Head Coach Paul Johnson will look in on the defensive gameplanning more this week
Head Coach Paul Johnson sat down to talk with the media for his weekly press conference
Missed tackles and four turnovers not a recipe for success
Here's a numerical look at today's Coastal Division battle
Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. Saturday on the Regional Sports Networks
Georgia Tech vs Virginia - AP Photo Gallery
Al Groh, who enjoyed success as a head coach on both the collegiate and NFL levels for many years, embarks on his third season at Georgia Tech as the Yellow Jackets' defensive coordinator.
In 2011, Groh's second year on the Flats, Tech improved its national ranking in every defensive category. The Yellow Jackets ranked second in the ACC and 28th nationally in pass defense and recorded 14 interceptions (six more than the previous season). Tech held eventual ACC champion Clemson to just 95 yards rushing and forced four Tiger turnovers.
In his first season at Georgia Tech in 2010, Groh overhauled the Yellow Jacket defense, installing the 3-4 scheme. Tech made significant improvement in its pass defense from the previous season and the defense played major roles in narrow road victories at North Carolina and Wake Forest.
Groh's first defensive unit at Tech was a youthful bunch, illustrated by four true freshmen who saw significant action.
Groh came to the Flats after serving nine seasons as head coach at Virginia, where he not only made the Cavaliers competitive on the national stage, but helped completely change the environment and culture surrounding the football program in Charlottesville.
Groh earned coach of the year honors in three of his nine years at Virginia. He was named the ACC Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2007 and the American Football Coaches Association's Regional Coach of the Year in 2004.
After taking over the Virginia program in 2001, the Cavaliers won 59 games and appeared in five bowl games. Groh guided the 2007 squad to a 9-4 record and a berth in the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl while earning ACC Coach of the Year laurels for the second time in his career. In 2008 the list of players to earn All-ACC honors under Groh grew to 53, including first-team selections by tackle Eugene Monroe and tight end John Phillips. Monroe became the second Cavalier during Groh's tenure to receive the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the ACC's top lineman, joining two-time winner Elton Brown. He and Clint Sintim were named to various All-America teams, becoming the 10th and 11th Cavaliers to earn that distinction under Groh.
The 2007 season marked the fifth time during his first seven years on Grounds that Groh led UVa to a bowl game. During that span his teams came away victorious three times, including a dramatic 34-31 win against Minnesota in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl in 2005. In 2007 Chris Long became the program's third unanimous All-American, the Ted Hendricks Award winner, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and later went on to be taken second overall in the NFL Draft, joining offensive guard Branden Albert as a first-round pick.
When he was named the program's head coach on Dec. 30, 2000, Groh traded in a high-profile NFL head-coaching job with the New York Jets for an opportunity to return to Virginia. He succeeded George Welsh, who retired after 19 seasons at the helm of the Cavaliers, as the winningest coach in ACC and school history.
In 2006 the youthful Cavaliers finished 5-7 overall with impressive wins over NC State and Miami. Four Cavaliers earned All-ACC accolades, including second-team honorees CB Marcus Hamilton and DE Chris Long. Freshmen DE Jeffrey Fitzgerald, OT Will Barker, and QB Jameel Sewell, who filled starting roles for the `Hoos, were named to The Sporting News' Freshman All-American team. Fitzgerald was also named to the Rivals.com first team Freshman All-America squad.
Virginia finished the 2005 regular season at 6-5, including upsets of No.4 Florida State and No. 24 Georgia Tech. That season also marked just the second time in the program's history that UVa received a bowl invitation in four consecutive seasons. Virginia concluded the 2004 season at 8-4 (5-3 ACC) and made its third consecutive bowl appearance. The Cavaliers led the ACC in rushing offense, total offense, first downs and third-down conversions, and set a school record with 34 rushing touchdowns. Groh was honored by his peers as the 2004 AFCA Regional Coach of the Year.
In 2003, the Cavaliers were nationally ranked all season and finished 23rd in the final Associated Press poll. Virginia finished 8-5 (4-4 ACC) and celebrated a return trip to the Continental Tire Bowl with a 23-16 win over Pittsburgh. With the victory, Virginia claimed consecutive bowl championships for just the second time in school history.
During his second season at the helm in 2002, Groh led the Cavaliers to a 9-5 overall record (6-2 ACC, tied for second), including a 48-22 triumph over No. 15 West Virginia in the Continental Tire Bowl. With the bowl victory, Virginia clinched its first season of nine-or-more wins since 1998 and the sixth in school history. UVa was ranked 22nd in the final Associated Press poll, the team's highest final ranking since 1998. Virginia was picked to finish eighth in the conference in the 2002 preseason.
Named the 2002 ACC Coach of Year, Groh became only the second coach in UVa history to lead the Cavaliers to a bowl game. At the same time, approximately two thirds of Virginia's 2002 roster was comprised of sophomores and either true or redshirt freshmen. A total of 14 true freshmen and eight redshirt freshmen saw action for the 2002 Cavaliers, with as many as 10 freshmen starting at times during the season. In addition to its bowl victory over West Virginia, Virginia claimed three other wins over ranked opponents in 2002. Among them were back-to-back victories over No. 22 NC State (14-9) and No. 18 Maryland (48-13) in November. The Cavaliers also defeated No. 22 South Carolina 34-21 earlier in the season. Following his first season at Virginia, Groh was chosen defensive head coach of the Gray team in the 64th Annual Blue-Gray All-Star Football Classic, held Dec. 25, 2001, in Montgomery, Ala.
He was named head coach of the New York Jets before the start of the 2000 season and led that franchise to a 9-7 record in his one year at the helm. During the season, the Jets staged the "Monday Night Miracle" by overcoming a 30-7 fourth-quarter deficit to beat Miami 40-37 in overtime.
