It is sort of strange to be asking this question when it is pertaining to a coach that has made it to a bowl game every year that he has been associated with the Georgia Tech program, but is 2014 a make or break season for Paul Johnson?
A lot of publications and pundits are coming out and saying “yes”. However, the answer probably depends on the perspective in which an individual is looking at the Yellow Jackets’ football program.
On the one hand, you have a coach in Paul Johnson who has guided the Yellow Jackets to the last six of the 18 consecutive bowl appearances Tech has made. On the other hand, Johnson is 1-5 in those bowl games.
That 1-5 record is good news and bad news all in one. This means that Johnson is getting the Jackets’ to bowl games which, in the end, is one of the ultimate goals of a football program. The problem is that he is not winning in these bowl games. That is not a good look.
What you can say about Johnson is that he is running a clean program.
His disciplinary actions have been just, and have not seemed to be too strict or overboard, in comparison to the complaints about a certain coach in Athens. (That last line was not to slight Mark Richt. He knows his players and how to run his program. However, the complaints are out there and realistic).
In the end, isn’t that all that the administration could ask for? “Run a clean program, get us to bowl games, and turn these young boys into men”. That should be enough you would think. However, it truly does depend on your perspective.
The Jackets’ have not had a Top 25 finish since 2009. Georgia Tech’s record has slowly declined since Johnson’s first two years at the helm. Since his 11 win season in 2009, he has not won more than eight games in a year. However, at least he is running a clean program.
Georgia is one of the best states in America for football recruiting. One of the biggest complaints from fans when it comes to Division I athletics as it pertains to the State of Georgia is that the top notch, home grown talent does not stay in state.
If you ask Tech fans, they feel that Johnson’s “flexbone offense” is more of a deterrence when it comes to big name recruits coming to The Flats than an attraction. Those fans also feel that there is a domino effect when it comes to the win/loss column.
Fans want National Championships, bottom line. Tech fans feel that his system, though it works, is a hindrance to getting Georgia Tech’s football program to the top of the mountain.
When you look at the situation as it pertains to Paul Johnson, it truly is a matter of perspective.
If you are of the mindset that running a clean program and playing in the postseason is enough, though Tech is not winning in the postseason, then Johnson is doing just fine and his hot seat is unwarranted.
However, if you are of the mindset that National Championship contention has to be achieved at some point and Johnson’s way of doing things is not conducive to meeting that goal, his hot seat is warranted.
Whichever mindset you have answers the ultimate question,”Is 2014 a make or break year for Paul Johnson?”.
The answer lies in what your expectation is for the Georgia Tech football program.