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Penn State notebook: O'Brien promotes Butler to defensive coordinator

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By Scott Brown
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 5:22 p.m.
 

Bill O'Brien moved quickly to fill the first major opening on his staff, promoting secondary coach John Butler to defensive coordinator Wednesday, the same day Ted Roof resigned to take the same position at Georgia Tech.

Roof, whose return to his alma mater becomes official after Georgia Tech conducts a background check, leaves Penn State after just one season. Penn State thrived under Roof's attacking schemes and multiple looks in 2012. The Nittany Lions led the Big Ten in sacks (34) and tied for second in scoring defense (19.1). They also finished first in the Big Ten after allowing opponents to score just 64.3 percent of the time after moving inside Penn State's 20-yard line.

The fiery Butler coached the defensive backs and oversaw special teams last season. The secondary was considered a potential weakness heading into 2012, but the group improved dramatically following Penn State's 0-2 start.

“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. “John quickly developed a great relationship with all our players on defense and special teams, and his ability to teach and relate to the players on and off the field will greatly assist in making this an easy transition.”

Roof's departure adds more uncertainty to a defense that must replace stalwarts such as outside linebackers Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges, defensive tackle Jordan Hill and cornerback Stephon Morris.

In addition to running the defense, Roof also helped Penn State increase its exposure to potential recruits in southern states such as Florida and his native Georgia.

The well-traveled Roof will coach for the second time at Georgia Tech, where he was an All-ACC linebacker in the 1980s. He worked at Georgia Tech from 1998-2001, serving as the defensive coordinator for the final three seasons.

Linebacker leaves team

Penn State linebacker Brennan Franklin left the team for personal reasons, the school announced.

Brennan didn't play as a freshman, and the 5-foot-11, 220-pounder was the first recruit to commit to Penn State after the NCAA levied sanctions against the program.

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