Penn State defensive coordinator heads to Georgia Tech

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Two days after Penn State coach Bill O'Brien declared his intentions to make sure his staff of assistant coaches was taken care of financially, his defensive coordinator, Ted Roof, left for Georgia Tech.

Wednesday evening, Georgia Tech announced that Roof would become the Yellowjackets' defensive coordinator. Penn State announced that secondary coach John Butler was promoted to defensive coordinator, taking Roof's spot.

"John did an outstanding job with the secondary this past season and brings tremendous experience, energy and a passion for tenacious defense to the field and in the meeting room," O'Brien said in a statement.

Roof, a 1985 Georgia Tech graduate, was previously the defensive coordinator for Georgia Tech from 1999-2001, working with O'Brien there. After a mediocre start to the season, particularly with defending third downs, the Penn State defense turned into one of the best in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions allowed 19.1 points per game, second best in the conference. Roof's defense featured All Big Ten first team performers linebacker Michael Mauti and defensive tackle Jordan Hill, as well as defensive freshman of the year defensive end Deion Barnes.

Before coming to Penn State, Butler coached at South Carolina as the special teams coordinator in 2011. He coached the special teams and linebackers at Minnesota from 2007 to 2010. Penn State's passing defense ranked eighth in the Big Ten, allowing 226.2 yards per game.

On Monday, in addition to stressing the need to support his assistants and to keep the staff intact, O'Brien also said he expected offers to come for his assistants, just not this quickly.

"Number one, it's very important to keep your staff intact, but you have to be careful there, too" he said. "Because I think it's important for these guys if they want to move up the ladder. And so you've got some fantastic coaches on our staff that are going to have chances probably maybe not this year, but maybe other years of being coordinators are even head coaches."

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Mark Dent: mdent@post-gazette.com, Twitter @mdent05.


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