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Mailbag 1/4: Paul the broadcasting man, Brent Key the homerun hire

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Let’s talk about the incoming football staff, basketball hitting conference play, and more!

Georgia Tech v Georgia Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Any chance they bring [Paul Johnson] back on ESPN? -King

I don’t see this happening any time soon. As you pointed out in the longer version of the question, Paul Johnson was the only one with any wit among the four or five coaches on screen but even that came sporadically. The film room during these games is never particularly funny and it couldn’t even be informative this time around thanks to Mack Brown taking on the role of bad color commentator.

Paul Johnson seemed a bit uncomfortable and didn’t add all that much, but when he did it was gold. I doubt they have him back for anything outside of that type of event since he doesn’t talk enough or very enthusiastically.

Who is someone that would be a homerun hire on our coaching staff? -Cole

Honestly, Brent Key. I wouldn’t feel the same if he was coming over as an offensive coordinator, but as an offensive line coach he’s the ultimate slam dunk. He checks quite literally every box for that job and, to top it all off, is a Tech alumnus himself. In case you’re wondering what those boxes are:

  1. Listed as the #2 recruiter in the entire nation.
  2. Has coached some of the most successful offensive lines in the NCAA.
  3. Made a lateral career move to come here from Alabama, which is pretty incredible.

By the way, guys like he and Choice are examples of when you should hire Tech alums. Let alumnus status be the cherry on top, not the foundational reason.

Biggest contributor to the bowl result? -SullyGT

It’s impossible and unfair to assign it to any one person or any one unit, honestly. We’re talking about a 24-point loss to a 6-6 B1G team that went 3-6 in conference. That can only be chalked up to a complete failure by the offense, which accrued just 283 yards, the defense, which allowed 392, and the special teams. The bottom line is that no one from Paul Johnson all the way down looked too interested in being in Detroit, and I can’t blame them. They were still robbed no matter what the outcome of the Quick Lane Bowl was. It’s sad that Paul Johnson went out like that (and he’s not absolved of blame for the performance), but the bowl selection was still a farce.

How many players are likely to transfer out? How many would be “too many and we should definitely panic? -SullyGT

We’ll find out soon enough, although it’s good news that we haven’t heard on anyone leaving so far. No one outside of the program knows how many for sure, but I’d say at least 3-5 once they find out whether they’re “ATL” (above-the-line, Geoff Collins’ way of designating a player as being good enough to play a given game or not). My not-at-all-smart money is on some current running backs moving on if they struggle to find a place in Patenaude’s more traditional offense since he doesn’t use nearly as many players as Johnson’s scheme. It’s also possible that everyone could love Collins and the direction of the program and want to stick around, though.

Also of note: I don’t know how Geoff Collins will manage the roster, but we currently only have one open scholarship per the AJC. That could impact future transfers as well.

I can’t fathom hitting a number that would make me panic, it would’ve started already. There are still serious eligibility ramifications for transfers in college football and the incoming head coach would have to be very questionable for there to be a massive exodus a-la Miami. I think people are comfortable enough to stay, both with Collins and with the way Paul Johnson left.

What’s your conference record prediction for basketball? How many wins is the minimum to keep CJP off the hot seat this year? -SullyGT

Some of our staff members are on record answering this question, including myself. I personally called 3-15 in ACC play and 7-6 out-of-conference, with the latter almost coming true and the former still looking pretty reasonable. I’m actually a little bit more bullish on the Jackets right now than I was earlier in the season, but I still think they’re going to struggle against ACC teams from a depth perspective. Tomorrow’s game against Wake Forest will be a great shot at a win, though.

I usually have some type of intuition about where coaches stand, but with Pastner I’m not sure. The outcry from the fanbase has been minuscule compared to the Gregory era and there doesn’t seem to be too much restlessness from the Athletic Department either, but that’s the opinion of an outsider. It will come down to whether Todd Stansbury is willing to be patient and how much money they have lying around after hiring an expensive football staff, but I’d be surprised to see Pastner gone after this season regardless of what happens the rest of the way.

How long does Danny Hall stick around? -GTalbatross

Hall has been a conundrum lately thanks to excellent recruiting coupled with sub-excellent player development. I don’t think a 1,000-game winner would really be placed on the hot seat, especially at a time when there’s already been so much coaching turnover in other sports, but it’s not unreasonable to expect more. Hopefully he can pull things together this season.

Who called Paul Johnson during the Clemson/ND game when his phone went off while analyzing the game? -gtalum_inCT

It was David Cutcliffe asking if his refrigerator was running.

Given the dreck that were the 12/29 games, how do we get a real, improved, watchable Playoff selection going forward? -DressHerInWhiteAndGold

I still think that a four-team playoff is more fun, but the obvious answer is to move back to the BCS format. Parity is continuing to evaporate as Clemson and Alabama pull away from the pack, and no amount of playoff expanding can fix that.

That said, I’d be in favor of an 8-team playoff just because it would be more fun. The leadup to a game is half the fun in college football, and even blowouts are sometimes nice to watch end-to-end (like the Alabama - Oklahoma game).

What, specifically, does CGC mean by “NFL style offense?” -SullyGT

I take it to mean a system where the coaches focus on skills that translate to the NFL and not as a direct endorsement of a pro-style offense. He likely wouldn’t be pushing that phrase so hard if we weren’t transitioning from such a unique offense, but Collins knows the value of rebuilding the Tech brand and distancing himself from the option is probably a viable path to start that journey. This is his way of making it crystal clear that he’s bringing a new era to Tech’s offense.

By the way, I’m willing to bet that Patenaude’s offense at Tech will be less Temple and more Coastal Carolina (read: more open). He adjusted to his personnel at Temple and will likely do the same at Tech, which is encouraging.