In the facilities arm race
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Paul Johnson does not remember Clemson’s most recent visit to Georgia Tech two years ago very clearly.
The Tigers beat the Yellow Jackets 26-7 at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Sept. 22, 2016, but Tech’s head coach thinks his team won.
“I think the last time they came to Atlanta, they were ranked in the top 5, and I think we did win,” Johnson said on Wednesday at the ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte.
Actually, it was the second of three straight Clemson wins over Georgia Tech from 2015-17. But Johnson shouldn’t worry too much, as the Yellow Jackets will get a chance to avenge those losses when the Tigers travel back to Atlanta this season on Sept. 22.
Georgia Tech is nearly .500 against Clemson (5-6) since Johnson became Tech’s head coach in 2008. But even he admits there is a wide disparity between the two schools and programs — and the facilities that they have.
Asked about Clemson’s $55 million Allen N. Reeves Football Complex, which opened early in 2017, Johnson admitted that Georgia Tech can’t compete with Clemson in a facilities arm race.
“Georgia Tech and Clemson are set up differently as far as the schools go,” Johnson said. “We have far less students. Our fan base is probably not as big. We’re not going to have as many people at the game. So we’re not going to win an arms race with Clemson. But what we’ve got to do is sell what we have that’s positive.”
Johnson went on to praise the Tigers, saying it’s not Clemson’s facility that gives it an advantage over other programs — but rather Clemson’s overall commitment to its program.
“I’m not sure that just that one aspect changes anything, but I think that just the overall commitment to the program, not just with facilities, but with budgets, with personnel, with all those kind of things,” he said. “But you know, I think that what Dan (Radakovich) and Dabo (Swinney) have done at Clemson is remarkable. They’ve been really consistent, and the commitment that they have to their football program is certainly visible. You can see that, not only with facilities but with personnel, with whatever you would need.”
“But certainly it’s not going to hurt you to have those kind of facilities,” he added. “That’s for sure.”