I’m off through Wednesday, but wanted to offer up something for the blog. I spoke with Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh, who covered a wide variety of topics about his background and the defense. It’ll hopefully run in the paper and online as “10 things you didn’t know about Al Groh.” I’ll give you a sneak peak with three of them. Thanks for reading.
1. Groh calls a failed statistics class in his senior year at Virginia in 1967 the biggest break of his career. He had been accepted to graduate business school, but instead had to stay to re-take the class the following semester. He got a work-study job coaching football at a local high school, where the team went 10-0 and Groh enjoyed himself thoroughly.
In a roundabout way, that led to an ROTC assignment in 1968 to coach the plebe (freshman) football team at West Point. His first night there, he was taken to the officers’ club, where he met Anne Stahle, whom he later married. The next day, he met another Army coach, Bill Parcells, with whom Groh coached several years in college and the NFL.
Said Groh, “Obviously, I didn’t go on to graduate business school.”
Among others at West Point at the time: Bobby Knight, Ken Hatfield (later head football coach at Clemson and Arkansas), John Mackovic (head coach with the Kansas City Chiefs, Illinois, Texas and Arizona) and tennis legend Arthur Ashe.
“A lot of us would meet for noontime basketball,” Groh said. “You should have seen Parcells guarding Knight, and vice versa.”
2. Groh has a CD case in his office packed with dozens of discs. The artists include the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Adele, Jay-Z, Kenny Chesney, Maroon 5, Diana Krall, Weezer and the Doobie Brothers.
“I guess the term that people would put on that is fairly eclectic,” he said.
He’s learned about newer performers from his children, players and society. “You’ve got to know what’s going on,” he said.
If he had to pick just five? Billy Joel, Toby Keith, Lady Gaga, Van Halen and Springsteen.
3. Groh has been meeting with outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu to watch video and help him learn his assignments. Groh said there have been plays where he wasn’t sure what Attaochu was doing. The goal of the sessions is “eradicating those from his game and doing the things that he knows how to do and do well with greater consistency.”
They watch vide of Tech video and also NFL defenses running schemes similar to Tech’s. Groh questions Attaochu on what he sees and what he would do on the field.
Said Groh, “There’s plenty of space in there for improvement.”
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog