Ted Roof speeds up teaching pace

Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof is looking for leaders in his unit. (Danny Karnik/GTAA)

Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof slowed his teaching pace in the spring based on the success that his unit had in the final four games of the season. In those games, Roof kept the game plans simple, limiting them to calls that players were comfortable with and able to execute.

In preseason practice, though, Roof has dialed the speed back up. After Tuesday’s practice, the fifth of the preseason, Roof said, coaches had taught enough of the defense to be able to play a game, save specialty situations like short-yardage or one-minute defense.

“I changed it up a little bit this camp to a whole-part-whole method, and I think we’re ahead of it because of that,” Roof said.

Whole-part-whole refers to a teaching method in which a skill or concept or, in this case, a football scheme, is taught as a whole, then broken into smaller parts and then taught as a whole again. Roof said that having eight returning starters as well as a number of experienced backups prompted the increase in pace, as did those veterans’ efforts to teach the defense to freshmen over the summer.

“And as a result of that, we were ready to go, and also, I wanted to see what the younger kids could handle, what could they process,” Roof said.

Another motivation, Roof said, was the opener against Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game Sept. 4 in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It’s a difference of the spring as opposed to preseason, where the spring can be devoted to teaching whereas the necessity to prepare for the season looms over preseason practices.

“That’s why we went to this install pace faster,” he said.

Tech’s play was vastly improved over the final four games of last season after Roof made the change. For instance, Tech’s power-conference opponents averaged 6.7 yards per play before the change, and 5.1 after.

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