But Johnson’s decision to fire his defensive coordinator should make most Tech fans smile because it reaffirms what we already knew about the man: He’s not the settling type.
Johnson acknowledged he had made this decision a while ago — sometime during an 11-win season. Contrast that with Georgia’s Mark Richt, who seemed to be the last person in Athens to acknowledge that defensive coordinator Willie Martinez needed to go. Richt made that decision over five weeks ago. At least two of his top candidates have turned him down (Virginia Tech’s Bud Foster and LSU’s John Chavis). How will it go over if Johnson fills his staff opening before Richt does his — and does it with a long-time impressive defensive coach like Al Groh, a rumored candidate?
To answer Schultz’ question first, why should we care? It’s not like these coaches are trying to be the first person responding to a new blog post at the AJ-C; they’re guys making critical hires for their programs. I want Mark Richt to get the right guy far more than I want him to get the first story and I strongly suspect that any sane supporter of the Tech program feels the same way about Wommack’s replacement.
And as for all these names Schultz mentions in the space of one paragraph, let me point out some of the most recent items on their resumes, via cfbstats.com:
- Georgia: 339.4 ypg in total defense; ranked 38th nationally
- Virginia: 358.4 ypg in total defense; ranked 52nd nationally
- Georgia Tech: 360.3 ypg in total defense; ranked 53rd nationally
- Georgia Tech: 24.8 ppg in scoring defense; ranked 56th nationally
- Georgia: 25.9 ppg in scoring defense; ranked 63rd nationally
- Virginia: 26.3 ppg in scoring defense; ranked 65th nationally
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not seeing a whole lot of compelling differences in those results. That’s not to say that Martinez and Wommack deserved to keep their jobs; Martinez in particular oversaw a defense that underachieved based on the level of talent that had been recruited to Athens.
But that’s just it. Who’s to say that bringing Al Groh to the Flats is a home run move, whether it’s made before or after Mark Richt gets his man? Tech’s next defensive coordinator looks to have less Jimmies and Joes to work with than his counterpart in Athens and scheme only takes you so far. (With one exception, that being if Johnson wants to junk the 4-3 and commit to a 3-4 and bring in somebody who knows how to run that. Which may very well be what’s going on with the Tech program.)
So, bully for Johnson being decisive. Personally, I’ll take getting it right over being decisive every day – even at the expense of some short-term impatience. Then again, I’m not somebody who races to be the first one to respond to a blog post.