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Roof leaves Penn State for Georgia Tech; Lions' Butler promoted

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer
Ted Roof is headed back to Georgia Tech. (US Presswire)

Ted Roof has been well-traveled as a defensive coordinator since being fired as Duke's head coach in 2007, but he's no doubt hoping his most recent move -- one that takes him back home to his alma mater -- will be his last for a while.

Penn State official Jeff Nelson confirmed on Twitter Wednesday that Roof has left State College after one season as the Nittany Lions' defensive coordinator to take the same position at Georgia Tech. A native of the greater Atlanta area, Roof played linebacker for the Yellow Jackets in the early 1980s before serving as Tech's defensive coordinator under George O'Leary from 1999 to 2001.

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

Nelson also announced that Roof's position would be filled from within. Bill O'Brien will promote Nittany Lions secondary coach John Butler to the coordinator's role. Butler joined O'Brien's staff in 2012 after a year coaching special teams and the "spur" position at South Carolina. A former Minnesota defensive assistant who coached alongside Roof under Tim Brewster, Butler has never before served as a coordinator.

That Minnesota job was just the first of many for Roof since leaving Raleigh. Roof left Minneapolis to join Gene Chizik at Auburn in 2009, then departed after the 2011 season, first to rejoin O'Leary at UCF and then to Penn State later that same offseason. \

Though Roof's reputation took a hit at Auburn thanks to the Tigers' routine struggles on his watch -- even in winning a national championship, the Tigers gave up more points than any BCS champion before or since -- his only season at Penn State was an unqualified success, with the Lions overcoming some early wobbles to finish 16th in the FBS in points allowed.

Johnson will hope Roof can reprise that success in his old stomping grounds after firing previous coordinator Al Groh midseason in the wake of 49-28 and 47-31 losses Middle Tennessee State and Clemson, respectively. The Jackets finished the season 65th in scoring defense, with Groh later calling the "environment" surrounding the Yellow Jackets program "unprofessional, divisive and negative."

For more college football news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCFB on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed, college football newsletter, and get the Eye On College Football Podcast from iTunes. You can follow Jerry Hinnen on Twitter here: @JerryHinnen.

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