Collins must back up his words with wins to keep his job at Ga Tech


Georgia Tech running back Dontae Smith answers a question during NCAA College Football Atlantic Coast Conference Media Days in Charlotte, North Carolina, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (AP Photo/ Nell Redmond)


Geoff Collins has toned down the hokey slogans that were part of his plan to build a proud new brand at Georgia Tech.

He seems to realize that there is only one thing that really matters.


After three seasons that each produced just three wins, Collins is heading into year four and will likely need to show significant improvement to keep his job.

Only one other modern-era Georgia Tech coach has gone this far in his tenure with a record worse than Collins’ 9-25 mark. It was Bill Curry, who was 8-24-1 after three years but at least saw signs of hope after a 6-5 campaign.

That’s not the case for this Georgia Tech team, which was outscored 100-0 by Notre Dame and eventual national champion Georgia in its last two games of 2021.

“We’re all tired of losing,” Collins said Saturday, less than 24 hours after the Yellow Jackets opened preseason camp. “We want to play a very good brand of football. We want to make everyone who supports Georgia Tech proud.

Everyone knew the road would be a bit bumpy after Collins took over in 2019, especially with the jarring transition from an optional run-focused offense favored by his predecessor, Paul Johnson, to a pro-style attack. .

Still, no one expected the Yellow Jacket to look like it was starting over so deep in the Collins era.

At the Atlantic Coast Conference pre-season media event, Georgia Tech was chosen to finish sixth in the Coast Division, ahead of only Duke.

With a brutal schedule that includes three 10-win teams in the first five games — starting with Clemson on Labor Day at nearby Mercedes-Benz Stadium — it’s hard to imagine a path that leads the Yellow Jackets to a better performance than last year 3- 9 points.

Collins is under as much heat as any coach in the country (well, with the possible exception of Auburn’s Bryan Harsin) and knows he needs to show tangible proof that he put the program in the game. good direction.

It means real victories, not just words.

His players know it too.

“We know those two seasons haven’t been the best,” senior receiver Malachi Carter said. “But if we dwell on that, it won’t be a good season either.”

During a nearly half-hour session with the media at Georgia Tech’s indoor training facility, Collins never mentioned the “404 culture,” his love of Waffle House, or any of the other Atlanta-centric credentials he insisted on in his first three years as a prospect. to give its program the appeal of a big city for potential recruits.

The relentless sales work has prompted some critics to deride him as “Coach Slogan”.

Now he has to show he can coach football.

As is often the case with those under fire, Collins has made some big changes to his coaching staff.

On the offensive end, he brought in Chip Long as coordinator and 2000 Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke to work with quarterbacks.

Both were hired largely in an effort to get more production out of quarterback Jeff Sims, who has a big arm and plenty of running ability but has been far too inconsistent in his first two seasons.

“Absolutely,” Collins conceded. “That was the focus of the whole conversation, of the whole (hiring) process.”

Long and Weinke will largely have Sims and the offense to themselves, giving Collins a chance to spend more time on the other side of the line.

The Yellow Jackets ranked near the bottom of the ACC in most defensive categories, giving up 455.3 yards and 33.5 points per game. A sign of the struggles that went from the frontline to the high school, they had just 20 sacks (Virginia was the only team with less) and ranked last in the ACC with a meager three interceptions.

Collins, who was known at the time as a defensive assistant for aggressive units that wreaked havoc, must find a way to bring out that style with the jackets.

“Obviously a lot of the decisions that were made (with the coaching staff) were made so that I could spend more time with the defense,” Collins said. “All the new and fresh ideas, and the people I can lean on, have been very beneficial to the program.”

It all sounds good. Now it should appear on the dashboard.

If not, Georgia Tech might be looking for a new coach.


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Lynn A. Saleh