The impact that new Georgia Tech co-offensive line coach Ron West can make on the Yellow Jackets likely won’t be known for sure until the fall, but he and others gave insight into how he could make a difference.
I am planning to write a story about West for myajc that will hopefully appear Sunday afternoon on myajc and in Monday’s paper. In the meantime, a few tidbits about the newest addition to the Tech staff.
1. West said he was recommended to coach Paul Johnson by linebackers coach Andy McCollum, who worked together with West at Baylor 1995-96, and defensive coordinator Ted Roof. West and Roof had never worked together, but have coached against each other and ran across one another while recruiting Gwinnett County over the years. Others called Johnson on his behalf, West said.
2. West said that, in his interview with Johnson, pass protection was a particular focus of the conversation. Johnson has said that improving that part of the offense will be his top priority going into the spring.
“I think the biggest thing is, most of their philosophy of what Georgia Tech does is not going to change,” he said. “It’s a proven winner. It will work. It’s just that we’ve got to get better in some areas that we can improve in and the techniques and things that we do, and then probably sometimes scheme-wise, you can do some different things that might help the protection, and Coach is very aware of that.”
3. Former Clemson coach Tommy Bowden sang West’s praises as a recruiter. Bowden hired him to coach at Tulane in 1997 and then brought him along to Clemson in 1999. Among players he brought to Clemson were Da’Quan Bowers, deemed the No. 1 prospect in the country in the 2008 class by ESPN, and Ricky Sapp, a top 75 prospect in the 2006 class. Johnson called Bowden before hiring West, and Bowden gave him his endorsement.
“(Recruiters) all sound the same,” Bowden said. “You’ve got to do something that sticks out as a recruiter. Ron did that with building relationships. He was good in an upper-income home and in a lower-income home. It didn’t make a difference. He did a great job of communicating with parents and coaches and kids, putting them on the same page. He’s got great skills in that regard.”