Roof might be next Georgia Tech defensive coordinator to fall

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson reacts at the end of the fourth quarter of a 38-7 loss against Georgia on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson reacts at the end of the fourth quarter of a 38-7 loss against Georgia on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Credit: Hyosub Shin

Credit: Hyosub Shin

As Paul Johnson left the field at halftime Saturday, with a last-minute Georgia field goal drive still fresh in his mind, he stopped for a radio interview with the school’s broadcast partner.

“I tried to run the clock all the way down. I guess 40 seconds was too long,” he told Wiley Ballard of the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network.

Take that as a subtle shot at defensive coordinator Ted Roof.

Or maybe not so subtle.

It's easy to understand Johnson's frustration. Even if one field goal obviously was not the difference in a 38-7 loss to Georgia Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium, the Jackets had scored a touchdown with 48 seconds remaining in the half to cut Georgia's lead to 14-7 and Johnson had his offense bleed as much time off the clock as possible.

But the Bulldogs’ offense got the ball back with 42 seconds remaining after a kickoff return to the Georgia 30 and drove 50 yards in only four plays, including a 23-yard pass from Jake Fromm to Javon Wims. Fromm then spiked the ball to stop the clock to set up a 37-yard field goal.

Georgia scored three touchdowns in the second half -- and that might have ended Roof’s tenure at Tech. He is in his fifth season under Johnson and the Jackets did not make progress, despite a starting defense with six seniors and five juniors.

The level of talent on Tech’s defensive side of the ball can always be questioned. But there’s no excuse for poor tackling and a consistently anemic pass rush.

Better defense might have enabled Tech to win its season opener against Tennessee (lost 42-41 in double overtime), Miami, Virginia.

Roof has lasted longer than his two predecessors as Johnson’s defensive coordinator: David Wommack made it through only two seasons and Al Groh for 2-1/2. (Charles Kelly, the interim replacement for Groh, finished the 2012 season after Groh’s firing and could have stayed but left for Florida State after the season.)

Johnson was evasive in the postgame when asked about Roof. Via Ken Sugiura : "I think Ted Roof's coached a long time. He's a good football coach. He's coached at places that have won a lot of games. Just like everything else, we'll look at it all and evaluate it. We didn't exactly set the woods on fire on offense in the second half."

Just their own team.

EARLIER: Georgia learned from its loss, capable of winning SEC title (and more)

EARLIER: Short takes: Senior, Jake Fromm give Georgia title hopes

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