The seventh month of Georgia Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski’s leadership of the athletic department has brought an inevitable challenge of the job – fans and alumni unhappy with the football team.
In an interview Monday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bobinski addressed how he is handling the team’s three-game losing streak and shared his assessment of coach Paul Johnson. Questions and answers were edited for brevity and clarity.
Q: I imagine you’ve heard from plenty of (displeased) alumni and fans who want to tear down everything and start over.
A: I’ve heard from a fair number. But on the other hand, I’ve also heard so many people believe in Georgia Tech and what we do and how we do it, that they’re with us. I think they trust that we’re as eager and focused on being as successful as they would like us to be. It’s certainly not by design or anything that we haven’t had success these last few weeks. We’re frustrated. Do we believe we can play better and should play better? Absolutely. I know that’s the sole focus of the coaching staff and the players this week is getting us moving in that direction.
Q: It’s a hard thing to tease out, but do you think the team being coached well?
A: Do I think we’re not coaching well? No, I don’t think that at all. I think we’re coaching perfectly well. It’s a matter of it all coming together. And at some point, it also is a matter of a team and a collective mindset where players just resolve, You know what? It’s not going to be this way anymore.
In that locker room, someone, somebodies, some number of folks, there’s got to be a critical mass to say it’s not going to be that way. We’re going to go out and play our game, we’re going to do the things that we’re coached to do, we’re going to execute this plan and our strategy the way we’re capable of and then the results, to me, I think will take care of themselves. They really will. That moment hasn’t happened yet.
Q: Looking at the program from 30,000 feet, do you feel like things are going forward and in a good direction?
A: As I look ahead, yes, I do. I think we have a good sense and focus of where we want to go as we move this thing forward. You’d like to be doing that from a position of feeling better about these last three weeks but from as you said, a larger-scale big picture perspective, do I think we have the right plan, the right strategy to move the program forward over these next several years? I do, I absolutely do.
I think we’re doing things the right way. We’ve got the right thoughts about what we need from a recruiting perspective, what we need to kind of shore up some areas where we need some help roster-wise. Everybody’s got those wish lists. We have them like everybody else does and I think we’ve set about making progress towards that and I think we will as we move forward.
Q: And the right strategy includes Paul Johnson going forward?
A: Sure. That’s absolutely the way I feel. Paul is a very successful, knowledgeable and experienced head football coach. I think as with all folks, the key is what are we all doing to get better on a day-by-day basis. I clearly think he’s got the desire to find ways to improve who we are and how we do things and I look forward to working with him to that end. That, to me, is the bottom line.
Do I feel like we have settled into a place that’s where we’re destined to be? The answer is unequivocally no, I don’t. I came to Georgia Tech because I believe that greater success is possible. We clearly have upside and I’m anxious to work with Paul and our staff together to capture that upside and make sure that we have the program that we all desire to have as part of Georgia Tech. That’s clearly an objective and I feel comfortable and confident that Paul is the guy to help make that happen.
Q: What would you tell someone who doesn’t want to go to Saturday’s game?
A: Here’s what I would say. I would encourage folks to stay with us. There’s likely a good reason that you’ve supported Georgia Tech for a long number of years. We’re the same place. Our team is working extremely hard. They are not intentionally going out there and not executing or not doing things to the level of their capability.
And this may be and hopefully this will be the week where we have that moment, where all of the sudden that resolve shows itself that we become the team that we’re capable of being this year, because there’s more in there than we’ve demonstrated over these last three weeks. I don’t think anybody would deny that, first and foremost our own players and coaches. They all feel like we clearly are capable of playing at a higher level and we’re hopeful that this week of practice will help show that and then we’ll bring it out there Saturday.