While he may not bring more wins than former head football coach Carl Franks, interim head football coach Ted Roof has already brought more intensity.
"He's a fiery individual," cornerback Kenneth Stanford said. "He's an in-your-face kind of guy. A great dude. You can tell he cares about us."
But in his first two press conferences, Roof has appeared as a very calm, pleasant individual. How can these two descriptions describe the same man?
Senior running back Chris Douglas explains.
"He's kind of got a quiet, but aggressive demeanor about him," he said. "Like when you're mom gives you that look. It's real subtle, but it means a whole lot."
Roof has used this subtle aggressiveness to much success in the ACC for the greater part of the past 20 years.
Duke's new coach started his ACC career as a linebacker for Georgia Tech, where he lettered four times between 1982 and 1985. Roof started his final three years in Atlanta, and was the captain of the famed "Black Watch" defense that led Georgia Tech to a 9-2-1 record and an All-American Bowl victory in 1985. The conference named Roof first team All-ACC in 1985.
Roof began his coaching career at Alabama as a graduate assistant, and he quickly moved up the coaching ranks to become linebackers coach at West Georgia in 1989. Roof left for Duke a year later to serve as outside linebackers coach for four years under Barry Wilson.
Upon Wilson's firing, Roof spent three years on the University of Massachusetts staff before spending a season at Western Carolina.
Roof's career then brought him back to Georgia Tech, where the defensive specialist really made a name for himself.
In 1998, Roof was the linebackers coach for the 10-2 squad that shared the ACC title with Florida State and defeated Notre Dame at the Gator Bowl.
Roof was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1999, and in 2000 he put together perhaps his finest defense when Georgia Tech ranked 12th in the nation in rushing defense and 20th in scoring defense, allowing just 19 points per game.
After the 2001 season, it appeared Roof had climbed all the way to the top of the defensive coordinator ladder when he followed Georgia Tech head coach George O'Leary to run the defense in South Bend, Ind., at Notre Dame.
Days later, however, Notre Dame learned that O'Leary had lied on his resume and immediately fired O'Leary and his entire staff.
Duke was quick to offer Roof a chance to return to Durham, and the southern gentleman accepted the offer.
The Duke defense immediately improved under Roof's tutelage, leading the ACC in rushing defense in 2002.
This year, like the rest of the team, the defense has regressed from a year ago, but the athletic staff still felt Roof had the leadership and coaching skills to be named Franks' replacement upon his firing Sunday.
"I am pleased to give Ted Roof the opportunity to be the head coach," Athletic Director Joe Alleva said when he promoted Roof Sunday. "I think Ted's very passionate, very enthusiastic--some of the things I think our team hasn't shown this year."
Though Roof takes some of the blame for Franks' firing, he is determined to turn the season around starting with this week's game against N.C. State.
"I think if I personally--and I think all of our players--did a better job then it wouldn't come to this," Roof said. "But our jobs as football coaches is to focus on N.C. State, and that's all we need to focus on."
Roof will be dealing directly with the offense for the first time in his first stint as a head coach of anything (he joked that his highest position before his promotion was first assistant of his five-year-old twins' Little League team), but he seems to already have respect from players on both sides of the ball.
"I really didn't have too much interaction [with] him," Douglas said. "I do know he demands a lot from his athletes. I think that shows in how he got our defense to turn around when he first got here. I think [Roof] was a big reason we were so competitive last year."
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