ATLANTA -- Paul Johnson has a simple answer for why the triple-option offense can work at Georgia Tech.
Actually, it's a question first that gets us to his answer: What has Oklahoma done lately?
|Paul Johnson's triple option helped Navy beat Notre Dame and Pitt last year. (Getty Images)|
Well, yes, but Stoops does have that national championship and five Big 12 titles to go along with six BCS bowls. That's not exactly slacking.
A point is a point, and Johnson isn't about to slow down.
"Alabama hasn't been near as successful (since it ran the option)," he said. "Auburn hasn't been near as successful. It took Texas forever."
It's only a week into his first spring practice at Georgia Tech, but Johnson already has tired of the questions about whether his offense can work at a major program in a major conference. His offense is why Georgia Tech hired him away from Navy and it's why Johnson isn't going to change. He is going to adjust, though.
Ask Garrett Gabriel, the No. 4 passer in Hawaii history. Johnson was his offensive coordinator from 1987-90. Ask college Hall of Famer Tracy Ham, who is the only player in history to throw for 5,000 yards and run for 3,000 yards in a career. Johnson was his coach at Georgia Southern.
"There's a misnomer that it's 3 yards and a cloud of dust," Johnson said of his unique offense. "Nothing could be further from the truth. That's why I wonder about these schools that jump from one offense to the next. My thing is you try to do something that you know."
Johnson has done it for a quarter century producing wins (72 percent as a head coach), NFL talent and team rushing titles (four since 2003). So who cares how you get it done? It's interesting that when SMU couldn't get the coach of the nation's No. 1 rushing offense (Johnson), it went for the coach of the No. 1 passing offense (Hawaii's June Jones).
It's about production. Georgia Tech's offense was largely boring and predictable under Chan Gailey. It had the best receiver in the country in 2006 (Calvin Johnson) and lost five games. That was the high point of the Gailey era.
Despite running 86 percent of the time last season, Navy had 13 scoring drives that lasted a minute or less. That is total for the third most in the country. It had 16 scoring plays that went at least 25 yards. Only Florida has a longer current scoring streak of at least 30 points (seven games) than Navy (six).
Johnson, 50, doesn't much hold his tongue. In fact, the new coach is going lengths to defend his offense. When Georgia Tech's leading returning receiver James Johnson said "... we're going to hope that Coach does not do all that much running. We just hope he's saying all that to trick people," Johnson came out firing.