Georgia's Kennesaw State, set to launch its football program at the FCS level in 2015, announced Sunday afternoon that longtime Paul Johnson right-hand man Brian Bohannon will be the leader of the very first gridiron Owls. Bohannon will be introduced at a press conference on Tuesday.
Bohannon has coached quarterbacks and B-backs at Georgia Tech for the past five years, previously working with Johnson at Navy and Georgia Southern (with a pair of FCS national titles) since 1997. He's also coached at Gardner-Webb, played his college ball at Georgia and hails from Griffin.
Everything about his resume makes sense except for one thing (and it's not "this is the guy who developed Josh Nesbitt as a quarterback?" -- let's just overlook that!), which I'll get to in a moment. He has a range of in-state experience both as a coach and otherwise, which KSU athletic director Vaughn Williams called a priority. He's recruited for both Navy and Georgia Tech, two unique academic situations, which also aligns with Williams' repeated call for an academics-minded coach. He's not an INSTAFLASH SPLASH NAME at all, but I don't really care about that. He has both FBS and FCS experience, crucial for a school whose men's basketball team recently suffered NCAA sanctions for its APR scores after making a less-than-prepared leap from Division II to Division I.
That lack of FBS experience might've been what kept Valdosta State's David Dean, in my eyes the top option, from earning an interview. The Owls denied Murray State's Chris Hatcher, another Air Raid-prone former D2 national champion, was offered the job, while Bohannon's fellow Yellow Jackets assistant Andy McCollum remained in the running until Sunday.
As for the one thing to cock your head sideways at: if Bohannon runs a variant of the spread flexbone offense similar to Johnson's, that'll likely make three of the five Division I scholarship football programs in the state of Georgia doing so at the same time, along with Tech and Georgia Southern, and the recruiting pecking order among those three is about as established as it gets. [Edit: Bohannon has said he'll mix in some pistol and shotgun looks as well. That's good.]
The official school release describes his offense as merely a "spread" attack, so we could speculate that could mean some sort of hybrid, but I'm very concerned about recruiting the specific types of quarterbacks, offensive linemen and wide receivers that are also in high demand by two other schools nearby -- a startup program doesn't sound like it should have any reason to worry about recruiting against a historic power from a BCS conference, but the current Jackets do bring on their share of two-star prospects, with many FCS schools landing three-stars from time to time.
I'm highly interested in the offensive staff Bohannon puts together, as I'm hoping the aim isn't for the program to become Georgias Tech And Southern North. A multiple offense similar to the one Johnson ran at Hawaii, which featured a much more open passing game, could be both exciting for new fans and distinct enough to carve out its own talent market, but that version was formed before Bohannon came along anyway.
However, potential flexbone sprawl aside, Bohannon's resume lines up. As long as the Owls find and develop quarterbacks that can eventually pass.