Paul Johnson dialed up 50-yard play based on Duke warmups

For Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, the game planning goes on right up until kickoff.

In his Tuesday news conference, Johnson said he decided to try a particular pass play in last Saturday’s win over Duke based on how Blue Devils defensive backs were warming up prior to the game. He saw them breaking on a three-step route, coming out of their backpedal to aggressively challenge a short route.

“So I thought to myself, Well, the first chance I get, I’m going to give you a three-step and go,” Johnson said. “And the guy broke on it.”

On the third play of the game, a 3rd-and-5, Johnson called a play for wide receiver Brad Stewart to run a stop-and-go route. When Stewart hesitated in his route, the cornerback bit and broke out of his backpedal, at which Stewart ran past him. He was wide open for quarterback Justin Thomas to hit him for a 50-yard gain. It was the big gainer in the opening drive, which resulted in a Yellow Jackets touchdown.

Johnson sometimes watches the other team warm up to try to pick up ideas, particularly he said, “if they do it right in front of me.”