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McWilliams: Tech needs offensive change
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Forsyth County News

Excuse me for changing the channel when Georgia Tech football comes on TV this fall, but I can’t help it. At least not as long as Paul Johnson runs that mundane triple-option flexbone offense that’s more boring than an Amish peep show.

Sure, at one time the triple-option was new and flashy, but that was when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Seriously.

Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech teams perform horribly in bowl games when opponents have a month to prepare for his gimmick offense. His bowl record includes a 38-3 loss to LSU in the 2008 Chick-fil-a Bowl, a 24-14 loss to Iowa in the 2009 Orange Bowl, a 14-7 loss to Air Force in the Independence Bowl in 2010 and a 30-27 overtime loss to Utah in the Sun Bowl last year, making it the seventh straight bowl game the Yellow Jackets have lost.

That’s 0-4 under Johnson and being outscored 106-51. And here’s the kicker, Georgia Tech was favored in three of the losses.

“But his regular season records are great,” you might say. “He can beat any ACC team any week.” While this is true, you play for a championship, something Paul Johnson’s triple-option flexbone, wishbone, funnybone or whatever you want to call it can’t do.

Once a team gets ahead of the Yellow Jackets late in the fourth quarter, Paul Johnson has to dial up passing plays from an offense built on running. For an offense that threw the ball only 18.2 percent of the time last season, it becomes difficult for a comeback. Georgia Tech hasn’t had a quarterback with a completion percentage higher than 50 percent with a minimum of 50 passing attempts since Johnson joined the program in 2008.

I know the Yellow Jackets beat the then-undefeated Clemson Tigers on national television last season, but come on, it’s Clemson.

The triple-option can be effective when opposing teams have just one week to prepare, but it doesn’t work when the other team has a month to get ready for the offense. The numbers don’t lie, which is why Georgia Tech should abandon the triple-option if the Yellow Jackets would like to taste postseason success.

The defense isn’t any better. The Georgia Tech defense ranked 60th last season, allowing opponents to score 26.1 points per game. “People can say whatever they want,” Johnson told the AJC before the Sun Bowl. “You can find stats to back up anything. I think my bowl record at Navy was 2-2.”

But this isn’t Navy. This is Georgia Tech. A proud fan base that needs something to cheer about. A fan base that longs for a bowl victory and a coach that can win them.

I understand that Paul Johnson led Georgia Tech to an 11-2 record and a trip to the Orange Bowl in 2009 (which was later vacated due to infractions). But getting to a bowl game isn’t enough. You have to win a bowl game, something Johnson hasn’t done at Georgia Tech with his offense and lackluster defense.

There’s no other option.