I've heard a lot of excuses after last night's disaster; some valid and some not so much. My favorite was Tate isn't use to playing in cold weather. As all of you know, Michigan is the only northern team that recruits southern players. But I digress.
Last season was Paul Johnson's first year as head coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. I guess I really never payed attention but I assumed Johnson had a lot of talent to work with. Afterall, he did go 9-4 his first year while RR went 3-9. So Johnson had to have tons of talent ready to go when he took over, right?
Not so fast my friend. Here's a little information from Johnson's bio:
"On December 2, 2008, Paul was tabbed ACC Coach of the Year by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA). Georgia Tech, ranked 14th in the BCS standings and 15th in the Associated Press poll, finished the regular season with a 9-3 record, remarkably better than every preseason projection. Sports Illustrated predicted Johnson's first Yellow Jacket team would win just three games, and Tech was picked to finish fourth in the ACC's Coastal Division. With a 5-3 record in ACC play, the Jackets tied Virginia Tech for the Coastal Division title."
"Johnson, who came to Georgia Tech in December after a highly-successful, six-year tenure at Navy, inherited a roster low in scholarship numbers and overloaded with youth. Only 76 players are on scholarship, including three senior walk-ons who were awarded scholarships prior to the start of the season, below the maximum of 85 scholarships. The roster includes 75 freshmen and sophomores, and 16 of 22 starters are either freshmen or sophomores."
So, Johnson had 76 players on scholarship and 75 were Freshman and Sophomores. Any coach who goes 9-3 with mostly Freshman&Sophmores would do so ONLY if the young players were made up of 4 & 5 star recruits. Right? Here is GT's recruiting rankings over the last few years.
2005 - 48th (two 4* & six 3*)
2006 - 49th (one 4* & six 3*)
2007 - 15th (nine 4* & nine 3*)
2008 - 37th (one 4* & sixteen 3*)
2009 - 32nd (four 4* & twelve 3*)
I think it's obvious that GT's recruiting classes over the past 5 years don't compare to UM's. Even with all of the departures, UM still has more talent on both sides of the ball. So why has Paul Johnson's transition been so smooth and successful while the Rich Rodriguez takeover has been nothing short of a disaster?
RR brought the spread to Michigan & PJ the triple wishbone to GT. Both are new and unique to UM & GT. So we can't really use the "not the right type of fit" excuse. So what is it? Maybe GT plays in a weaker conference. Maybe GT caught some lucky breaks. I don't know, but I do know GT is playing some damn good football right now while UM is struggling to not look like the football version of the Bad News Bears.
I'm not jumping off of the RR bandwagon and will give him my full support, but I can take my maize and blue goggles off long enough to see that there a quite a few new coaches who have won more with less. Paul Johnson, Brian Kelly & Jim Harbaugh all come to mind.
Thank you for your support,