In a surprising turn of events, Georgia Tech has fired its defensive coordinator Al Groh.
The final straw seemed to come after the Yellow Jackets 47-31 loss to the Clemson Tigers. He will be succeeded by secondary coach Charles Kelly on an interim basis. Head coach Paul Johnson claims that this change in the coaching staff was made to help salvage the rest of the season.
After starting the season 2-1, the Yellow Jackets lost the following three straight games where they have given up an average of 46 points a game in those defeats. This included a devastating 49-28 loss to Middle Tennessee State.
In a recently released statement on the firing, Groh said,
“The Institute has decided to go in a different direction, which I respect. I appreciate all the help and input from (assistant defensive coaches) Charles Kelly, Joe Speed and Andy McCollum, and the effort of all the players. I aimed to give the best that I had every day. It’s been an honor to be a part of the legacy of Georgia Tech football. I feel positive that this is a good time in life to move on to a new situation.”
The last few years haven’t been kind to the former Bill Parcells’ protégé. In 2009, Groh was fired after eight seasons as head coach of the University of Virginia. The following season he became the defensive coordinator for Paul Johnson at former rival Georgia Tech.
It’s been a rough season, so far, for the Yellow Jackets. The ACC as a conference has left a lot to be desired this year. Other than Florida State and Clemson, this conference is easily one of the worst in the country.
Still, for a team that was just left out of the pre-season top 25 in the coaches poll, the administration and program had higher expectations than what has been delivered. Time will tell whether or not the firing of Groh was a prescient move for the rest of the season.