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Georgia Tech Football: Ted Roof is gone, now what?

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Here is a continually expanding list of potential candidates to be Georgia Tech’s new defensive coordinator!

Georgia Tech v Virginia Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

If you have somehow missed the news, Ted Roof is officially gone! With Roof off to NC State, we now have a coaching vacancy to fill. This article will continuously be updated as we hear of more potential names for this job.

Current Staff

Andy McCollum | Safeties/Recruiting Coordinator

Honestly, Andy McCollum is the only guy I would be comfortable promoting from the current staff. A few years ago, Mike Pelton could have been a guy to look at, but his work with Tech’s defensive line has been uninspiring for the most part. McCollum would be a solid hire; not sexy, but not horrible, just kind of safe.

McCollum has shown to be the staff’s best recruiter (and has more than earned his role as the Recruiting Coordinator) and has been flexible in moving around wherever he’s needed. And wherever he’s coached, that has definitely been a stronger position group. For instance, this year, McCollum coached the safeties, and while there were some games where AJ Gray and Corey Griffin were slightly limited scheme-wise, McCollum still had them both ready to play, and I thought that was one of the stronger position groups on defense this year.

My biggest complaint with a potential McCollum, like I stated above, is that it would be safe. I don’t believe Paul Johnson is currently in a situation where he can afford to make a safe hire here. He’s already had three shots to get this right, and I think he needs to take a bit more of a risk here.

Outside the Current Staff

Nate Woody | Appalachian State Defensive Coordinator

Football Scoop (a very reliable source for College Football rumors) reported shortly after the Roof announcement that Georgia Tech has interest in current App State DC Nate Woody.

Woody has been the DC at App State for five years now and has been pretty good while he’s been there, especially in the transition to FBS. Just a quick look at what he’s done. In 2016, the Mountaineers defense ranked first in the Sun Belt in Scoring Defense (9th nationally), Red Zone Defense (8th), Total Defense (17th), and was second in the league but sixth nationally with 20 interceptions. All of that sounds like exactly what Tech needs.

Wake Forest had some discussions to bring Woody in as their DC, but nothing ever happened there. Hopefully, that won’t be the case when Tech comes calling.

Charles Kelly | Florida State Defensive Coordinator

I personally don’t think it is super likely that Kelly winds up back at Georgia Tech as the defensive coordinator, but since it is being speculated about (and we also have a more detailed article about him coming out later this week), I figured I would give a little bit of background on him.

Kelly was last at Tech during the Al Groh debacle as the defensive backs coach before being promoted to interim Defensive Coordinator following Groh’s firing. After finishing the year strong, Kelly was hired away by Florida State to be its Special Teams Coordinator for a season before being reassigned to Defensive Coordinator where he has been since.

With Jimbo Fisher headed to Texas A&M and Willie Taggart replacing him at Florida State, Kelly’s status as Defensive Coordinator is kind of up in the air right now. Originally it was rumored that Taggart was going to try to lure Oregon DC Jim Leavitt to come to FSU, but after signing an extension with Oregon, that is no longer an option. Taggart may end up keeping Kelly around, meaning he likely wouldn’t be a candidate for the Tech job.

Pure Conjecture

In this last section, I just wanted to include some names that probably won’t happen, but would still be really fun to see.

Bret Bielema | Unemployed

Bielema is the former Head Coach at Arkansas, but before that giant mess, he ran a very successful defense in Wisconsin that ultimately got him his head coaching gig there. He hasn’t been hired as a head coach anywhere else, so he may consider moving back to the coordinator ranks.

In reality, Bielema is highly unlikely and, even if there was mutual interest, very much out of Tech’s presumed price range.

Bob Diaco | Unemployed

He was most recently Nebraska’s defensive coordinator, but after they cleaned house, Diaco is left without a job. Diaco is both young (44) and super experienced (seven years as a defensive coordinator). He is most well-known for his work as the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame.

At Tech, he would bring a very solid recruiter and another option with past head coaching experience.

Jon Tenuta | Cincinnati Defensive Backs Coach

Don’t worry, I’m only mostly kidding. Tenuta has a good deal of experience as a defensive coordinator and is also Tech’s most recent example of a good defensive coordinator. Things didn’t exactly end well between Tech and Tenuta, so it’s pretty unlikely he’d entertain the offer. He also just signed that contract with Cincinnati.

Be sure to check back here as we add more names! Who do you think Tech should hire?