Paul Johnson's exit could help Army

It's a move that could help Army more than any other this offseason and West Point doesn't even have any control over it. But if you are Army superintendent Lt. Gen. Franklin Hagenbeck, athletic director Kevin Anderson or coach Stan Brock, you hope it goes down. You hope Paul Johnson finally gets another job and leaves Navy.

Because the Black Knights just can't beat Johnson and his high-flying triple-option offense. If Johnson, goes Army has a better shot at beating the Midshipmen in the coming years, no matter who they hire.

Johnson is the perfect fit for Navy. Want proof? Johnson is 10-1 against rivals Army and Air Force, won five consecutive Commander in Chief's trophies and gone to four straight bowl games (winning two).

Last season, Johnson's name was mentioned for the opening at N.C. State. Tom O'Brien got the job. He was also thought to have an outside shot at the Alabama job. But Nick Saban got the call. Now, comes along the Nebraska job. Imagine the Cornhuskers running Johnson's offense or some variation of it? It would be something. PJ would return Nebraska to national prominence. And there is an opening in Lincoln: Interim athletic director Tom Osborne canned Bill Callahan this weekend. According to published reports, Nebraska has already contacted LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini about the position. Other names being tossed around are Buffalo's Turner Gill, Jim Grobe of Wake Forest and, of course, Johnson.

Pelini and Grobe may have the inside track on the job, they are the bigger names. But if Army has its way: Johnson is wearing red and white shortly after Navy dispatches the Black Knights for the sixth straight time next weekend. It's not like Navy will crumble if Johnson, leaves but the program won't be the same. If Johnson leaves, maybe assistant head coach Ken Niumatalolo follows him to Nebraska. Or wherever the next stop is.

Maybe Niumatalolo takes the Navy job. He could run the option, run it well, keeping Army in pursuit of Navy. But nobody does it like Johnson. Johnson won two national titles at Division I-AA Georgia Southern and has helped Navy to one of its best runs in school history. His next move is to get a shot at a big-time school. Maybe it's Nebraska. Maybe Grobe gets the Nebraska job and Johnson takes over at Wake Forest. But, at some point, Johnson is get the big job he well deserves. The big job he has earned.

That would be the best thing Navy did for Army in a long, long time.

Extra points: So much for a Navy-Air Force rematch in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 20. Air Force is talking with officials from the Armed Force Bowl, set for Dec. 31 in Fort Worth, Texas. There have been talk of Air Force playing Navy in the Poinsettia. The Midshipmen are expected to play either BYU or Utah in San Diego ....... The Army-Navy game is set to return to Philadelphia in 2008 and 2009, where it has been held four of the last five years (the game was held at the Meadowlands in 2002). Although Johnson isn't the leading candidate for the Nebraska job, he could get looks at Ole Miss and Colorado State.


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