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Black Watch Defense

Georgia Tech's famed Black Watch defenses smothered opposing offenses in 1984 & '85

Orchestrated by defensive coordinator Don Lindsey when he came to Georgia Tech in 1984, the Yellow Jackets’ “Black Watch” defense menaced opposing offenses for two seasons – 1984 and ’85.

Lindsey dubbed the most prominent players on his Georgia Tech defenses the “Black Watch,” in honor of the famed Scottish military forces that took the same name beginning in the 1700s.

Georgia Tech defenders that earned Black Watch designation received a black stripe down the center of their helmets, as well as a black interlocking GT logo on the side of their helmets in place of the standard white mark.

Notable Black Watch defenders included defensive back Cleve Pounds, linebacker Ted Roof and defensive end/outside linebacker Pat Swilling, a first-team all-American who went on to went on to be a five-time NFL Pro Bowler with the New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

As a unit, the Black Watch defense led the Atlantic Coast Conference in total defense in 1984 and led the conference in scoring defense in ’84 and ’85 (the Yellow Jackets haven’t led the ACC in either category since). The Jackets’ 10.7 points allowed per game in ’85 were the fourth-fewest in the nation.

Under head coach Bill Curry, Georgia Tech went a combined 15-6-2 in 1984 and ’85, including consecutive wins over Georgia, and capped by a 17-14 triumph over Michigan State in the 1985 All-American Bowl, the Yellow Jackets’ first bowl victory in 13 seasons. The Jackets finished ranked No. 17 nationally after their 9-2-1 campaign in 1985.

Pat Swilling (top) and Ted Roof (bottom) were two of the most prominent members of Georgia Tech’s famed Black Watch defenses in 1984 and ’85.
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