Secondary coach Charles Kelly will take over as interim coordinator, and Johnson shook up the rest of the defensive staff. Specials teams coordinator David Walkosky will oversee the line, Andy McCollum shifts from the line to inside linebackers, and Joe Speed moves from inside to outside linebackers.
Their orders are clear.
"My big goal is to simplify and see if we can't get lined up and play faster, play harder," Johnson said. "I don't think you've got to trick people. You've got to line up and know what you're doing and play fast."
Groh installed the 3-4 when he got to Georgia Tech, but it was clear the players never fully picked up the scheme. Also, there was a difference in philosophy with Johnson, who felt Groh didn't do enough full-speed work in practice.
"To me, defense is energy and playing fast and playing with enthusiasm," Johnson said. "It's hard to get that if you don't go live (full-speed drills) some of the time."
While Johnson's focus has been on running the option offense, he believes the Yellow Jackets have plenty of talent on the defensive side. But the 3-4 seemed ill-suited to a school that has trouble recruiting the sort of dominant defensive tackles that are needed to make it work.
"I'm not sold that we don't have good players," Johnson said. "I'm very confident in our players' ability. We'll see."
He praised Groh's defensive knowledge, but said he was never able to pass it on to his players.
"Al is very smart man. He understands what's inside his head," Johnson said. "The problem is we weren't seeing it on the field. For whatever reason, it wasn't transcending."
That left Johnson with only one option: make a change.
He decided not to wait.