Explaining Jackets’ change this spring in teaching the defense

Georgia Tech safety Lawrence Austin (20) intercepts a pass in the endzone in front of Virginia Tech receiver Travon McMillian (34) during the first half of an NCAA football game in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, Nov. 12 2016. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)

For Georgia Tech’s defense, the 2016 season turned after the disastrous North Carolina game, when the Tar Heels demolished the Yellow Jackets in a 48-20 thrashing. After one of the poorest defensive performances in school history, Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof cut down the playbook to ensure his unit had calls and concepts that it was confident of executing.

“It was real basic stuff that we learned Day 1,” former Tech defensive end Rod Rook-Chungong said.

After the change, the Jackets played their best defense of the season as they defeated Virginia Tech, Virginia, Georgia and Kentucky to finish 9-4. This spring, with eight starters back, the temptation might have been to build on that momentum by adding more to the playbook. Instead, Roof has dialed back and kept it simple. The hope is that more will be less.

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