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Potential CPJ Replacements: Brian Bohannon

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Paul Johnson disciple with deep Georgia roots

The Yellow Jackets have had great success running the Paul Johnson spread option the last 11 years. There is a coach just up the road that would be a great replacement and allow the Jackets to not miss a beat on offense.

Coach Brian Bohannon’s roots run deep in Georgia and deep in football. Brian’s dad was a legendary high school coach, Lloyd Bohannon was the head coach at Griffin high school from 1978 to 1995, compiling a record of 156 wins, 58 losses, and 1 tie, winning five region titles and one state title in his 18 years at the central Georgia school. Brian would star for his dad before going to uga and winning four varsity letters. After graduating, he would spend one year at West Georgia and another at Gardner-Webb, before joining up with a HC that he would learn and grow under for the next 15 years.

Coach Bohannon came to Georgia Southern to coach WRs for new head coach Paul Johnson. Spending two years as the wide receivers coach and two years as the defensive backs coach, Bohannon would play a role in two FCS national titles for the Eagles, 1999 & 2000. Coach Johnson would leave Statesboro for Navy in 2002 and Coach Bohannon would move as well, being the wide receivers coach for the Midshipmen from 2002-2007.

When Paul Johnson accepted the Georgia Tech job in 2008 coach Bohannon would return to his home state as the QB/B-backs coach for the Yellow Jackets. Under his direction, Joshua Nesbitt would go to set the ACC record for both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns for a quarterback and lead the Jackets to the 2009 ACC championship and a berth in the Orange Bowl.

In 2013 Coach Bohannon was tapped to be the first head coach in the history of the Kennesaw State Owl football program. After leading the Owls to a respectable 6-5 in their first full season, the program really begins to hit its stride, finishing 8-3 in 2016 and finally exploding on to the scene in 2017, going 12-2 and making it to the FCS quarterfinals with Coach Bo being named Big South and FCS coach of the year. The Owls are again on the rise, going 10-1 and winning their 2nd Big South title. They are still fighting their way thought the FCS playoffs at the time of publishing.

Positives:

Coach Bohannon, and his OC Grant Chestnut, both come from coaching and playing in the Paul Johnson spread option. When watching KSU you see many of the same things you see from the Jackets, with some interesting wrinkles. The Owls are still a very run heavy team, currently second in the FCS is rushing yards. Bohannon has shown a willingness to allow Chestnut to experiment and run some wrinkles on the standard offense. You will see some I form and shot gun, as well as called handoffs to a-backs, that you have not seen from the Jackets. This familiarity with the offense would ease the transition to a new coach.

The other positive is the familiarity both Coach and his staff have with the high school coaches in the state of Georgia. This would hopefully help Tech to make inroads and build on some of the momentum that has started to happen on the recruiting trail.

Negatives:

The biggest negative on Bohannon is that he is a dwag. While many would find issue with this, it is not unheard of for a coach from a rival school to have success. Vince Dooley, uga legend, played at Auburn University. Bobby Dodd, Tech legend, played at Tennessee, at the time a Tech rival. Texas legend Darrell K Royal first made a name for himself as a star player at Oklahoma. There is a bit of a precedent where coaches go on to have success at a rival school.

The second negative, and in my mind the main one preventing this, is that Tech is looking to move away from the Paul Johnson spread option and move into a different offensive scheme and philosophy. This is more a result of the narratives and negatives of the offense winning over than the offense itself. People seem more willing to accept the narratives about the offense than taking the time to understand it. This has led to many of the negative ideas about the offense and has had a negative impact on both recruiting and fan support. Continuing this scheme would not help to energize and excite the fanbase.

Conclusion

Brian Bohannon would be a great hire for Georgia Tech, but the push to move to a different system and his history as a dwag will take coach out of the hiring equation.