The 2012 Sun Bowl will be the final audition for interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly. Georgia Tech fired Al Groh six games into the 2012 season and promoted Kelly, who had previously served as secondary coach.
After seven regular-season games at the helm, the Sun Bowl is Kelly's final chance to prove himself a worthy hire. The Yellow Jackets will face a tough test in the USC Trojans, who boast one of the nation's strongest passing attacks. Wide receiver Marqise Lee might be the best pass catcher in college football.
When asked to compare Kelly's defense to that of Groh, head coach Paul Johnson declared, "For sure, it's better than it was."
But as Ken Sugiura suggests, the statistics do not necessarily reflect a radical improvement. The defense went from allowing 30.2 points per game under Groh to 29.7 under Kelly. Still, Kelly may have faced a more challenging schedule during his seven games.
While Kelly might not have dramatically improved the Tech defense, the Sun Bowl represents an excellent opportunity for the interim coordinator to earn a permanent position.