You thought that when Paul Johnson announced his retirement recently that was it.
That he would fade gently into that good night.
Quietly take up a life swimming in the three “W”s of college coaches who no longer have to chase W’s on Saturday: whittlin’, whiskey-making, and watching Matlock*.
No way, man.
Paul Johnson, fresh off a loss so bad that Kirby Smart reminded us afterward that if he kept doing it he’d get Johnson fired or retired, is leading his boys on one last march into the glory and pageantry of . . . .the Quick Lane Bowl in scenic Detroit, Michigan.
The Quick Lane is not one of the ACC’s premier bowl matchups. Honestly 74% of Detroiters have no idea it even exists. Half the people in the stands last year thought they’d bought tickets to a live action remake of Moana and were furious when the Rock didn’t show up.
Georgia Tech’s players were about as happy to be in the Quick Lane Bowl as you’d expect.
Paul Johnson was determined to go out the way he came into the coaching world: 7-5 and salty as all get out. Extolling the gracious virtues of Ford Field where the game will be held, and flattering his impending hosts, the Great Optiontino remarked:
I lived in Annapolis. It can get really damn cold, especially at the time of year when you’re playing outside. This game is going to be in a great stadium, it’s going to be indoors, it’s going to be fun.
Johnson also previewed his team’s opponent, Minnesota, by saying he hasn’t seen them play a lot this season “but I did get to watch them when they waxed Wisconsin.”
Let’s be honest here: Paul Johnson is now and forever will remain Dollar general Steve Spurrier. Just substitute Navy for Duke, the triple option for the Fun ‘N Gun, and flip the career record against Georgia and he’s basically the Bizarro Ball Coach.
Mark Richt sent one to do beer commercials. Kirby Smart sent the other to, well, I presume yell at pigeons about loafing. History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes. Until later . . .
*Bill Snyder’s actually been doing all three, often at the same time, and occasionally during halftime of the Iowa State game, since 1997. But the man’s an icon so what do you expect?