Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Paul Johnson - Sassy with the Media

So it turns out that Paul Johnson has been criticized for how he deals with the media. However, it's the exact opposite of Chan Gailey. Gailey, who frustrated media people with coach-speak and nothing really quotable, left writers to their own devices. However, turns out Paul Johnson can be downright sassy. Check out this exchange between an Annapolis writer and PJ:

Wagner: Can I ask you something without making you mad?

Johnson: Maybe. I don't know.

Wagner: I was talking to a Navy fan and he said he follows the coverage and that he noticed something and I'm just going to put it to you. He says that it seems like when Navy loses you blame the players, ie we can't execute fundamental plays, but that the success of the team the last four years has been attributed to brilliant coaching. How do you respond to that?

Johnson: Whatever he thinks. I don't go down to McDonald's and start second-guessing his job so he ought to leave me alone.

Wagner: But do you feel like it can't be both ways?

Johnson: You know what? I could care less. I'm old enough where I could give a crap what the fans think or what you think to put it in a nutshell.

Wagner: Wins and losses are evenly distributed as far as credit and blame, right?

Johnson: If you could ever find one time that I said we won the game because of brilliant strategy I will kiss your butt at city dock and give you two days to draw a crowd. Find it and bring it to me. Tell that guy that if he wants to talk to me I live at (address given but deleted for the transcript) I will be right there. Come ring my doorbell and I will be glad to talk to him.

Wagner: But the bottom line is the coaches do take as much responsibility as the players when the team loses?

Johnson: We are ultimately responsible. What did I say about eight million times? I did a poor job. We have to get them ready. What else do you want me to say?

Well, alrighty then......... The writer had plenty to say on his blog following that exchange:

Johnson basically said he's too busy trying to help Navy win games to worry about blogs, fan opinions or media criticisms. He doesn't have the time nor the inclination to pay much attention to any of those extraneous issues.

Here's a Navy blogs take on that exchange.

Now, Tech fans are going to have mixed feelings about that exchange. Some are going to be all gung-ho, ra-ra, yeah dude. You know - the Boom MF Muschamp Club. Others are going to be really turned off. Here's my take - the writer baited PJ and I thought it was a pretty honest exchange. A bit harsh from PJ and maybe it bit condescending, but clearly the questions were edgy and begged for conflict.

At the end of the day, I don't want my coach worried about what people write in blogs or papers. I want a leader who takes blame when things go wrong and gives out credit when they go right. Focus on winning games and do your best with the rest in your spare time. It just strengthens my faith in D-Rad in that he didn't go for a guy that was "all sizzle, no steak". PJ's pretty meaty, like a 20oz porterhouse.