Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson fired another defensive coordinator Monday, releasing Al Groh, the former Virginia head coach and long-time NFL defensive assistant, the man he hired to replace current Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack. Here’s Jeff Schultz from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Johnson’s parting of ways with Wommack shortly after the 2009 season.
Here’s an excerpt from today’s AJC coverage of Groh’s firing: Wommack was fired after the defense ranked 54th in yards allowed and 56th in scoring in FBS. Under Groh, Tech finished roughly the same in his first two seasons before plunging to 90th in yards and 89th in scoring this season.
And here’s the link to the story: Groh gone
Currently the Rebels are No. 64 against the run, 84 in pass defense efficiency, 56 in total defense and 73 in scoring defense. The Rebels finished 2011 ranked No. 112 against the run, 83 in pass defensive efficiency, 90 in total (yards allowed) and 96 in scoring.
Amid the talk of wilderness and issues with talent and depth, there’s been a sense of the need for patience with this team on both sides of the ball, particularly defense.
Through six games there seems to have been growth. The Rebels gave up almost 700 yards and 66 points in a 35-point loss to Texas. They were much better against Alabama two weeks later, allowing just 305 yards and forcing Alabama to kick four field goals. The Tide scoring two passing touchdowns, no rushing touchdowns in a 33-14 win.
There was a mixed bag of results against Texas A&M. Sometimes they got to Johnny Manziel, sometimes they didn’t, and sometimes, they gave up big plays … like a 59-yard touchdown run to Ben Malena early in the game and a 32-yard pass on third-and-19 when the Aggies were backed up inside their 5 late in the game, a play that helped A&M cover 99 yards in four plays.
There are lots of freshmen playing for Ole Miss. One of them, defensive back Mike Hilton, turned up big in his first start last week. Another, Channing Ward, the team’s most notable signee, has seen his playing time reduced in recent weeks. It’s worth nothing that Ward was late getting cleared and not with the team for off-season or camp.
So far this season the Rebels have amassed 17 sacks compared to 13 all of last season. They’ve totaled 46 tackles for loss through six games compared to 57 for last season and seven interceptions compared to last year’s 10.
Another connection of interest here. Ole Miss is currently under contract for two upcoming football games with Georgia Tech but will try to get out of those games, AD Ross Bjork said last week. Bjork thinks Paul Johnson’s offense is a bad match-up, and he also wants to see the lay of the land with the new playoff system and ultimately help Ole Miss devise a schedule most conducive to bowl-eligibility.