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July 21, 2021

Geoff Collins

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Collins.

Q. Going into Georgia Tech, you had to change the culture, obviously change what it looks like on the field. Where are things at in your opinion?

GEOFF COLLINS: It's an exciting time. We've got 14 new guys that came in in January. The way the culture is set up, how we approach our daily life in our organization, in our building, is completely set. They've done a great job bringing the guys in.

Last year we had a bunch of true freshmen play. Starting quarterback Jeff Sims was a true freshmen. Jahmyr Gibbs started for us at right tackle. Jordan Williams started for us as a true freshmen. I think it was reranked as the eighth ranked recruiting class that played for us last year.

This will be our second recruiting class full that will be reporting in two weeks, preseason camp. Just excited to get to work with them. Coach Caralla, our head strength coach, does a tremendous job with our guys, how we work, how we're developed. Just excited to be back on the grass with them.

Q. NIL, what your approach is, how you're guiding your players through that process?

GEOFF COLLINS: Absolutely. I appreciate it. Let me first say this is the first picture in the last three days that I'm the tallest one on the picture. So I appreciate the ACC doing that so I'm not clowned on social media about all my guys being so much taller than me. Anyway, I digress (smiling).

One of the first things is the mechanism that we have in place to educate our guys, put them in a really good position. We started a 404 Academy. We've had educational sessions in person, via Zoom, to educate them in every way that they can to market themselves, brand themselves, position themselves in this space to maximize all the opportunities. I think those mechanisms are very important.

The thing that I think is the most important, though, is our commitment as an organization to support our guys, be fully invested in this space and help them maximize every single opportunity to elevate their brand, to position themselves through content, and living in the great city of Atlanta, all of the opportunities that they have available to them, them understanding how deeply invested we are in this space for them.

Q. You have a kid who transferred from Maryland to you guys this year. Talk about him coming to you. What does he bring to the team? His father used to be a Morgan State head coach.

GEOFF COLLINS: We have Ace, a linebacker, he'll be up here a little bit. 6'4", 235 pounds. The impact that he has made in our culture, our locker room. We had every single player in the organization vote for the captains for the spring game. The three that are here with me today were voted captain. Ace was one of them, who was a transfer from the Big Ten, just has done a tremendous job learning our culture, enhancing our culture, elevating it. Just a tremendous young man.

Great player first and foremost, but an even better person in how he comes to work every single day. Has been phenomenal.

We have another transfer from the Big Ten, Kyric McGowan from Northwestern, graduated from Northwestern University, played in two Big Ten Championship games, slot receiver, running back, wildcat, quarterback, kick returner, punt returner, all those things, and Kyric has done a masterful job, work ethic, attention to detail, what it takes to take that next step in our program and in our development. So I'm fired up that we have both those guys with us.

Q. Looking at this offense, making that change, going through a COVID year, obviously affects you trying to change what Georgia Tech looks like. Where are things at as you head into the fall? How much did the COVID year affect what you were trying to do?

GEOFF COLLINS: We're excited about where we are. We had three true freshmen start for us on offense last year: Jordan Williams at offensive tackle, Jahmyr Gibbs at running back, Jeff Sims at quarterback. And just the growth and development they've made in our program since January is staggering.

Dave Patenaude, our offensive coordinator, his office is about 10 yards away from mine. Over the last seven months, there's not been a day that I've walked past his office and Jeff Sims is not in that room, watching tape, studying the playbook, learning defenses, the rotation of coverages, where the pressure is coming, how to redirect the protections. Those things are huge.

Then Jahmyr Gibbs, J.P. Mason, our running backs, both got nominated for the Doak Walker award. Well deserving for both of them. You also look at Jamious Griffin at running back, Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Georgia returns for us. Dontae Smith at running back as well does a tremendous job on special teams and as an explosive play-maker whenever he gets the ball in his hands. I think that combination is really good.

The offensive line that Brent Key has recruited, developed, is in a position to help us take that next big step. I'm excited.

Q. What can you learn about yourself in 2020? What about the education of Geoff Collins is going to thrust you into '21?

GEOFF COLLINS: Just fired up about it. So many things you had to be fluid and flexible in COVID, during that last season. But I think the biggest piece, too, is understanding the attention to detail, our focus pre-snap, post-snap. I think we were one of the most penalized teams in the conference. Had a lot of turnovers, finishing in the red zone. All of those things we have to take care of to make sure we're taking the next step in the development of our program.

Q. You talked about Jahmyr, you also have your quarterback Jeff here as well. Both of those guys can do so much on the field. Can you speak about how dangerous those two guys are and what they can do together?

GEOFF COLLINS: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's a dynamic duo within our league, within our team. But one of my favorite things about both of them are how selfless they are, how team-focused they are, giving other people the shine, other people the credit.

When you have two of your most high-profile players are also two of your hardest workers, and also two of your guys that come to work every single day with a tremendous attitude, elevating others around them, I think it sets up for something special.

We're all lucky that we get to coach them and they're in our organization.

Q. You mentioned the red zone. Last year 121st in red zone efficiency. What is going to be the key this year to being more productive inside the 20?

GEOFF COLLINS: I think the biggest thing, too, is the situational awareness piece. Playing with a lot of young guys, some self-inflicted things that ended up happening to us, especially when we got down into the red zone. We play UCF game two, top-10 team, we got inside the 10-yard line three times in the first three drives, come up with seven points. Those educational pieces, those experiences, understanding how impactful they are.

We've spent a lot of time in the off-season educating our guys, the penalty piece, pre-snap and post-snap, taking care of the football at every level of our offense and even on defense as well, then finishing in the red zone on offense, staying down there, preserving the right to kick a field goal if needed. But we want to punch it in and get touchdowns. Then defensively slamming the door if people do get down into the red zone. Those are the three biggest things we've talked about as an organization this entire off-season.

Q. Chemistry and science is such a delicate balance, making sure you have the right mixture. With the popularity of the transfer portal, how tough is it to keep a balance of chemistry every season within a football program?

GEOFF COLLINS: Yeah, one of the biggest pieces is this was the largest influx of transfers that we've taken back in January. Even there's going to be a couple more that have come in since June, a couple more that will be here first day of school.

But just the way the culture is set, the way our organization is built, understanding exactly what we are, everybody open the same mission, having a common goal, understanding exactly how we do things within our organization from the weight room, from the training room, even in the dining hall, recovery, they understand full well exactly what the expectations are.

So now when you bring some guys in from other places, you've got a collective group that are teaching them our culture, how we do things. I think we're in a position in the program that we were able to bring guys like that, and they've made a tremendous impact in our program.

Q. You mentioned the offensive line. You talked about them wanting to take the next step. What does that look like for you in terms of performance and production?

GEOFF COLLINS: Absolutely. Since January making sure we're being able to interchange pieces across the front, just tremendous size that we've gained, either developed or through recruiting, making sure that a guy like Jordan Williams who started almost exclusively at right tackle last season gets some experience on the inside.

Same thing with Ryan Johnson, him being able to do a couple different things. So the position flexibility piece across the front five has been huge. Just having a full breadth and depth of our offense, schematics. We have Brent Key, one of the top offensive line coaches in all of college football, has done a tremendous job recruiting and developing and building a culture within our culture that is really positive.

One of the biggest things that I said for two and a half years in our organization is once the big guys in our program are the leaders setting the culture, setting the tempo, reinforcing all of our values, we've got a chance to be really, really good. I think we're at that position right now with the trust, the work ethic, the ability to move people and to pass protect at a high level is going to pay off. So really excited about that group.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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