Georgia Tech capped off an awful 3-9 season over the weekend with a discouraging 13-7 loss to Georgia in the 2015 edition of Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. It was a rough game all around for the Jackets, who couldn't capitalize on a decent defensive performance to pull out a second consecutive win in the series. The inept and often enigmatic offense was the story of the game -- Tech managed just one touchdown and had three turnovers while compiling just 274 yards of total offense. It was not the end to the season that any of us were hoping for, but at least the game was competitive. It also marked the end of an era...
...because UGA made the decision to fire head coach Mark Richt over the weekend following two close calls against Georgia Southern and then Georgia Tech. Richt was rumored to have been on the hot seat for a long while, but not many people were expecting for him to be relieved of his duties so soon. The Georgia front office ultimately decided that 15 seasons of excellent play and much-improved discipline were not enough to justify keeping the coach around for another season. Many early reports are indicating that UGA will now look to Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart to lead the team, but those are all just early guesses. It certainly seems to me that anyone who UGA may hire would be a win for Tech fans.
It may have been a rough 2015 season, but head coach Paul Johnson is vowing improvement in time for the 2016 campaign. Though how he plans to improve remains to be seen, early suggestions are that new coaches will be brought in to surround him. I hate seeing good coaches like Mike Sewak and Joe Speed become complete scapegoats after a single bad season, but they seem like two of the top candidates for replacement this offseason. I personally expect such decisions to be made sooner rather than later, but I have no real evidence to back that up. We'll just have to wait and see.
UGA was not the only bitter Georgia Tech rival making a coaching change over the weekend -- Virginia Tech announced the hiring of Memphis head coach Justin Fuente in the wake of Frank Beamer's retirement. I love this hire for Virginia Tech but absolutely hate it for Georgia Tech simply because Fuente is an excellent all-around coach who is much more proven than a Kirby Smart. Perhaps the most awkward part of this hire is that defensive coordinator Bud Foster, who many thought was being groomed to replace Beamer prior to this season, will be staying on the staff. He has had as much success stopping the option as anyone and his timely departure would be greatly appreciated by all Tech fans. Maybe a lower-tier school will take a shot on him, just as SMU did with Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris last season.
If you were Paul Johnson, what changes would you make to the coaching staff? Who would you target as possible replacements?