Does Bo Know? We’ll Find Out

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Article Contributed by Andrew “AJ” Howard. Follow him on Twitter @Andrew_Howard5

Nothing—least of all a Kennesaw State sport—deserves to be compared to the
cinematic masterpiece that is The Lion King, but Tuesday was the closest thing we’ll
ever have. Journalists flocked in zebra-like fashion to KSU as we were introduced to
our football Simba, all while “Circle of Life” gently serenaded us from the tornado
sirens.

Roughly six weeks from the initial announcement that Division I football would be
gracing Kennesaw’s campus, Director of Athletics Vaughn Williams has appointed our
initial Fearless Leader. Georgia Tech’s Brian Bohannon was introduced Tuesday in
some sort of locker room/dungeon area inside Fifth Third Bank Stadium.

With the appointment of Bohannon as Kennesaw’s first head coach, the roots of the
Paul Johnson coaching tree creep further up I-75 in efforts of world domination.
He leaves Tech after serving as the quarterbacks/B-backs coach since 2008, his
third stop with Johnson. His positions on PJ’s previous staffs included coaching Navy’s
wide receivers and Georgia Southern’s defensive backs.
Fullbacks, mobile quarterbacks and guys that tuck t-shirts into their jeans across the
state are surely salivating at having another coach with flexbone roots anchoring
a program, but the hire left some of the fledgling Owl fans confused. I’m unsure of
who most fans were hoping would be hired instead (Bear Bryant?), but Twitter was
a gold mine the past few days of people who weren’t happy with the hire. Most of it
was focused on the style of option offense he’s been associated with in the past, but
none of it made much sense.

I have to disclose that I was riding shotgun in the David Dean bandwagon for
most of the past month. His head coaching experience—winning two national
championships at Valdosta State—and insistence on a Georgian-heavy roster
seemed perfect for us. Murray State’s Chris Hatcher also crossed my mind, if only for
the possibility of Air Raid offense/McCollum Airport puns while writing about the
team. So, the guy whose prime quarterback project was Josh Nesbitt understandably
didn’t reach the top of my list.

However, I think I’ve had a change of heart. Call it cautious optimism, but I’m slowly
coming around to Team Bohannon. Part of it could be that his name reminds me of
the rapper Bohagon of BME fame, but it’s mainly because the naysayers made me
look at the situation logically.

Trying to assert fan dominance through disagreeing with decisions is nothing new
to college athletics—even Kennesaw. If Charles Darwin ever posthumously rewrote
On the Origin of Species, his chapter on the evolution of a football school would

have to include the sloppy ascent from misinformed Internet protestors to—wait
that never stops. In any case, ignorance is a centerpiece for most fan bases, but I’m
pleading with the Owluminati to give the guy a chance.

Yes, he has no head coaching experience. But is there anything he has more of at
Kennesaw than time to learn? The team won’t play a real game until 2015, so what’s
the harm of the guy taking some time to get acquainted with the responsibilities the
job brings. If anything, the enthusiasm he displayed during the press conference seemed
to come from the mentality of a guy who has been biding his time as an assistant.

When he says that he’s “here for the long haul,” you have to recognize how
important that is as a factor for the decision. Vaughn Williams established a set of
criteria for the new coach back when the search began—most emphasized: Georgia
roots—but as a neutral observer I felt having a guy who is here to stay should trump
locality. Fortunately enough, Williams came away with both in the Bohannon hire
and a lot of it seems to stem from

Take away the experience aspect of not liking the hire, and you are basically just
grasping for air trying to attack the ideology of Paul Johnson’s offenses. It’s cool if
you don’t enjoy the flexbone attack that Bohannon has been apart of, I understand.
I’ve spent most of my formative years despising Georgia Tech; insulting them
is a trait I picked up on Saturdays in Clemson’s Death Valley. At Georgia Tech’s
FBS placement, criticisms of the offense are a little more sensible. But to use Paul
Johnson as a reason that Bohannon won’t succeed is completely ignoring reality.

Thing is, they don’t play at the same level that Kennesaw will. Everyone saying
the option can’t work at the college level looks at it from a solely major-college
standpoint, focusing on the glass ceiling Georgia Tech has seemingly reached. The
option hatred as it applies to us, however, is completely ridiculous. To say a triple
option scheme cannot succeed in FCS is akin to saying the Earth is flat. Sure, some
people believe it, but schools like Georgia Southern and Wofford continue to sail
around the world without descending into deep space.

In actuality, it’s tough to say how the Owls will look offensively under Bohannon. He
has said he will be hiring an offensive coordinator—a good sign, as one drawback
to Johnson at Tech is his insistence on full control—to call the plays and even name-
dropped how NFL teams introduced the Pistol formation as something he wants to
experiment with. Much of what will make up Bohannon’s offensive style will revolve
around what sort of offensive staff he can put together and the first quarterback
that will take the reigns for the team. Without both of those provisions, how can we
really judge the guy’s offense?

If he wants to succeed, there is no doubt he will have to adapt. As SB Nation college
football editor and Kennesaw alumni Jason Kirk noted earlier this week, the Owls
would be the third Division I team in the state to run the triple option if Bohannon
does bring over the system—behind two established programs (Tech and Southern)
that will surely have their pick of the good fits for the system. I really do think being
emancipated from Grandpa Paul will do wonders for Bohannon’s creativity, a must
to secure adequate talent from the area.

He spoke only vaguely on football topics Tuesday, instead using the press
conference to declare his love for Kennesaw and insist how much the job means to
him. The tactic made sense, though. If you were watching—whether as an actual
journalist in the room or as a fake one on the computer (guilty)—it was easy to
forget how Vaughn Williams’ previous hires have gone. Maybe I’m getting lost in
the aura of our still-mythical football team finally having a leader, but I have a good
feeling. He might not have been your favored candidate, but there’s more to being a
football fan than getting your way all the time.

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