After Geoff Collins was fired, many (myself included) expected defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker to be heading out the door with him. To everyone’s surprise, not only was Thacker retained for the rest of the season, but he was retained under new head coach Brent Key.
- 2008 - 2009: UCF (Graduate Assistant, Linebackers)
- 2010 - 2012: Oklahoma State (Graduate Assistant, Linebackers)
- 2013: Southern Miss (Safeties)
- 2014: Atlanta Falcons (Defensive Assistant)
- 2015: UCF (Safeties)
- 2016: Kennesaw State (Linebackers)
- 2017: Temple (Linebackers)
- 2018: Temple (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
- 2019 - 2021: Georgia Tech (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
- 2022: Georgia Tech (Defensive Coordinator)
The first part of Thacker’s tenure at Georgia Tech was nothing short of an unmitigated disaster.
In the first three years, Georgia Tech’s defense underwent a strange transformation. In Year 1, Tech’s defense was average against the pass, but pretty rough against the run. 2020 was fine on both sides. In 2021, it’s the complete inverse of 2019: solid against the run but rough against the pass and ABYSMAL overall stats.
Following the 2021 season, Thacker’s role on defense was reduced. Up to that point, he was over linebackers in addition to his responsibilities as DC. Jason Semore was hired to coach the linebacker. Somehow, Georgia Tech’s defense once again made a pretty significant shift and was easily the best defense Tech has had under Thacker. Tech’s defense ranked Top 40 in EPA (overall, per play, and per game).
So what changed? Was it just the addition of Jason Semore or Travarres Tillman? The subtraction of Geoff Collins? Truthfully, I don’t have the answer, but something changed, and it was enough for Brent Key to give Thacker another shot with this defense, albeit with the help of Kevin Sherrer (who we’ll talk more about tomorrow).
Time will tell if it was the right decision, but if he can duplicate and improve upon what he did last season, Georgia Tech’s defense will continue to improve.
What are you expecting out of Georgia Tech’s defense this season?