Georgia Tech Football: Time for a New Option?

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Enough is enough. I have turned the corner today as a Georgia Tech fan, and like many other fellow Tech fans, I am now ready to move on from the Paul Johnson era. This is not an condemnation of the option offense, it is an indictment of Johnson. Johnson won early and often in his Tech career with Chan Gailey’s recruits. In recent years Johnson has not recruited particularly well, does not appear able to inspire players, has had a number of inexplicable losses, is 0-4 in bowl games. Johnson’s personality often comes off as too proud or stubborn, he often fails to make necessary adjustments (such as throwing the ball on occasion) and his teams are too prone to flatness and emotional mood swingsnot
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Now that I’ve gotten all of that off my chest, lets take a look at some hypothetical replacements for Johnson. Of course this list is pure speculation on my part, but here it is.

Ken Whisenhunt, Head Coach of the Arizona Cardinals: Whisenhunt is a Georgia Tech Alumni and a recognizable name. If the Cardinals struggle and Whisenhunt begins to worry about his job security, then perhaps Tech can capitalize on the opportunity.

George Godsey, Tight Ends Coach New England Patriots: Godsey is also a Georgia Tech Almuni and former QB. He had great success at Tech, and is still beloved by fans for beating archrival Georgia 3 times. He also coached under former head coach George O’Leary at UCF. Godsey is not well known and lacks experience, but might be worth a look.

James Franklin, Head Coach Vanderbilt Commodores: Franklin has had some success in his brief tenure at Vandy. Vanderbilt, like Georgia Tech, is a strong academic school, so it would be nice to have a head coach who can recruit on a high level for a school with strong academics.

Charlie Strong, Head Coach Louisville Cardinals: Strong will be a popular candidate for many schools. He is a young coach with head coaching experience who knows the game and how to recruit. If he can be lured away from Louisville, then Tech should look at him.

Butch Davis, Former Head Coach: It may be too soon for a school to take a chance on Davis who recently lost his job at UNV due to violations. Davis has a questionable track record on violations. However, he knows how to be a good college coach. Davis can win, so Tech should keep an open mind.

Tommy Bowden, Former Head Coach: Tommy had a long head coaching career at Clemson, but has been out of the game for a few years now. However, he knows the ACC, knows how to recruit, and has the last name Bowden. Georgia Tech should try to lure him out of retirement.

Jeff Monken, Head Coach Georgia Southern: There’s nothing wrong with the option offense, there is just something wrong with Paul Johnson. So why not consider Monken? Monken worked with Johnson at Georgia Southern, Navy, and Tech. He has had success as a head coach (21-8 in two years), knows the recruiting area, and could offer some stability at Tech by keeping the option offense in place.

Major Applewhite, Co-Offensive Coordinator Texas: Applewhite has been on the head coach fast track since graduating from Texas in 2001. He has coached at several schools and is now back at his alma mater. He is young (34 years old), is well known in the college football world, and would be a bold and exciting hire.

Bryan Harsin, Co-Offensive coordinator Texas: Tech may also want to consider Applewhite’s Co-coordinator at Texas, Bryan Harsin. Harsin is regarded as one of the more gifted young offensive minds in the game.

John Gruden: Ok this may not be realistic, but it would be awesome. Maybe Gruden wants to give college coaching a try. If so, then he would be a welcome and entertaining hire on the Flats at Georgia Tech.

8 thoughts on “Georgia Tech Football: Time for a New Option?

  1. If you don’t like flatness or emotional mood swings, keep away from Tommy Bowden. The other candidates are intriguing, though. I would keep Willie Taggart from WKU on speed dial if I were an AD looking for a new coach.

    • Also, I completely understand your frustration with Johnson, and it’s probably justified. But as a Clemson fan, I’m salivating at the thought of not facing the triple option every year.

        • Todd Berry, but he has a very lackluster four years at Army against him. I’m interested to see if the Warhawks maintain their high level through conference play–if ULM wins the Sun Belt, I’d be very interested in Berry too.

        • Another good one. The coach at ULM is Todd Berry, 50yrs old, 10-17 record in his third year.

  2. I really like Ken Whisenhunt – he is the anti-PJ. Having said that, it would be a very difficult transition. Also, with any NFL coach you have to wonder how well he’ll be able to recruit.

    From a pure college football point of view I love James Franklin, and I suspect he could turn GT around in just a couple of years.

    The problem GT will run into is can they afford to buy out PJ’s contract? I’m told the school is still paying for Chan Gailey’s buy-out!

  3. Sonny Dykes of Louisiana Tech? They did well against Virginia today (not that that’s saying much). His team is looking good so far.

    As far as Monken (who I really don’t know anything about other than what you’ve mentioned), I don’t really see “sticking with a system the players are used to” as a good reason to get a particular coach. In the long-term, you want a coach that implements a system that works, regardless of what it is or what the previous system was. Being familiar with the area (and having relationships with local/regional high school coaches) is a big plus though.

    I think in theory there’s nothing wrong with the option, and that it should be able to work anywhere if it’s done right. That said, I would think that Georgia Tech *should* be able to recruit well enough to run almost any system of offense or defense.

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