Coming off the heels of an ACC Championship Game appearance, albeit by default, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets under Head Coach Paul Johnson are starting to show signs of becoming a major player in the Atlantic Coast Conference. In every season so far with Johnson at the helm, the Ramblin’ Wreck have ranked in the top four nationally in rushing. Impressive. It’s just, to become that major player that they want to be, you kind of, sort of, have to play that thing called defense. Something they’ve had a tough time doing.
Georgia Tech fired defensive coordinator Al Groh last October after lopsided losses to the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders and the Clemson Tigers. Especially regarding the loss to MTSU, it was clear that a change needed to be made for the Yellow Jackets to make any strides in becoming a permanent fixture in the ACC Title picture.
A Georgia Tech alum himself, Ted Roof was hired by the school in January to try and put the final pieces together of the Yellow Jackets’ defensive puzzle. Roof is probably best known for coordinating the 2010 Auburn Tigers defense under Gene Chizik that would go on to win the BCS National Championship.
This particular Georgia Tech defensive unit returns its top six tacklers from last season, which is certainly a good way to begin the rebuilding process for Roof. The key to molding the defense will be getting the most out of linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, who finished third in the ACC in sacks (10) last season.
Coming literally within minutes of a possible Orange Bowl appearance, coupled with their impressive showing in the Sun Bowl, locking down the USC Trojans offense to just seven points, the confidence will certainly be there for the players to begin the season. Buying into Roof’s system, and excelling with it, could have the Jackets back in the ACC Championship Game. Only this time, it won’t be by default. They’ll earn their way there.