Following Spring practice, it’s always fun to think and speculate about the future of Georgia Tech’s football program. More often than not, that speculation is in regards to the upcoming season, but I’m going to be looking a little bit further into the future, five years to be specific to the year 2022. So let’s jump right in with my five predictions about the next five years.
The Coaching Staff
I’m going to start here by looking at the coaching staff. Currently, the coaching staff is as follows:
2017 Georgia Tech Coaching Staff
|Paul Johnson||Head Coach|
|Ted Roof||Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach|
|Craig Candeto||Quarterbacks/B-backs Coach|
|Andy McCollum||Safeties Coach/Recruiting Coordinator|
|Lamar Owens||A-backs Coach/Special Teams Coordinator|
|Mike Pelton||Defensive Line Coach|
|Buzz Preston||Wide Receivers Coach|
|Mike Sewak||Offensive Line Coach|
|Joe Speed||Cornerbacks Coach|
|Ron West||Co-Offensive Line Coach|
Starting with head coach Paul Johnson, while I think it’s entirely a possibility that he will keep coaching until he is physically unable to do so. However, if he does plan on retiring before that happens, I think it’ll be at the end of his current contract, which ends after the 2020 season, at which point, Johnson will be 63.
Should he retire at that point, I can think of a few options as his successor: Ted Roof (turns 59 in 2022), Kennesaw State University Head Coach Brian Bohannon (52 in 2022), Georgia Southern Offensive Coordinator Bryan Cook (46 in 2022), Navy Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo (57 in 2022) and Army Head Coach Jeff Monken (55 in 2022).
So the obvious connection here is that these coaches have all worked under Paul Johnson at some point and most are, or have been, head coaches now. Why did I look for the Paul Johnson connection? Well, the offense seems to be working pretty well, and I think Tech would be smart to look for something similar, and how much more similar could you get than a branch from the Paul Johnson coaching tree?
Looking at this list, personally, I would be fine with any of these options except for Ted Roof. Roof, while he does have head coaching experience and is a Tech alum, would not be a good option for head coach in my opinion. He would be 56 or 57 at the time of accepting the job, which is already pretty old for a coach.
Looking at the likeliness of everyone else, I feel like the GTAA would want Ken Niumatalolo or Jeff Monken as the top options, given their track records as head coaches. Both of these guys will still be relatively young, yet experienced head coaches by the time Paul Johnson’s contract runs out.ut
Outside of this group, I could see Tech looking out some outside options that would keep either the same, or similar offensive system, so some form of spread option. With that, we have quite a few more options, but one that I would personally love to see, if he hasn’t already gotten a better job is Tulane Head Coach Willie Fritz. At Georgia Southern, Fritz was absolutely phenomenal and I feel like we would see a similar transformation at Georgia Tech. The only problem with that is that he’s older than Ted Roof, so he would be about 60 at the time of accepting the job.
Looking at the rest of the coaching staff, I think by the time Johnson retires and we have a new head coach, we will probably move back to the more standard model of having a dedicated offensive and defensive coordinator. If he doesn’t get promoted to Head Coach, I anticipate Ted Roof will still be the Defensive Coordinator, barring some horrific year on defense. I know there are those with issues with how Roof runs the defense, but unless it just absolutely tanks to Al Groh-levels, I don’t see Roof being let go.
As for the offensive side, things are a little bit more open, but I see a couple of options on the staff as of right now, those being Craig Candeto and Tevin Washington. Then again, if Paul Johnson doesn’t retire, I don’t see him giving up control over playcalling.
So, to summarize, I think Paul Johnson will retire at the end of his contract, and he will be replaced by one of Ken Niumatalolo or Jeff Monken. The dark horse in the race will be Brian Bohannon, but in the end, Monken will be the guy.
With that happening, my second prediction will also come into play. Since CPJ won’t be around to call plays anymore, we’ll need someone new to do that. While I feel like Monken would probably bring an offensive coordinator with him from Army (Brent Davis is that guy right now), I think it’s more likely that he takes a Mike Sewak-esque role, where he is on the coaching staff, but Monken will be the primary playcaller. It could be like CPJ never left.
