In the past week, the coaching staff at Penn State has been turned over to a degree never before seen at the school. Now that the dust has finally settled, we're going to take a look at all the new members of Bill O'Brien's coaching staff. Continuing on today, we direct our attention towards the new defensive coordinator, Ted Roof.
For our purposes, the relevant portion of Roof's coaching career began at Georgia Tech in 1998 as linebackers coach. He was promoted to defensive coordinator one year later, and served as coordinator in Atlanta for three seasons before going to Duke in 2002 as defensive coordinator. He became the head coach one season later, and in 4+ seasons compiled a record of 6-45. Included in those 45 losses were 22 in a row. To be fair, losing and losing badly at Duke is not a problem specific to Roof.
After his dismissal from Duke, Roof went on to Minnesota as defensive coordinator. In 2007, the season before Roof arrived in the Twin Cities, the Gophers were last (119th) in Division I-A in total defense and 109th in scoring defense. In 2008, Minnesota jumped to 81st in total defense and 61st in scoring defense. Those numbers still aren't great, but any time a team jumps 40+ spots like that, clearly somebody was doing something right. The Gophers were also 23rd in both sacks and tackles for a loss.
In 2009, Roof left Minnesota to become the defensive coordinator at Auburn. I'll allow the numbers to tell the story (The numbers in parentheses indicate national rank):
|Year||Total Def.||Rush Def.||Pass Def.||Scoring Def.||Sacks||TFL|
|2009||374.4 yds/gm (68)||156.4 yds/gm (78)||218 yds/gm (58)||27.5 (76)||28 (40)||77 (45)|
|2010||368.4 yds/gm (60)||109.1 yds/gm (9)||259.3 yds/gm (108)||24.1 (53)||35 (13)||99 (6)|
|2011||408 yds/gm (80)||189.2 yds/gm (94)||218.8 yds/gm (51)||28.9 (78)||22 (75)||74 (56)|
Needless to say, most of those aren't numbers Penn State fans are used to seeing, or would like to see.
Roof's defenses play out of a base 4-3, so there won't be much adjustment there, personnel-wise. The big adjustment will be in coverage, as we'll be seeing a mix of man coverage, Cover Two, and Cover Two man. The scheme will allow defensive backs to be in position to force turnovers and make plays more often, but will leave them more open to allowing a big play. With the corners more exposed, the defense will become even more dependent on the front seven getting pressure.
Consider all that, and then consider that defensive back will be by far the thinnest defensive position group next season. Fingers crossed that Armani Reeves still comes to Penn State.