Archive for the ‘Focal’ Category

Ted Roof hired as Tech coordinator

Ted Roof, once a Georgia Tech star linebacker and later an accomplished assistant, is returning to Tech once more.

Roof has been hired as the Yellow Jackets’ new defensive coordinator as the full-time replacement for Al Groh, fired in October. Roof leaves Penn State, where he had coached one season, for his alma mater.

In his only season at Penn State, the Nittany Lions ranked second in the Big Ten in scoring defense (19.1 points per game), fourth in total defense (356.3 yards per game) and first in sacks (34).

“I’ve known Ted for a long time and I’m excited that he has decided to come back to Georgia Tech,” coach Paul Johnson said in a statement.  “He’s one of the most respected football coaches in the nation.”

Roof served as linebackers coach for former Tech coach George O’Leary for one season (1998) and then defensive coordinator for three. He left to become defensive coordinator at Duke in 2002 with the changeover in head coaches. During that time at …

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Report: Kelly leaving Tech for FSU

Georgia Tech’s search for a defensive coordinator took a left turn Monday. Interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly, who was a candidate for the job after a strong finish this season, was hired by Florida State to coach linebackers, according to Spokesmen for both schools could not confirm the move.

Kelly was receiving serious consideration for Tech’s coordinator position, which he took over six games into the past season after the firing of coordinator Al Groh. Coach Paul Johnson said Friday that he thought he would reach a conclusion in the next couple of weeks after he had met with candidates.

It is a considerable loss for Tech. Johnson planned to retain Kelly, one of the staff’s top coaches and recruiters, even if he weren’t made the full-time coordinator. The move makes something of a prophet of Johnson.

“This time of year, I’ve learned through the years you never know what’s going to happen,” Johnson said Friday. “You’re one phone call …

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UPDATED: Attaochu to return for senior season

Updated, 4;30 p.m. – Georgia Tech outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu will stay in school for his senior season. He made the announcement Monday afternoon.

“There’s still things that have to be done,” Attaochu said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to come back and be a leader on this team.”

Attaochu had drawn attention to his situation by entering his name to the NFL draft advisory board in December and not offering indication of his intentions until Monday. Attaochu said the board advised him that he had the potential to be drafted.

He called it a pretty difficult decision, one that he arrived on Saturday after talking it over with his family back home in Washington, D.C. The opportunities to develop as a player and teammate and continue towards his degree were certainties that outweighed the lure of being able to start his NFL career a year ahead of schedule and the uncertainty of not knowing who Tech’s next defensive coordinator will be.

“It was …

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Wheels turning for Tech coordinator hiring

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson expects to have a defensive coordinator hired before national signing day Feb. 6. Johnson said he has already begun speaking with candidates about the opening created with the midseason firing of coordinator Al Groh.

“I should know what I’m going to do here in the next couple of weeks when I get through” meeting with candidates, Johnson said. “I just want to be real thorough with it. I’m not going to rush into something and then regret it.”

Johnson told 790 the Zone Thursday that he had three or four candidates that he was committed to talking with before making a decision. Interim coordinator Charles Kelly, who replaced Groh, is a candidate. Tech’s defense finished strongly under Kelly, shutting out Florida State in the second half of the ACC Championship game loss and then holding USC to a touchdown in the Yellow Jackets’ 21-7 Sun Bowl win. Johnson told 790 that he spoke Thursday with Kelly about the position.

“I thought he …

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Jackets start ACC play vs. Miami

Georgia Tech freshmen Robert Carter, Marcus Georges-Hunt and Chris Bolden have played a combined 827 minutes of college basketball. That being the case, Tech coach Brian Gregory said, guard Mfon Udofia informed them Thursday that they were no longer freshmen.

“You’ve played enough minutes, now you know what this is about,” Gregory said, quoting Udofia. “And it’s only going to get tougher.”

The last part is dead-on. Despite their 12 games at the college level, the celebrated freshmen will play their first minutes of ACC league play Saturday, when Tech opens the conference schedule at home against Miami.

