Georgia Tech fires defensive coordinator Al Groh

By Chip Patterson | College Writer
Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh was fired on Monday. (US Presswire)

Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh has been fired. The school made the announcement Monday after the Yellow Jackets' 47-31 loss at Clemson on Saturday.

"The Institute has decided to go in a different direction, which I respect," Groh said in a 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 loss was the Yellow Jackets' third in a row, following an embarrassing home defeat to Middle Tennessee and overtime loss to Miami. The three-game streak losing marked the first time in school history that the Yellow Jackets have given up 40 points in three consecutive games.

The Yellow Jackets (2-4, 1-3 ACC) rank 92nd nationally in total defense, giving up 431.0 yards per game. As Ken Sugiura of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted, that pace would result in the most yards allowed in school history.

The school held a news conference Monday afternoon with Paul Johnson. The Yellow Jackets' head coach expressed his disappointment with the season thus far. He did not single the blame on just Groh or the defense, instead pointing out that "we've all all got to do a better job."

"The season is not over," Johnson said. "It's a chance to move forward and see how we do. We can play better than we've played."

Georgia Tech has Week 7 off, then returns to play Oct. 20 at home against Boston College. They follow that with another home date against BYU, then a trip to face Maryland in College Park. If there was a time for defensive changes, this four week stretch appears to be the Yellow Jackets' best chance to adjust on the fly.

According to Johnson, Groh's duties will be shared by current members of the Georgia Tech defensive staff.

"Charles Kelly will probably run meetings, Andy McCollum will coach inside linebackers, Dave Walkosky will coach the defensive line, Joe Speed will coach the outside linebackers."

Johnson, who primarily focuses on the offensive side of the ball, said that he will set some "parameters" and "framework" for the group when asked about his involvement. He did not seem concerned with the group's ability to finish the season, pointing out that "they've all been coordinators before."

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