The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets finally filled their vacant defensive coordinator position on Wednesday, January 9th, hiring Penn State defensive coordinator Ted Roof to take over a job that was vacated by Al Groh on October 8th.
Roof, who is a native of Lawrenceville, Georgia and played linebacker at Georgia Tech from 1982 to 1985, will be entering his second tenure at the Yellow Jackets’ defensive coordinator, previously serving under George O’Leary from 1999 until 2001, when O’Leary left Atlanta for what appeared to be the greener pastures in South Bend, Indiana.
Roof has been a bit of a journeyman since his run with O’Leary ended eleven years ago, as he has held five different defensive coordinator jobs during this span. Roof also has experience as a head coach in the ACC, compiling a 6-45 record in five seasons at Duke.
Some may say that Roof achieved the most success in his three year run at Auburn, in which the Tigers won their first national championship since 1957. Although the offense was stole the headlines with the likes of Cam Newton and Michael Dyer making plays, Roof’s defense, led by defensive tackle Nick Fairley, played well enough to propel the team to a championship.
Roof’s latest stop at College Station saw the Nittany Lions continue their tradition of excellence on the defensive side of the ball, ranking 29th in FBS football in total defense 353 yards allowed per game and holding eight opponents to twenty-three points or less.
The hiring of the new defensive coordinator will prove to be make-or-break for the Paul Johnson era at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and although the candidate pool seemed to be slim pickings for a while (many assumed that interim DC Charles Kelly would land the job before he left for Florida State), I believe that Johnson made an excellent choice.
Roof has a ton of experience running a defense with eleven years of serving as defensive coordinator now under his belt, and his prior experience at Georgia Tech should prove to be nothing but beneficial to the team.
It will be interesting to see if Roof decides to change Groh’s 3-4 style of defense, which was torched game in and game out for the Yellow Jackets this season, in favor of a 4-3, which he ran at Penn State.
Also keep an eye out for Roof to make his presence known in the Peach State as far as recruiting is concerned, particularly at Central Gwinnett, the home of four-star linebacker and current Ohio State commit Trey Johnson.