After three years of declining returns and defensive struggles, the head that many Georgia Tech fans had been calling for has finally rolled. Today, head coach Paul Johnson announced that defensive coordinator Al Groh had been relieved of his duties.
Groh, who spent nine seasons as the head coach at the University of Virginia before coming to Georgia Tech, had seen his defenses give up increasing numbers of yards and points through his three seasons in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets went from being yearly conference contenders, to being solidly beaten by not only ACC foes this season, but even a 49-28 drubbing by Division-1 Middle Tennessee State University.
Georgia Tech has allowed opponents to score an average of 30.2 points per game and 431 yards per game on way to a 2-4 record halfway through the 2012 season. After giving up 42, 49 and 47 points in three consecutive losses, it was obviously apparent to Johnson that a change had to be made. Georgia Tech has allowed over 600 total yards per game in two of those three losses.
“The Institute has decided to go in a different direction, which I respect,” Groh said in a prepared statement. “I appreciate all the help and input from (assistant defensive coaches) Charles Kelly, Joe Speed and Andy McCollum, and the effort of all the players. I aimed to give the best that I had every day. It’s been an honor to be a part of the legacy of Georgia Tech football. I feel positive that this is a good time in life to move on to a new situation.”
The Yellow Jackets were picked as one of the possible contenders to win the ACC Coastal Division in the preseason, but have now fallen to 1-3 in conference play and have essentially eliminated themselves from any chance of playing in the conference championship game. Expectations were much higher for Groh’s defense this year, with this being the third season in Groh’s once vaunted 3-4 scheme.
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson is expected to name an interim coordinator at his 3:30 p.m. ET press conference. The most likely candidates are current assistant defensive coaches Charles Kelly or Andy McCollum.