In a defensive slump that’s almost unprecedented in program history, Georgia Tech football coach Paul Johnson said on Tuesday that he believes in his staff.
“I have enough confidence in my guys on defense to try to let them coach,” he said.
The Yellow Jackets have given up more than 80 points and almost 1,200 yards in its past two games — a win over Duke and a loss to North Carolina — and have this season shown an inability to stop opponents on third down (52 percent, last in FBS) or to create big plays (an ACC-worst eight sacks and nine turnovers forced). Tech (5-4) will play at Virginia Tech on Saturday.
Johnson said the players understand what coordinator Ted Roof is asking them to do. Unlike under a previous coordinator that Johnson didn’t name, the players aren’t coming to him to ask for help.
“I don’t think we are having those problems,” Johnson said. “We just have to play better.”
Tech is allowing averages of 26.2 points and 405.4 yards per game this season and is No. 64 in total defense in FBS. The team ranked No. 42 in that category in 2015, No. 79 in 2014 when it won the Orange Bowl, and No. 27 in 2013 in Roof’s first season. He replaced Al Groh, who was fired during the 2012 season.
Roof said on Monday that he takes responsibility for the this season’s issues and is working to improve the various deficiencies.
Though Johnson has asked for the calls and schemes to be simplified, he said he isn’t going to tell Roof or the assistants what to do.
“I hire guys to coach defense and treat them the way I would want to be treated,” he said. “At the end you evaluate what happens, just like you would do with anything.”
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