Georgia Tech isn't sitting where Paul Johnson and his staff had hoped to be at this point in the season. Instead of being in the drivers seat for the ACC title, they're battling their way back to .500 and are currently sitting at 3-5 (2-3 in ACC play) heading into this weekends match up with Maryland (4-4, 2-2).
Earlier this week, Johnson got on 790 The Zone and took calls from listeners who didn't dice their words when it came to the program's recent struggles.
Johnson reminded callers and listeners of how close they are to having a record that looks much different.
"We’ve lost two games in overtime. It isn’t making excuses, it’s just facts. We’ve lost two games in overtime. We lost the one at Clemson after being ahead in the fourth quarter. But all in all we played with them to toe to toe until we fumbled the snap on 4th and 1 from the 7 yard line. If we don’t fumble the snap, maybe we go up two scores in the fourth quarter and it’s different."
Johnson was also asked about recruiting and if they're bringing in the caliber of players that can compete in the ACC, and responded by noting that they've entered the fourth quarter five different times with a lead.
"If the talent level is that bad, then we must be doing a hell of a job coaching to stay in there and I don’t think that’s the case. We’ve got to finish the games. Now, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. We need to win games"
Two areas that casual fans always seem to critique the most when a team is struggling is the play of the quarterback, and the playcalling. Georgia Tech is no different. Johnson responded to one caller on the radio show Wednesday by saying that he's not ready to throw the season away and start over with a back up quarterback, and added that calling plays on Saturdays is much different than calling one with a controller in your hand in the living room.
"You try to call the plays that people can run," Johnson explained. "I don’t mean this in a bad way or whatever, but it’s not like PlayStation, where you just pick a play. You have guys out there who can do certain things. And if guys struggle pulling, you don’t run the pulling plays. If guys aren’t as good at throwing one way, you try to throw the other way. That’s all the things that you know from being with those guys every day in practice and going into the game plan.”
He explained that if he does decide to get the backup quarterback some snaps, it won't be because someone told him to do it.
"It’s going to be because I think he gives our football team the best chance. Because my job is to try to give us the best chance to win the game. I see those guys every day we practice. I know there’s a lot of people out there that can do my job better than I can. I gotcha. I understand that. But pardon me if I’m not going to listen to everybody who tells me who I should be playing, what I should be doing."
"I’ve managed to survive for 34 years doing what I’m doing without getting fired and we’ve won a lot of games. If I’m going to go down, I’m going to go down doing what I do and knowing what I know."
The last four games on their schedule will test the Yellow Jackets. After traveling to Maryland this weekend, they'll wrap things up at North Carolina (6-3, 3-2), before taking on Duke (6-3, 3-2) at home, and ending the regular season against rival Georgia (7-1, 5-1). We'll see how things shake out, but that's a heck of a stretch when your looking to get things back on track.