How, if nearly every comment a coach makes regarding recruiting is delivered with a sneer, can he be expected to attract even semi-big names? Who wants to play at a school where players don’t seem to matter nearly as much as the coach’s beloved offense? Speaking of which: Why is Tech the only Power Five school that employs this offense? Is it mere coincidence that Bobby Dodd Stadium is full only when Clemson and Georgia come to town? Is Tech football poorly marketed, or is it an old-school product in a 21st century world?
I’d expect Johnson to have answers. (He always does. I know them by heart.) I’d also expect that Stansbury — who played under Curry/Lindsey; who worked with George O’Leary here and in Orlando and with Mike Riley in a previous stint at Oregon State; who works with Gary Andersen now — wouldn’t be cowed by the force of Johnson’s considerable personality. He’d want to know why, even with the 11-3 of 2014 interspersed, Tech football is 42-37 over the past seven seasons.
This isn’t to suggest that Johnson’s time at Tech is, or should be, near its end. But his program just went from 11-3 to 3-9, which shouldn’t happen. After the 2013 season, he was without his sponsor — Dan Radakovich, who’d hired him, had left for Clemson — and a few big-money alums had begun to weary of his, er, answers. Then the Jackets won the Orange Bowl, which prompted Bobinski to extend the coach’s contract through 2020. For the new AD, that extension surely won’t be seen as the gift that keeps on giving.
Over eight seasons at Tech, Johnson hasn’t really had an AD to challenge him. Radakovich was responsible for him being here; Bobinski didn’t have the gravitas. As odd as it sounds, having a Football Man as his boss might be the worst thing for this idiosyncratic football coach.
Let’s say the new AD isn’t Stansbury but Chris Massaro of Middle Tennessee State. He’s highly regarded in the industry. He has overseen the Blue Raiders’ move from the Sun Belt to Conference USA. His basketball team just upset Michigan State in the NCAA tournament. Having played football at Northern Colorado, Massaro would have an even more pointed question for Johnson: “How’d we come down there in 2012 and beat you guys by three touchdowns?”