It’s a little difficult to look at exactly what the team will look like in 2022 as nobody that is currently on the team (or will be in the fall) will still be on the team. So instead, I’m going to channel my inner Nostradamus and give my best guest about how the team will look.
It’s no secret that this past year’s recruiting class was the best under Paul Johnson, especially on the defensive side. Based on this, I expect Tech’s recruiting classes to stay around this level, with some improvement in these next five years.
With this past year’s recruiting class, we saw a pretty heavy emphasis on defense (especially defensive backs), so at this point in the future, all of these guys will have just graduated from Tech so there’s a pretty good chance that we’ll be pretty inexperienced in the secondary.
Going off of that, I think the team will look pretty similar to what we’re looking like right now. The only thing that would really change that is if we have some future quarterback come in and beat out the guys we already have, more specifically beating out Tobias Oliver in his redshirt senior year. That would give us an experienced quarterback. In that state of mind, we would be looking at a really good season for Georgia Tech in 2022.
So here, I’m going to add in two more predictions. First, I think Tech will win the ACC at least once, but I’m actually going to say they win it twice. Georgia Tech brought in some really good defensive talent with this last recruiting class, and I think that it will complement the already normally pretty good offense that we have.
The other prediction here is in regards to the coaching transition. Some of these can be more difficult than others, but I think with Tech likely sticking with a similar system, the transition couldn’t go smoother, especially staying with a CPJ disciple.
Ahh the uniforms: everyone’s favorite thing to talk about. It’s no secret that Russell is not exactly everyone’s favorite uniform designers. Luckily, Joey recently submitted an Open Records Request, and thus, we got this wonderful article here. Looking into that, we see that Tech’s contract with Russell ends July 1, 2018, which is a long time before the year 2022. This means that by 2022, we will have brand new uniforms that will hopefully be vastly superior to what we have now.
I won’t go into a whole lot of detail about how exactly the uniforms would be changing, rather, I’ll just leave this excerpt from Joey’s aforementioned article:
- Nike already holds several of the major brands in college sports, which are good to associate with, but also would presumably draw attention away from Georgia Tech’s brand and needs. This is probably the single most iconic of the three brands that would have the easiest time resonating with recruits, but it certainly wouldn’t provide any sort of recruiting advantage given how saturated the market already is with Nike-sponsored teams.
- Under Armour seems to be the favorite in the clubhouse among fans (including yours truly), and also has a majority of the apparel for sale in the bookstore’s online outlet. Unfortunately, a quick check of their stock price shows that UA finds themselves at a five-year low after taking huge spills in the spring of 2014 and again in 2016, and never really recovering from the latter. In other words, business doesn’t seem to be going particularly great for Kevin Plank’s crew right now, and signing a giant, lucrative apparel contract would seem unusual given those circumstances.
- Adidas, however, finds their stock at its highest since the turn of the century, and in good position for a big deal (should they choose to be). On the other hand, Adidas seems to be moving away from major college apparel deals, losing major contracts over the last few years with schools like Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin, and only retaining sponsorship deals with a small handful of Power-5 programs (with Louisville, Miami & N.C. State being the only ACC programs using Adidas). All that, not to mention that the ideas that Adidas has in terms of revolutionizing visual identities are...unique.
Regardless of what happens, the uniform change is going to be an improvement and a welcome change.
My predicition for the uniform change is that come 2018, Tech will elect to bring on Under Armor to do the uniforms.
Conclusion - Any Other Changes?
Now it’s your turn. If Georgia Tech stays on its current track, I believe it has a chance to be something special. Do you agree? Disagree? Are there any changes that you would like to see or that I overlooked? Feel free to discuss them in the comments below.
Which prediction do you think is the most likely?
This poll is closed
CPJ retires and is replaced by Jeff Monken (or other CPJ disciple).
The new head coach takes the CPJ playcalling role.
Georgia Tech wins two ACC Championships in the next five years.
The coaching transition is smooth with no down season.
Under Armor replaces Russell.