Ge­or­gia Tech hires Collins

Yel­low Jack­ets get Tem­ple coach to re­place Johnson.

The Times-Tribune - - FOOTBALL -

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.

COLLINS

FREEZE

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