Why Georgia fans should and shouldn’t worry about who Georgia Tech hires
On Wednesday, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson announced his retirement from the school. Georgia’s in-state rival will now be looking for a new coach, which could present new challenges for Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs.
Smart has spoken at length about the difficulties of playing against the triple option every year. In fact, he proved to be quite prophetic when speaking about going against the triple option as Georgia was preparing for Georgia Tech.
“I don’t love it, but it is what it is,” Smart said on Saturday. “If you don’t want to play against it, then beat them every year and eventually you won’t have to.”
While many fans would love to no longer see Georgia Tech’s triple option offense, it’s worth mentioning that Georgia only lost to Johnson three times in his 11 seasons at the school. While the triple option might be annoying, Smart and Georgia have had the upper hand in this rivalry.
Now with Johnson gone, Georgia Tech will have the opportunity to move away from the triple option offense to something that might be more appealing to recruits in the state of Georgia and the surrounding area. While the Yellow Jackets won’t compete for all of the same recruits as Georgia, it will compete for and win some of them. Think of Georgia Tech like an Auburn or a South Carolina when it comes to recruiting. They won’t beat out Georgia for a majority of recruits, but the Yellow Jackets could start landing two or three guys in every class that Georgia wants, which hurts them when it comes time to play the Alabama and Clemson’s of college football.
There is also the possibility of Georgia Tech poaching away one of Georgia’s top assistants, as The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman has reported that Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is a candidate for the job, and that Tucker is expected to land an “FBS head coaching job in the near future.” Other candidates that have been linked to the job include Temple coach Geoff Collins and Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliot. ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg also reported that Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt is a “top candidate,” for the job.
Even if Georgia doesn’t lose Tucker to Georgia Tech, there’s a chance Georgia could lose an assistant to either Georgia Tech or another power 5 program. Georgia lost Kevin Sherrer to Tennessee last season, and also nearly lost quarterbacks coach James Coley to Texas A&M. This is all part of becoming a big-time college football program, as Alabama and Nick Saban have dealt with this repeatedly over the years.
Of course, Georgia Tech could decide to hire a triple option coach again— Army’s Jeff Monken and Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo — and continue to be a nuisance to the Bulldogs but not an actual threat. The Bulldogs have dominated this rivalry since 2001, and seem poised to continue to do so under Smart. But if Georgia Tech does “nail” it’s hire, it could do enough to trip up Georgia’s national championship aspirations.
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