Groh previously coached in two Super Bowls as an assistant under Bill Parcells, winning an NFL championship ring with the 1990 New York Giants in Super Bowl XXV and later going to Super Bowl XXXI with the 1996 New England Patriots. In addition to serving one season as the Jets' head coach, Groh coached the linebackers for the Jets under Parcells for three years, from 1997-99.
Groh moved with Parcells when Parcells resigned as head coach of the New England Patriots to take over as the Jets' head coach in 1997. During Groh's tenure at New England, where he served as defensive coordinator, the Patriots' defense improved yearly in nearly every category and ranked among the league's best in takeaways, yards allowed and points allowed. The Patriots finished with an 11-5 record in 1996, winning the AFC championship and playing the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI. Chris Slade, a former All-America linebacker at Virginia, was among the many defensive standouts whom Groh coached at New England.
Groh's other NFL coaching stops include one season as linebackers coach on Bill Belichick's staff with the Cleveland Browns (1992) and one season with the Atlanta Falcons (1987) as special teams and tight ends coach for Marion Campbell. He began his coaching career as an assistant football coach at Charlottesville's Albemarle High School in 1967. The following year, he moved to Tom Cahill's staff at Army where he was the defensive coach for the plebe squad and worked with Parcells for the first time in his career.
Groh returned to UVa in 1970 to serve as the head coach of the freshman team and as the defensive line coach through the 1972 season. From 1973-77, Groh served as an assistant at North Carolina where he coached Lawrence Taylor, whom he later coached with the Giants. He joined Parcells at Air Force in 1978 as defensive coordinator before moving to Texas Tech in 1980 and becoming head coach at Wake Forest in 1981. While at Wake Forest, Groh guided the program to only its second winning season in 13 years with a 6-5 record in 1984. During his tenure, the school produced one first-team All-American, 12 first-team All-ACC selections, 15 All-ACC academic selections, one ACC Rookie of the Year and one Jacobs Blocking Trophy recipient. Groh also helped develop 14 players who would later go on to play in the NFL, the most concentrated group of pro players produced in Demon Deacon history to that point.
Between his NFL coaching jobs with the Falcons and Giants, Groh served as offensive coordinator at South Carolina in 1988. A legendary example of Groh's ability to motivate and inspire his players occurred during the 1994 season at New England, where the Patriots had gotten off to a 3-6 start. Groh decided he would grab an old shovel from his garage and bring it to work the next day. He is known to have told the players: "See this shovel men? This is how we're going to get out of this thing. Everyone take a shovel, and you dig one shovelful at a time:' The Patriots didn't lose another game that regular season, reaching the playoffs for the first time under Parcells. Groh brought his shovel to every game, keeping it on the sidelines as a reminder of what it took to overcome adversity.
A 1967 graduate of UVa's McIntire School of Commerce, Groh was a member of the varsity football team from 1963-65, playing under Bill Elias and George Blackburn. He lettered at defensive end in 1965.He also lettered as a defenseman on the Cavalier lacrosse team.
Groh was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island. He attended Chaminade High School in Mineola, N.Y., where he was a standout athlete and earned All-Metropolitan honors in football.
His oldest son Mike was the starting quarterback at Virginia in 1994 and 1995. Groh and his wife, Anne, are the parents of two sons, Mike and Matthew, and a daughter, Ashley Anne.
Matthew played quarterback at Princeton and is a graduate of Virginia's School of Law. He is currently in the personnel department of the New England Patriots.
Mike was on Nick Saban's staff at Alabama in both 2009 and 2011 when the Crimson Tide won the national championship. In between, he coached the quarterbacks at Louisville in 2010. Mike played quarterback at Virginia and later served as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator for the Cavaliers.
The Grohs have two grandsons -- Cameron and Conner.
|2011||Georgia Tech||Defensive Coordinator|
|2010||Georgia Tech||Defensive Coordinator|
|2000||New York Jets||Head Coach|
|1999||New York Jets||Linebackers Coach|
|1998||New York Jets||Linebackers Coach|
|1997||New York Jets||Linebackers Coach|
|1996||New England Patriots||Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach|
|1995||New England Patriots||Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach|
|1994||New England Patriots||Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach|
|1993||New England Patriots||Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach|
|1992||Cleveland Browns||Linebackers Coach|
|1991||New York Giants||Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach|
|1990||New York Giants||Linebackers Coach|
|1989||New York Giants||Linebackers Coach|
|1988||South Carolina||Offensive Coordinator|
|1987||Atlanta Falcons||Special Teams and Tight Ends Coach|
|1986||Wake Forest||Head Coach|
|1985||Wake Forest||Head Coach|
|1984||Wake Forest||Head Coach|
|1983||Wake Forest||Head Coach|
|1982||Wake Forest||Head Coach|
|1981||Wake Forest||Head Coach|
|1980||Texas Tech||Linebackers Coach|
|1979||Air Force||Defensive Coordinator|
|1978||Air Force||Defensive Coordinator|
|1977||North Carolina||Linebackers Coach|
|1976||North Carolina||Linebackers Coach|
|1975||North Carolina||Linebackers Coach|
|1974||North Carolina||Linebackers Coach|
|1973||North Carolina||Linebackers Coach|
|1972||Virginia||Defensive Line Coach|
|1971||Virginia||Defensive Line Coach|
|1970||Virginia||Head Freshmen Coach|
|1969||US Military Academy||Defensive Coach for Plebe Team (Freshmen)|
|1968||US Military Academy||Defensive Coach for Plebe Team (Freshmen)|
|1967||Albemarle(Va.) High School||Assistant Coach|
|Mike, Ashley Anne, Matt|