Johnson is renowned for his ability to adjust to the opposition on the fly, a byproduct of the experience gained from coaching the same offense since 1985.
“You give ’em this, they’ve got an answer,” Boston College coach Steve Addazio said. “They’re going to this.”
Handing coaches a tablet to review plays in the coaching box or at halftime would likely aid their ability to recognize Johnson’s tweaks and answer back.
“Now, people are going to look, they’re going to figure out a lot quicker how you’re blocking them and how you’re doing things,” Johnson said.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher was one of the few coaches in favor.
With video, “you know exactly what’s wrong with the play,” Fisher said. “Which kid made a mistake, how to correct him, how to show him. He’s over there saying, ‘No, no, no.’ You say, ‘No, look here.’ Just like you do in a film session.”
Johnson’s concerns didn’t pertain only to in-game advantages. There could be costs in setting up coaching boxes and locker rooms to handle extra monitors or tablets and connecting them with a video system. There would also need to be uniformity in how the technology is used — the number of monitors and tablets available for use, for instance.
“Georgia State and Alabama won’t have the same budget for it,” Johnson said. “Or Georgia Tech and Alabama won’t have the same budget for it.”
Interestingly, high-school football has gone further with use of video technology than the NCAA or the NFL, as high-school teams can review video on the sidelines and in the coaching box. NFL teams can only use still photos, although video review is under consideration. NCAA rules prohibit any replay equipment or photos of any kind.
Despite ACC coaches’ opposition to the rule Tuesday, it has the air of inevitability as technology seeps into every corner of life. Johnson didn’t see the debate being framed by money, as NCAA rules matters often are.
Said Johnson, “More old-school guys (are opposed) and younger guys are, yippee.”