A pair of reports from Rivals’ Kelly Quinlan and the AJC’s Ken Sugiura have confirmed that defensive line coach Mike Pelton, who was hired alongside Ted Roof back in 2013, will not be retained. Quinlan first broke the news in the Tweet below.
#GaTech DL coach Mike Pelton is out at GT, expect Mark Ivey from App State may replace him based on what I've heard.— Kelly Quinlan (@Kelly_Quinlan) January 4, 2018
The writing was on the wall for Pelton, whose lack of experience coaching a 3-4 scheme and the general shortcomings of his defensive line unit over the past five years made him a likely candidate to be relieved of his duties. Once an assistant at Auburn under then-head coach Gene Chizik, Pelton was regarded as a strong coach and recruiter for the Tigers. That unfortunately never seemed to translate to Tech.
Though the Tweet above indicates that Pelton’s replacement will be Appalachian State assistant Mark Ivey, Quinlan later noted that the search has shifted towards finding a veteran coach to fill the role.
Hearing a veteran name and not Mark Ivey likely to come to Gt as DL coach. Life moves fast.— Kelly Quinlan (@Kelly_Quinlan) January 5, 2018
This could be good or bad news depending on how you interpret it. It seems apparent that new defensive coordinator Nate Woody has plenty of autonomy over defensive staffing decisions, so it could be that Ivey either balked at the offer or that Woody simply wants to go in a different direction. It is worth noting that many of his Appalachian State assistants who could end up on the Flats are very young and relatively inexperienced, Ivey included, so searching for a veteran presence to coach the defensive line could be a smart move when it’s all said and done.
Thanks to coach Pelton for all he’s done during his tenure at Tech and best of luck in the future to a man who, by all accounts, is an exceptional person. In the meantime, we’ll keep you updated on the search for a new defensive line coach.