Groh Doing it All on Defense

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Al Groh is doing a little of everything on defense.

How are the Cavaliers preparing for the Music City Bowl without either of their coordinators? Well, not surprisingly, Al Groh has heaped more of the workload on himself. With a smile on his face today, he referred to himself as the team’s new defensive coordinator, linebackers coach and defensive backs coach. He’ll make the defensive calls in the bowl game. “Not by genius, but by default,” he joked.

Virginia has been short-staffed this month following the departures of offensive coordinator Ron Prince, defensive coordinator Al Golden, associate head coach Danny Rocco and special teams coordinator Mark D’Onofrio. Golden also coached the secondary, while Rocco and D’Onofrio coached the linebackers. Graduate assistant coach Chad Wilt has helped with the defensive backs in Golden’s absence. And while Rocco and D’Onofrio have returned recently to help with bowl preparations, Groh has taken on a much bigger role with the defense.

“There seems to be the best compatibility we’ve had yet between our secondary coach and our linebacker coach – actually, both our inside and outside linebacker coach – they get along very well,” Groh said, smiling. “They seem to do everything exactly the way the defensive coordinator wants them to, which is very pleasing to the head coach.”

Groh, of course, is handling all of those jobs, so his hands are too full to carry a similar load on offense. To compensate for the loss of Prince, who also coached the offensive line, graduate assistant Bill Polin is coaching the linemen. All of the offensive assistants are helping put together a gameplan for Minnesota, but Groh said he hasn’t decided who will call plays on Dec. 30 in Nashville. One thing’s for sure, though: Groh won’t be doing it.

“I can’t call ’em on both sides this game,” he said. “Tom Landry used to, but I don’t quite put myself in that category.”