December 1, 2009

Tuesday practice notebook

As the Jackets continue their preparations for Saturday's ACC Showdown with Clemson, the coaching staff is adjusting the impending departure of Slot backs coach Jeff Monken. For Monken the head coaching job at Georgia Southern is a dream come true, but he still has unfinished business in Atlanta to deal with.

"There is a lot more than I imagined there would be to do right out of the box," he said of the challenges of taking on his new job. "You don't realize as an assistant coach all the things a head coach goes through when he takes a new job. There will be things I will be experiencing for the first time next year at this time. It is a lot."

Head coach Paul Johnson gave a lot of advice to Monken on dealing with the challenges of

"Coach Johnson told me for the first year you will feel like you are drinking out of a fire hose and he is right. I am it is the sure as any head coach. There have been a lot of inquires into possible positions on the staff. Everybody wants a piece of you saying congratulations or I have a guy you should recruit, or whatever. It is tough to balance it. I am really trying to focus all my efforts on my team here and I owe it to my guys to do all that I can to help us win an ACC Championship. That is my goal for this week, to win an ACC Championship for Georgia Tech."

Monken is spending his free time working on piecing together his staff at Georgia Southern and he has a lot of work to do because the Eagles do not have the same amount of money or staff structure Monken got used to at Navy and Georgia Tech.

"I won't sacrifice time away from that to do anything else at this point because I owe it to this football team to do that," he said. "In the same regard there is some time to do some other things. I am using every minute that I have got that I do not need to take for getting prepared for the game. I go home at night, get on the phone, and get a lot of work done. Administratively I am getting things in order and ready to go for our work in Statesboro. It is exciting and it is very apparent how much work it is. I am excited about it."

Monken already has most of the people he wants to hire lined up and once the new staff is in place, he is just hoping to live up to the legacy of Coach Johnson.

"I will have a staff ready and together in fairly short order. I do not have a complete staff yet and I am sure that is not out of the norm. It takes some time to get that done," he said. "I am going to try and make Coach Johnson proud. I have worked for him for 13 years and he is obviously one of the most successful coaches in college football. He had unbelievable success at Georgia Southern and I will do all I can to do as well as I can and try to come as close as I can to having similar success. It is a tremendous challenge because those were five tremendous seasons and to be able to go to the national championship three years in a row and win two of them was remarkable. It is a special place to me because of the experience I had there and I hope this time around is just as good."

Johnson address radio comments

Coach Johnson raised some eyebrows around the state and ruffled some feathers with a couple of jokes on 790 the Zone this morning. Johnson joked about dealing with obnoxious Georgia fans and joked that the Bulldogs had not accomplished anything since their 1980 National Title and should not be held as the benchmark for Tech's football program. He clarified his statements after Tuesday's practice.

"The only thing was said on 790 was that the Georgia game is an important game. Both teams wanted to win the game and he said 'what would you say to all the fans that have to take all the grief from Georgia fans.' I said I would tell them to toughen up and if they keep saying it to a point that they do not like it, and then punch somebody. It was in gest," Johnson said. "I also said I am sure the Georgia Tech fans gave it just as bad last year. I imagine they probably left that part out. That is par for the course."

The Jackets went with full pads on Tuesday in practice and they are still trying to fit the pieces together at defensive tackle with Ben Anderson sidelined with an injury and Jason Peters banged up.

"Practice was fine and it was a week 13 practice as we try to get ready for Clemson," Johnson said. "We have been rolling guys with T.J. Barnes, Logan Walls and Jason Peters. They all have been in there all year along with Ben. Peters couldn't go today, but it is not serious."

ACC Coach of the Year Paul Johnson

Johnson was pleased to be named the coach of the year by the ACC again in his second year at Georgia Tech and he credits the support staff and players for his success.

"I think it is the staff and the team. It is flattering that we won the award, but I consider it a staff award and a team award," he said.

Coach Johnson reiterated he has no plans to leave Georgia Tech as well as him name has begun to surface at different schools including Notre Dame.

"I am real sure I will be here," Johnson said. "I have no plans to be anywhere else."

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