One line BYU wrapup, ready? Here it is: nothing went well.
Good, now that we have that out of the way, I think it's best we start talking about the future of the program, both near and far. We'll start with near.
We have four games remaining at Maryland, at UNC, at home against Duke, and in Athens. Of those, only the first 3 are winnable within any stretch of the imagination. Of those, we probably beat Maryland, and the other two depend entirely on what team shows up to play. The worst part of it is probably that we need 3 wins across those 4 games to be bowl eligible, and folks, it's probably best to open up your Christmastime schedules now -- we're not going anywhere this winter. A win against UNC is a reach at this point, and while losing to Duke is an unthinkable occurrence to have happen, is looking more and more likely all the time. Make no mistake, a loss to BYU doesn't make us chopped liver -- BYU is a good team, especially on defense. But you know as well as I do that we don't have much reason to be confident in our team at this point. To go about winning those games, we're probably best playing Tevin Washington (one terrible performance shouldn't determine that he's awful), but to keep an eye on next year and give our seemingly flatlined offense a spark, it's better to play Vad Lee. I'd suggest we play Lee for the rest of the year beginning with the Maryland game -- give him some significant experience this year, and maybe eek out a win. The long and short of it here is that, in my mind, I'm ready to admit that all might as well be lost for this year. A team that needed a win in the worst way on Saturday laid an enormous egg in its Homecoming game -- why would I have faith in it going forward with 3 decent-to-good teams left to play?
A rough season will soon come to an end (soon here could mean within one month or two). What then?
FIRE CPJ? SHOULD WE DO IT GUISE?
No. We shouldn't. This team is still young, and has better athletes on it than it did the past two years. Johnson's offense has been quite effective this year, up until this weekend, and he's shown twice already that he's not afraid to make coaching changes at tough times (after a conference championship, middle of the season) if that's what it takes to win. I agree with that guy who just left for Clemson -- he's the right guy for the job.
Now, who else on the staff is the right guy for the job? I can't comment with good backing on that, but I have a feeling that the list wouldn't really qualify as a laundry list. Whether or not Charles Kelly is right for the job is yet to be seen (he's had one successful game and one less than successful game...he deserves a bit more time, in my book), but if it turns out we'll need a new DC, here's to hoping that CPJ can find the right man for the job.
Vad Lee and Justin Thomas are the guys that Johnson needs as his signal callers if we're going to go somewhere in the next couple of years, and props to his coaching staff for going out and finding them. I look forward to seeing what they can do, and expect big things from our team as these guys continue to develop. But it comes with a bit of an ultimatum. If I'm the new AD, in January, I'm going to sit down with Paul Johnson and tell him, "Your job is safe for two years. You've got the talent and a little more time to develop it. We need some solid success, or at minimum signs of progress and improvement. If we sit down two years from today and haven't seen that progress and improvement, we'll probably part ways." Again, young team, plenty of potential, and Johnson has done a pretty good job as an individual in my book, but it's time we started unlocking that potential and reaping benefits.
It's been a tough season, Tech fans. We've experienced a lot of heartbreaking moments. It's understandable that you have questions and frustrations. But don't lose faith in the man that's brought us a lot of success thus far. Coach Johnson is a good coach, and this young team has a lot of talent and fight in it (not to mention we're suffering from injuries to guys like Fred Holton, Louis Young, and Anthony Autry). Times like these require fans to be as patient as a team ever deserves them to be. Be good fans and stick by this team and its players -- better times are coming.
You tell me, does this team deserve patience and faith?