Johnson has always come across as the smartest guy in the room, and through the 2008 season and most of 2009 he seemed the sharpest coach in this state.
Mark Bradley’s latest fellatio-fest of Paul Johnson may be his magnum opus. And given the author and the subject, that is not meant as faint praise.
Even so, this is a pretty fun read:
On the morning of Nov. 28, 2009, Paul Johnson was poised to become the unchallenged king of football in a state that takes the sport seriously. He was 19-5 in two seasons as Georgia Tech’s coach. That night his Jackets would play Georgia, whom they’d famously beaten 45-42 in Athens the year before.
Tech was 10-1, ranked No. 7 nationally and champion of the ACC Coastal Division. Georgia was 6-5, having just lost at home to Kentucky. Not since George O’Leary was working against Jim Donnan had Tech beaten the Bulldogs twice in a row – Chan Gailey, O’Leary’s successor, hadn’t done it even once – and now Johnson was roundly favored to make it 2-for-2 against the hated Mutts.
But Georgia won. The Bulldogs pounded the Jackets on the ground, and Tech’s final chance was wasted when Demaryius Thomas dropped a fourth-down pass. For Tech and for Johnson, nothing since has been nearly as good.
From Johnson’s 19-5 start, Tech has gone 15-14. (The sweetest of those 15 on-the-field victories – the 2009 ACC championship game over Clemson – was vacated by NCAA sanctions involving Thomas’ eligibility.) Tech went 6-7 in 2010, 8-5 last season after starting 6-0. Tech hasn’t beaten Georgia since 2008 and hasn’t won a bowl game under Johnson.
If Tech has another same ol’ year, the good news for Bradley is that he can recycle this piece pretty easily.