Penn State's new defensive coordinator, Ted Roof, is a longtime friend of head coach Bill O'Brien's who likes to play multiple, aggressive defenses and who helped Auburn win a national title in 2010.
Roof, 48, succeeds Tom Bradley, who had served as PSU's defensive coordinator from 2000 until becoming interim head coach in November. Bradley's coaching future remains unclear at this point.
Roof was the head coach at Duke from 2003-07 -- compiling a 6-45 record -- and his offensive coordinator in 2005 and '06 was O'Brien. The two also worked together at Georgia Tech from 1998-2001.
Sources confirmed to the Mirror on Monday that Roof will be joining O'Brien's staff, and Roof confirmed that in a text message to ESPN. Three other assistant coach hires also were reported by multiple media outlets.
Penn State has not yet confirmed the hires, and O'Brien said he wants to wait until all the staff members are in place before announcing them.
So far, O'Brien has relied heavily on his ties to Georgia Tech and Duke to fill his staff. The new hires Monday include:
* Offensive line coach Mac McWhorter, 61, who held that job at Texas from 2002-10. He was the line coach at Georgia Tech from 2000-01 when O'Brien was there, and in 2001 O'Brien was the offensive coordinator.
* Receivers coach Stan Hixon, 54, who just finished his second season coaching with the Buffalo Bills after six years with the Washington Redskins. He also worked at Georgia Tech (1995-99) while O'Brien was there. Hixon replaces Mike McQueary, who had been placed on administrative leave by PSU in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
* Tight ends coach John Strollo, 57, comes to Penn State after being the offensive line coach for one season at Ball State. He was an assistant at Duke from 2005-07, and O'Brien was there the first two years.
O'Brien now has seven of his nine assistant coaches in place. It was previously reported that Larry Johnson will remain the Nittany Lions' defensive line coach and Ron Vanderlinden the linebackers coach. Charles London, who had been with the Tennessee Titans, is the new running backs coach.
Roof comes to Penn State with an intriguing recent background. He was Auburn's defensive coordinator from 2009 through the end of this past regular season, then left that lucrative job in December to become defensive coordinator at Central Florida.
George O'Leary is the head coach at Central Florida, and his ties to Roof and O'Brien go back to Georgia Tech. O'Leary was the head coach there from 1994-2001, and Roof was his defensive coordinator the final three years.
Roof and O'Leary are longtime friends, but that doesn't necessarily explain why Roof would leave Auburn for a similar position at Central Florida.
Sources familiar with the Auburn program told the Mirror that Roof and head coach Gene Chizik didn't exactly see eye to eye with regards to defensive philosophy.
Roof likes to use a 4-3 base scheme but runs multiple looks out of that. He also likes to be very aggressive and blitz a lot, sources said, does not like to play zone and is very inventive.
Chizik wanted a more conservative approach on defense, sources said, and that led to him and Roof having disagreements about the schemes. It also led to Roof having to become more conservative and play more zone than he had throughout his career, sources said.
(UPDATE: At Auburn, Roof's teams ranked 68th in total defense in 2009, 60th in 2010 and 81st in 2011. The Tigers allowed more than 30 points seven times and more than 40 points three times this past season. At Minnesota in 2008, his defense ranked 80th. At Duke in 2002 and '03, his defenses ranked 65th and 57th, respectively. At Georgia Tech, his defenses ranked 100th in 1999, 70th in 2000 and 32nd in 2001.)
Roof, a linebacker at Georgia Tech from 1982-85, began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Alabama in 1987. He also has coached at West Georgia, UMass, Western Carolina and Minnesota.
He was fired as Duke's head coach following the 2007 season and was Minnesota's defensive coordinator in 2008 before going to Auburn in 2009.