most teams will play the next day- in football, you may not play for 2 weeks or be able to redeem yourself for sometimes a year. The highs certainly go into affect too- you can have a program changing win that sets your team up for a great season, but the lows can be agonizing, gut-checking and all the what if scenarios can play with your emotions. Week in and week out, the beautiful game is played- the stakes are high; identification and allegiance to a team are important. Most of us can say we feel a part of it, it’s stupid and irrational, but isn’t it true? For whatever reason, it becomes a small piece of who we are, many people will say, “I can’t relate at all to what you’re talking about,” but just as many will think, “I know exactly what you mean.” Sports can have zero bearings on your life at all, they can be directly a part of your life- say in your career or as a coach. They can also be an outlet away from reality, to take a minute, or get away from “real life”. It can be a chance to step away from reality and invest in something in which we have completely no control over. We deal with loss in many ways: anger, rage, jealously, sadness, blame, call for coaching changes, seeing a silver lining, with negativity and expectations for the worst. We deal with wins in many ways: pride, boastfulness, excitement, indifference, anticipation and the list goes on. For better or for worse, sports affect peoples lives; they affect society, careers, money & marketing, moods and morale. After New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina- The Saints single-handedly rebuild the cities disposition, outlook and spirit in a positive way. Steve Bartman, one name- and most people won’t need to know any more details, you already know because it’s ingrained in your mind, you already know because it happened, and whether you want to know it or not- it’s a small part of your life. Do you think about it at all? probably not. Does it trigger a memory, an emotion or recall of what happened? probability increases. What do you think that name means to the City of Chicago, baseball & American history and the Cubs? one of the oldest franchises in Major League Baseball? Most have moved on, some haven’t… but few have forgotten. How do sports affect your life? how do you deal with the results? do they affect you at all? Sometimes it would be easier for me to stop the emotional investment all-together. If we lose it can feel terrible, if we win… people will forget, down-grade the meaning and the cycle will repeat again next year. What is the point anyway? Why do we care? Does it really “mean anything?” How do we benefit at all from a team that doesn’t know or care about us individually anyway? One of my all-time favorite movies is Fever Pitch, the 2005 story of The Boston Red Sox starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore. The original plot had assumed they would lose in the playoffs, however they won 8 straight games. No team in the history of baseball had come back to win from a 3–0 series deficit in the playoffs, but the Red Sox finally did to win the 2004 American League Championship and subsequent World Series, their first since 1918. The ending of the movie had to be rewritten and additional scenes were shot in St. Louis, Missouri to rewrite the original script. The lines from the film below summarize a great explanation and outlook of what being a fan is like:Troy: You love the Red Sox, but have they ever loved you back? Ben: Who do you think you are, Dr. Phil? Go on, get outta here! Troy: Why do we inflict this on ourselves? Ben: Why? I’ll tell you why, ’cause the Red Sox never let you down. Troy: Huh? Ben: That’s right. I mean – why? Because they haven’t won a World Series in a century or so? So what? They’re here. Every April, they’re here. At 1:05 or at 7:05, there is a game. And if it gets rained out, guess what? They make it up to you. Does anyone else in your life do that? The Red Sox don’t get divorced. This is a real family. This is the family that’s here for you. I like being part of something that’s bigger than me, than I. It’s good for your soul to invest in something you can’t control. Lindsey: You’re a romantic. You have a lyrical soul. You can love under the best and worst conditions.  Alcoholics deny reality or wish they could stop drinking; drug addicts often times will be the first ones to tell you “don’t ever do drugs.” How do you explain it? What has your team really ever done for you? Either way, one thing is for sure- Another Saturday will come, and whether I want to or not…I’ll keep watching.