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Tech opts for new era with Johnson
New coach brings rushing attack to Yellow Jackets

ATLANTA - There's no reason to compare Jonathan Dwyer with Tashard Choice.

With Georgia Tech's switch from the pro style offense that worked so well for Choice to the option attack under new coach Paul Johnson, Dwyer plays a different position and a different role as the Yellow Jackets' top running back.

Dwyer hopes he earns a comparison with Adrian Peterson - the Peterson now with the Chicago Bears who flourished in Johnson's offense for two I-AA national championships at Georgia Southern.

Dwyer is a "B back" in Johnson's scheme. He'll line up behind the quarterback like a fullback and have more blocking assignments than last year, but he also expects a lot of carries - just like Peterson enjoyed at Georgia Southern.

"The only person I can compare myself to is Adrian Peterson when Coach Johnson was at Georgia Southern," Dwyer said. "We're pretty much the same back and the same type."

Peterson rushed for more than 2,000 yards in each of his first three seasons at Georgia Southern and finished with 9,161 yards and 114 touchdowns before he was drafted in 2002 by the Bears.

Choice rushed for 1,379 yards and 10 touchdowns despite a rash of injuries in his senior season. Dwyer added 436 yards rushing and nine touchdowns but had only 82 carries as a freshman. He could have more than 82 carries in just a few games this year.

All the new talk about "A backs" and "B backs" and the triple-option has created a stir that has mystified, angered and bemused Johnson. He's enjoyed huge success at Georgia Southern, Hawaii and Navy, but now there are questions about how the attack can work in a major conference.

In his first few months on the job, Johnson seemed to stiffen when faced with repeated questions about the offense. Now he says he has to laugh as reporters and fans ask if the option attack can be productive in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"That's the thing that's hilarious, 'At this level,' " Johnson said. "I mean, what? Are we in the NFC East?

"When I was at the Naval Academy, I can promise you we played Maryland, Wake Forest, N.C. State, Duke, Rutgers, Boston College, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, and they're on the same level as we are. It's not like they weren't in the same division or the same level, so that's why I don't buy that."

Johnson was hired before Georgia Tech's Humanitarian Bowl loss to Fresno State to replace Chan Gailey, who had six consecutive winning seasons at Georgia Tech but was 0-6 against Georgia.