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It’s time to talk about one of the more divisive subjects surrounding Georgia Tech Football

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

(Author’s note: For those out of the loop, discussions of Ted Roof this year have caused a lot of consternation among fans. Not just here, but at pretty much every site that discusses Tech football. So I wrote about it a bit here)

Seven. I have publicly advocated for Ted Roof’s firing seven times, at least on Twitter. My favorite instance was during the UNC game last year:

This is now the second time I’ve posted that tweet in an article, so perhaps it should be the last. I’ve been a loud Roof critic for the last couple years. Those of you who read my “Little Big Plays” segment last year know all about it. I referenced countless reasons for my displeasure. Playing the safeties too deep, Bailing into zones that were behind the sticks on 3rd down, Stale blitz packages, personnel usage, near-league-worst havoc rate..... I could keep going. Roof had been a constant during his 4 seasons. He was who he was. Changes were rarely made to the system outside of “simplifications.” There was little reason to believe things would change this year, but they have. Or have they?

“There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, 'Fool me once, shame on…shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.” - George W. Bush

There has been a different feel to the Tech defense over the last 2.5 games. The numbers certainly speak for themselves, but there is more to it than that alone. There is more fire and aggression to this unit than previous editions of the defense, and Roof’s calls have been at the center of it. Coverage is tighter across the board, pressure is getting home, risks are being taken, safeties are no longer way out of the play. Against UNC, Roof blitzed the corner for a sack, risking a big play down the sideline for the chance to stymie a drive that had ventured into Tech territory. AJ Gray has become a force now that he is actually involved in coverage and the run game. The two most effective pass rushers are now getting the majority of the snaps at DE. The stats, both advanced and not, have improved dramatically. That’s great, because I was about to throw my TV out the window after this play:

We’ve been here before, however. In the opening 3 games of last season, Tech gave up 16, 10, and 7 points. The numbers looked great, until they didn’t. More talented offenses torched Tech, and the gnashing of teeth started anew.

The competition only gets stiffer, by quite a lot, from here. Will Ted stick with it, or will it be a flash in the pan? How much of this is driven by CPJ’s direction, and how much is Roof himself?

“Only the Sith deal in absolutes” - Thomas Jefferson

It’s true that Tech couldn’t have performed much better than it did against Pitt and UNC from a scoring defense perspective. That doesn’t mean that all is perfect. Far from it. Don’t take my word for it, listen to Paul Johnson’s comments during this week’s radio show. He’ll tell you all about it.

There are stats to love and stats to hate about the defense’s performance thus far. Efficiency metrics are way up from last year, and the Jackets haven’t been giving up explosive plays as per usual. But the defense isn’t stuffing the run well and has been rather mediocre outside of obvious passing situations. Mediocre is an improvement over last year’s numbers, however, and the improvement in passing downs as been astronomical. Havoc rate is up as well, to right around FBS average. To be honest, I’ll take it. (Almost)Every defense is a blend of good and bad. Determining which red flags are manageable and which will be limiting is a huge part of why we do analysis as bloggers.

“You can’t trust everything you read on the internet” - Abraham Lincoln

I like the community we have built at FTRS. Too often websites devolve into dumpster fires such as Tigernet and Stingtalk. Honesty and transparency from those who run the community is tantamount to that community’s ongoing stability and sanity. There is no narrative pushing going on here, at least not intentionally. I don’t actually want to replace the defensive coordinator with a potato. When I accepted the football editor role here, I tried to cram as many puns into the titles of the features I wanted to run as possible, so don’t read anything more into it than that. And no, I will not run the Johnson Inspection Report. That is never going to happen while I work at this here website. By writing this, I hope I’ve helped clear things up about where the staff stands, or at least where I stand.

I certainly understand the feeling that criticism of Roof is unwarranted given the results, but there is a limited sample size here, and there is a lot of good mixed in with some bad. It’s a lot to sort through. Until the dust settles, myself and many of the staff members will remain skeptical of Roof as a coach long term.