Wreck In Atlanta
By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
William Geoffrey Collins has finished his third season as the head coach at Georgia Tech.
So far Geoff Collins hasn’t had much success in Atlanta, but should we be surprised? Collins only has head coaching experience at one school prior to Tech, which is Temple. In his two seasons in Philadelphia coaching the Owls his record was 15–10. Not very impressive but he’s looked at as more of a recruiter.
So far three is his magic number in Atlanta because that’s how many games they win each season. They lost the season opener by one point to Northern Illinois. The Huskies did win nine games, but they aren’t from a major conference. This should have been an easy win.
They were fairly competitive in most games, losing three games by one-score. They lost to Clemson 14–8, Virginia 48–40 and Miami 33–30. If they can figure out how to focus and have better attention to detail, they should have better success in close games.
They finished the season with two consecutive shutout loses. Notre Dame won 55 – 0 and Georgia 45 – 0. Both teams are drastically better but that’s embarrassing.
Once the season ended Collins fired several assistant coaches. He gave pink slips to offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude, co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Nathan Burton and cornerbacks coach Jeff Popovich. Collins gave insight into how he plans on turning things around.
“As I began the deep dive into everything we need to fix to take the next steps to get the product on the field and the results on the field at the highest level possible,” Collins said, “the things that I’ve realized is, less branding, more coaching. Less worrying about culture, more worried about ball.”
That strikes me as interesting because that’s what it looks like from the outside. I always see social media posts of pregame outfits, uniforms and doing things for the 404 (an Atlanta area code). I kept thinking is he coaching or making social media posts? The fact he had to address plans to focus on coaching now, three years into being at Tech is frightening. That should have been the only focus.
“We’re to the point now where it’s time to work,” Collins said. “The brand is set, the culture is set, all of those things. Now it’s time to coach. Now it’s time to work.”
Collins needs to get to work with the defense that finished tied for 111th in scoring defense, 117th in total defense, 117th in third-down conversion rate and tied for 112th in plays allowed of 20 yards or more.
He was asked if they should change the defensive formation or fire defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker and he did not directly answer those questions.
“I know Andrew Thacker would be the first person to say that we didn’t play to the standard that we’ve had playing defense wherever we’ve been,” Collins said. “His main focus is to do everything in his power to make sure we’re doing that.”
Chip Long has been hired as offensive coordinator and Travares Tillman as defensive backs coach and defensive pass-game coordinator.
Collins was defensive coordinator at Florida from 2015-16 and he led the Gators to consecutive top-10 finishes in total defense.
So far, the Yellow Jackets have the No. 40 recruiting class in 2022. They are getting better players than Paul Johnson did but not winning.
Next season they have non-conference games against Ole Miss and UCF so things won’t be easy. I don’t expect Tech to get drastically better next year and not make a bowl game.