Thursday, January 03, 2008

Paul Johnson Announces Coaching Staff

Paul Johnson made it final by announcing his coaching staff yesterday:

2008 Georgia Tech Coaching Staff
Paul Johnson (Head Coach)

Dave Wommack (Defensive Coordinator)
Giff Smith (Defensive Line Coach/Recruiting Coordinator)
Brian Jean-Mary (Linebackers Coach)
Charles Kelly (Cornerbacks Coach)

Jeff Monken (Slot Backs Coach/Special Teams Coordinator)
Buzz Preston (Wide Receivers Coach)
Mike Sewak (Co-Offensive Line Coach)
Todd Spencer (Co-Offensive Line Coach)
Brian Bohannon (Quarterbacks/B-Backs Coach)

I think it's an interesting mix and it seems to point to the following conclusions:

Most of the new coaches have ties in the south, with a strong emphasis on the state of Georgia. You have two former Georgia Southern head coaches. You have a UGAg grad. You have others with coaching ties in state. That should certainly help keep some continuity in recruiting. Keeping Giff Smith in place as recruiting coordinator was certainly a prudent move and will pay dividends on the recruiting trail as well. Throw in Charles Kelley and Brian Jean-Mary staying for more continuity. Evidently Liam Klein will stay on as Director if Player Personnel also. He was having a similar positive impact on recruiting (like Geoff Collins before he bolted for Bama for double the dough).

Lot of strong recruiters. Lots of ties in state.

The offensive side of the ball has no hold-overs from the Chan Gailey era. Clearly PJ is bringing with him guys who he has worked with and who know his system. He wasn't taking any chances on the offensive side of the ball.

There is no Offensive Coordinator, since PJ will call his own plays.

"It's not fair to give them the title and let everybody yell at them when I'm
doing it," he said.

There are two O-Line coaches (one will coach tackles and one Guards / Center). PJ's philosophy is to try and have an assistant responsible for no more than 3 position players. Also, blocking is EVERYTHING in the triple option. When things aren't working on the field, most of the in-game "adjustments" are going to be blocking adjustments - not play-calling.

Bottom-line is that the GT offense wasn't getting it done with any consistency at all with the Gailey pro-set. The PJ Triple-Option will be implemented in full-effect with guys who know the system and have worked with PJ.

There's no serious rebuilding job to be done on defense. PJ brought in Dave Wommack as DC, who has a bit of a "Jon Tenuta-like" reputation, with a 4-3 blitzing attack. Maybe "Tenuta-lite" is a better term. However, under Wommack are three guys already on the Tech staff. Keeping Smith @ D-Line makes sense and BJM has done a good job over the years with our linebackers (although I was disappointed in their play this season). The move of Charles Kelley to Secondary coach is a great one. It's where he played and it has been our biggest weakness under Tenuta - who was personally responsible for DB's. I think this is a great move.

There are 3 guys that stayed from GT
There are 3 guys that came with PJ from Navy
There are 3 guys that came from the outside

That should certainly provide for a nice mix of experiences. You have people who know the Tech program, what it stands for, how to sell it. You have people who know PJ and his system on offense. You have people who have strong outside experience and good resumes to bring new ideas.

Jeff Monken has been named Special Teams Coordinator along with his role with the Slot Backs. However, it seems that special teams will be a shared responsibility. Charles Kelley will still play a role, as well as other coaches. Remember, you are talking about 6 different units (kick-offs, kick-return, punt, punt return, FG, FG block unit).

I'm not sure how I feel about the shared responsibility. Navy had very good special teams under Monken, so that's a plus. But will Monken be "in charge" of special teams? How will the other coaches fit in? We saw a clear difference in year two with Charles Kelley specifically in charge of special teams. A BIG difference. In my opinion "Special Teams by committee" does not work. I saw it here. I see it EVERY season with Tommy Bowden and Clemson. If everyone is responsible for special teams, then nobody is responsible for special teams. That's my take, but what do I know. Just have to see how it works out.

Lastly, it wouldn't be right to focus on the future without acknowleding the contributions of the outgoing coaches - Joe D’Alessandris, John Bond, Buddy Geis, Jeep Hunter, Curtis Modkins and Jon Tenuta. These guys did a great job for Tech and it was great to have them on staff. I hate that things didn't work out, but I guess that's life in this brutal profession.

You know, they always say the life of a head coach is a brutal one. Personally, I think the life of an assistant coach is even more brutal. They typically make a fraction of the money of the head coach. You can do a great job, but if your head coach gets the axe - you're typically toast too. However, if you head coach stays, that doesn't mean you get protection. Assistant coaches turnover at a much faster rate than head coaches it seems. All the best to these guys. They represented Tech well.