Said Gregory, “The only way to learn is to go through it. There’s no question that experience is the best teacher.”

The Yellow Jackets will need to be braced for a stern test. Miami is 9-3 after playing one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the country, highlighted by a win over Michigan State. Tech is 10-2 and has won six in a row, but has compiled …

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Tech closes nonconference play with win

UPDATED, 10:30 p.m. Georgia Tech guard Mfon Udofia understood the situation a little better than most. While Chattanooga did not appear to be much of a threat to the Yellow Jackets, the Mocs were doing a fair impersonation of one.

“Pretty much me being a senior, me being through a lot, I just wanted to let these guys know that this is a game where we can be beat,” Udofia said, “so we have to pick it up or we will be beaten.”

The Jackets responded, shaking out of a first-half funk to take care of Chattanooga 74-58 on Wednesday night at McCamish Pavilion. Tech finished its nonconference schedule at 10-2 and will play its ACC opener at home Saturday afternoon against Miami.

Tech sizzled on offense in the second half, making 17 of 28 shots while recording assists on 10 of the 17 baskets. The Jackets also out-rebounded the Mocs 21-6 in the second half.

Said Chattanooga coach John Shulman, “They kicked our tail on the glass.”

Tech won its sixth game in a row. Aside from …

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Groh tears into Tech

In an interview with the Roanoke Times, former Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh left little doubt about his feelings about his 2 ½ years coaching the Yellow Jackets.

“Just to say it briefly, this circumstance here was the most unprofessional, divisive and negative environment in which I’ve ever been,” Groh said. “To say more would be unprofessional of myself. It was just a bad cultural match.”

Tech coach Paul Johnson hired Groh in Jan. 2010 after Groh had coached at Virginia for nine seasons. He made the decision to dismiss him Oct. 8, six games into the season, after the Jackets had allowed 40-plus points in three consecutive games.

“I’m sorry to hear that Al feels that way,” Johnson said in a statement. “I’m surprised he would stay here for 2 1/2 years if he felt like that it was that bad.”

A statement released from Groh at the time of his firing was decidedly more diplomatic.

“I appreciate all the help and input from (assistant defensive coaches) …

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Notes: Tech cheerleader’s effort not flagging

The unlikeliest star of the Sun Bowl?

That would be Brendan Espey, the Georgia Tech cheerleader who fought gusting winds to run the gold Tech flag out of the tunnel to lead the team on the field before the game, won by the Yellow Jackets 21-7 over USC on Monday.

Leaning forward and head down, Espey carried the flag into the teeth of winds so strong that they blew him off course and almost knocked him over. He was concerned he wouldn’t make it to the end of the field, but was motivated by pride and self-preservation.

“It was either (keep going) or the team and the (Ramblin’) Wreck is coming right behind me,” said Espey, a senior in his third year on the cheerleading team.

Espey’s adventure was on the broadcast and later made the game highlights on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” Espey, a former high school football player and wrestler who can bench press 295 pounds, knew he was in trouble when he thought he had run out to the 50-yard line, only to realize he was still …

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Georgia Tech 21, USC 7

Game story linked here.

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Lee ready for strong finish, start to 2013

If Vad Lee’s time as Georgia Tech quarterback doesn’t start Monday in the Sun Bowl, it will begin soon after.

Upon the Yellow Jackets’ return to campus for the spring term, Lee assuredly will gather up wide receiver Darren Waller and whoever else wants to join for some throw-and-catch. Perhaps then, as his spirals pierce the still air of the Tech indoor practice building, Lee will take over. Justin Thomas will be right on his heels.

“Vad’s time’s coming really fast,” quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon said. “Whether it’s (in the bowl) or not, I don’t know, but after that, they’re going to have to be able to run it. They’re going to have to be able to do it.”

Tech closes the 2012 season against USC in El Paso, Texas, in the Jackets’ 16th consecutive bowl game. Tech can break its seven-game bowl losing streak, even its record at .500, provide coach Paul Johnson with his first bowl win at Tech and gain a measure of satisfaction from a …

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