Paul Johnson wraps up difficult day at Macon Touchdown Club

Joshua S. Kelly-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson addressed the mid-season firing of defensive coordinator Al Groh at the Macon Touchdown Club Monday.

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson was at the Macon Touchdown Club Monday and addressed the mid-season firing of defensive coordinator Al Groh. The Yellow Jackets are off to a disappointing start to the season, falling to 2-4 on the season and 1-3 in ACC play.

Even with the struggles this season, the decision to fire Groh came as a shock to many.

Johnson credited Groh for being a smart man, but said something just wasn't transcending to the field. The timing for the move was perfect, since Georgia Tech has the week off before taking on Boston College next week.

Johnson also gave an update on former linebacker Julian Burnett, a would-be senior from Westside who suffered a career-ending neck injury in last year's Sun Bowl.

Johnson said Burnett is on track to graduate this year, works with the marketing department at Tech and shows up to a few practices a week.

"It wasn't worth the risk of him playing football," Johnson said. "He could have possibly played and nothing would have happened.

"In the bowl game, he actually went numb for a little bit. When the happens, it scared the bejesus out of me, and I know it scared the doctors."

It'd be a stretch to say Burnett could have saved Groh's job, but Johnson knows about Burnett's presence would have been felt.

"You talk about a guy who loves football, is one of the toughest, hardest-nosed kids I've ever been around," Johnson said. "But we just decided it's not worth the risk to do that, as much as we would have loved to have him on the team.

"We miss him a lot."

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