Georgia Tech hires Collins
Yellow Jackets get Temple coach to replace Johnson.
ATLANTA — Georgia native Geoff Collins said Friday he landed his dream job when hired to return as Georgia Tech’s coach.
Most notable among changes the former Temple coach will bring to the Yellow Jackets will be a shift from the spread-option offense used by former coach Paul Johnson the last 11 years.
At his introductory news conference after his hiring was announced early Friday, Collins said he will install “Nfl-based” schemes on offense and defense. Those changes will be a challenge for players recruited by Johnson for the run-first attack with its triple-option plays.
Collins said he began recruiting immediately to prepare for the early signing period that begins Dec. 19. There will be some key needs, possibly including at quarterback, to jumpstart the transition to a prostyle offense.
“I’ve already been watching tape on the plane,” Collins said, adding “Recruiting matters. That is a huge priority for us.”
The 47-year-old Collins is a former Florida and Mississippi State defensive coordinator and Georgia Tech assistant who was 15-10 in two seasons at Temple.
Before his time at Florida (2015-16) and Mississippi State (2011-14), Collins was a graduate assistant and tight ends coach at Georgia Tech under coach George O’leary from 1999-2001. He returned to serve as recruiting coordinator at Tech under coach Chan Gailey in 2006.
A native of Conyers, Georgia, Collins said he began dreaming about eventually becoming Georgia Tech’s coach during his two stints as an assistant. He said the opportunity, which developed quickly when Johnson stepped down Nov. 28, was not expected.
“I formed a vision in my head in multiple stops I’ve been here of what this place can be, what this place should be,” he said.
Temple athletic director Patrick Kraft said assistant coach Ed Foley will serve as interim coach for the Independence Bowl against Duke on Dec. 27.
“While it is always difficult to lose a head coach, it is a testament to what we have built at Temple through our students, our fans, our alumni and our donors that we can continue to have success,” Kraft said in a statement released by the school. “We have a world-class university, strong support staff, excellent facilities, passionate supporters and a very healthy culture and I am confident that there will be great interest in our job yet again.”
Collins had an 8-4 record with a 7-1 mark in the American Athletic Conference this season.
Liberty tabs Freeze
At Lynchburg, Va., Hugh Freeze has enjoyed the highs of football, such as winning the Sugar Bowl and beating mighty Alabama. He’s also known embarrassment and shame following a personal scandal that cost him his job at Mississippi.
The 49-year-old Freeze believes those experiences will serve him well as the head coach at Liberty, where he’s been given a second chance.
“I believe in teaching young men on our team all of the lessons of when I got it right and when I got it wrong and what the consequences are,” Freeze said.
He was introduced as Liberty’s football coach on campus Friday, calling the opportunity an “unbelievable day for me and my family.” He was emotional at times during a press conference, thanking his family and calling them his heroes.
“I’ve made decisions that have hurt a lot of people,” Freeze said. “I don’t ever want to experience that again.”
Freeze will replace Turner Gill, who resigned after his seventh season to spend more time with his ailing wife. The Flames finished 6-6 this season, their first competing at the Football Bowl Subdivision level, and were 47-35 under Gill.