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ACC Football: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets New Defensive Coordinator Options

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Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets' Options for THE Defensive Coordinator


So the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are just a few days away from introducing the world of ACC Football to the new and improved, rough and tough defense of Interim Defensive Coordinator Charles Kelly.

Kelly is definitely going to earn his pay in his first gig on the big stage of college football as he faces an an important ACC battle against the desperate and pass happy Boston College Eagles.

Oh the drama will be high in the flats in Atlanta, Georgia this Saturday.

Kelly has the resume for success as he was a defensive back for the Auburn Tigers under legendary head coach Pat Dye. During his four-years at Auburn, the Tigers went 39-7-2 and went to a bowl game all four years.

So Kelly has a great pedigree, knows what it is like to play big-boy college football and understands winning.

Add that to the seven-years he has been at Georgia Tech and one can see why Head Coach Paul Johnson has gone to him to save his career.

But let’s say things do not improve and the head gig on defense is just too much for Kelly to manage…

Where do the Jackets go…

Who do they turn to…

It’s pretty clear, Johnson nor the Athletic Department will go big with a hire of the magnitude of the now fired Al Groh.

That was a clear disaster on so many levels…

But there is a small list of coaches out there who either have a proven track record or who are young and hungry to make a name for themselves on the next level.

Georgia Tech needs a spark and here is the Top Five Defensive Coordinators the Yellow Jackets should pursue with everything it has if Kelly fails in his tryout for the vacancy.

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5. Bill Busch, Utah State Aggies

Douglas C. Pizac-US PRESSWIRE

Bill Busch is currently the Associate Head Coach and Special Teams Coordinator with the Utah State Aggies who are currently ranked 20th in all of college football in Total Defense.

Busch has been with the Aggies for four seasons; the first two of which he was the Defensive Coordinator.

Busch is a candidate who has had quick success at Utah State moving from Defensive Coordinator to Associate Head Coach in just two seasons.

He has also been with the Aggies for four full seasons which makes it a much easier call for him to make a move to take over the responsibility of turning the defense around for the Yellow Jackets.

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4. Rich Nagy, Western Michigan Broncos

Marilyn Indahl-US PRESSWIRE

Rich Nagy is in his third season with the Western Michigan Broncos and first as the team’s Defensive Coordinator.

Under Nagy’s watch this season, the Broncos are currently 47th in the nation in Total Defense.

Nagy has primarily been a Division II and III defensive coordinator before getting the opportunity with Western Michigan.

This is something Georgia Tech could benefit from as Nagy is use to working with limited talent.

If Nagy can excel all the places he has with limited talent, just think of what he might could do with the athletes the Yellow Jackets can and will recruit.

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3. Don Brown, Connecticut Huskies


This is your old school pick for Georgia Tech fans…

Don Brown has a ton of experience and is currently in his second season at the Defensive Coordinator with the Connecticut Huskies who is currently ranked 6th in the nation in Total Defense.

Brown is a no non-sense, get in your face, old-school football coach…

There are no videos of this guy at practice…

Brown served as the Defensive Coordinator for the Maryland Terrapins during its best seasons back in 2009 and 2010.

Add the FCS National Championship in 1998 at Massachusetts Minutemen in 1998 as the Defensive Coordinator and a repeat visit to the FCS Title Game as a Head Coach in 2006 and this guy is the complete package with over 30 years coaching experience.

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2. Payam Saadat, Army Black Knights


So Georgia Tech wants more discipline for its defense…

Then they need to look no further than Payam Saadat

Saadat is in his fourth season as the Co-Defensive Coordinator with the Army Black Knights and has a stellar resume since his playing days as a standout linebacker with the Washington State Cougars

This is the guy who is unknown…

The high energy guy with nothing to lose…

The guy who has lived on the campus at West Point and who can bring structure to the table few other candidates can…

Saadat is an interesting guy who is use to maximizing minimal talent, who is hungry for a big-time gig and would fit perfectly into the direction the Yellow Jackets need to go.

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1. Mike Elko, Bowling Green Falcons


There is no doubt Mike Elko is the complete coach when it comes to what Georgia Tech is looking for in a Defensive Coordinator.

His motto is simple…

Force turnovers and stop teams on third-down…

Elko currently has the Bowling Green Falcons as the 23rd-ranked team in Total Defense and is 45th in getting its opponent off the field on third-downs at a 35.65% clip.

In four season, the Falcons have forced 77 turnovers under his guidance.

Prior to Bowling Green, Elko was the Defensive Coordinator with the Hofstra Pride, Fordam Rams and the Richmond Spiders.

Elko is the guy who has excelled only as a Defensive Coordinator on that secondary level who is a perfect fit for what Georgia Tech wants to do to right the ship in Atlanta.


M Shannon Smallwood has over 10 years of experience in broadcasting and journalism in professional baseball and college athletics and is the ACC Football Guru for Rant Sports.

Follow him @woodysmalls.