Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins’ first trip to the ACC Kickoff media event spanned about eight hours Thursday and included questions about Waffle House, the season opener against Clemson and even some about his own team.
Speaking to numerous media members for the first time, Collins spoke at length on topics that he has hit since his hire – building culture, position flexibility, the shift to an NFL-based offense, selling the virtues of his employer and its location in Atlanta. He also was able to touch on matters that were a little fresher.
Here are six:
1. Status of transfers
Collins had no updates on the eligibility status of the three incoming transfers – defensive end Antonneous Clayton (Florida), wide receiver Marquez Ezzard (Miami) and cornerback Myles Sims (Michigan). All three are seeking immediate-eligibility waivers that would enable them do play this fall.
“I’m anxious to hear, as well,” Collins said.
Collins said that quarterback James Graham was “still working, still got some things to do” to regain his academic eligibility after losing it following the fall semester.
2. Thoughts on Clemson
Collins was asked a number of questions about the season opener at defending national champion Clemson. He said he was excited – “I’m excited to do everything that I do,” he said – but failed to hyperventilate over the prospect of facing the Tigers.
“There’s a lot of things that we’ve been doing internally that are changing the culture, changing the brand, so my entire focus has been on that,” he said. “We’ll worry about the opponents come those first two weeks of school as we get ready for (the season).”
Collins did allow that having such a significant game to start the season can be beneficial.
“Anytime you can play such a high-profile game against a great team, it narrows your focus a little bit more throughout the offseason, through winter conditioning, through the summer, knowing you’re going against a program with such great coaches, such great players, in a great environment,” he said.
3. Assessment of quarterbacks
Collins said that he was “excited” about the quarterbacks, also using that word to describe his feelings about Lucas Johnson and Tobias Oliver. Collins said that while he wasn’t sure how the quarterbacks would throw in the spring, “the body of work they put together and their improvement and development, I was really pleased with that group.”
Johnson “has done a great job all summer in the workouts,” Collins said.
He said that Graham “showed flashes in the spring of being able to be a dynamic player for us.” He also noted the arrival of freshman Jordan Yates, the Class AAAAAAA offensive state player of the year at Milton High.
He did not mention freshman Demetrius Knight, who signed as a quarterback but is listed at linebacker. Knight has caught the attention of linebacker David Curry, who said that Knight is “insanely fast” with “unbelievable” work ethic.
4. Low projections
Collins recognized that expectations for his team are dim. Athlon Sports, for instance, predicts the Jackets to finish in a tie for last in the Coastal Division with North Carolina at 2-6 in league play at 4-8 overall. Collins was OK with that.
“They don’t know what these young men have done, what these young men have invested in the program,” he said. “And I’m just excited to be out there and take the field with these guys and go to battle with them.”
Another comment: “I’m not worried about outside expectations. I’m worried about the internal that we have going on every single day to build the culture, to build exactly who we’re going to be moving forward. If we accomplish that every single day, we’re going to be a pretty good football team, we’re going to be a great football program.”
5. Remembering Brandon Adams
Collins made a point to honor Brandon Adams, the Tech defensive tackle whose death in March stunned the team and fan base.
“He was a great presence in our locker room, a great teammate, a great friend,” Collins said. “I just wanted to take the time to just say how much he means to us every day still moving forward, and to his family.”
On Friday, the team’s strength-and-conditioning staff tweeted out a video in which the team had gathered on the field to offer a tribute to Adams, addressed to Adams’ family.
6. What’s he watching?
Interview sessions at the media event often veer far from the topic of football, and a late-afternoon session unearthed a revelation from Collins about his viewing habits. Given his energetic style, he was asked if he ever felt unmotivated to work and do nothing.
“I’ll chill,” he said. “I’ll go on ‘Stranger Things’ and watch seven episodes in a row. I’ve done that, if that’s what you’re talking about.”
Collins said he did that when the third season of the Netflix series was released on July 4. Collins said that he then had to go back and watch the first two seasons.
“Rock my daughter to sleep, pop on about a couple episodes of Stranger Things and then they get you, because the last 30 seconds are unbelievable and then you’ve got to hit ‘Next episode’ and then you’re stuck for another 50 minutes,” he said.
But, as far as being unmotivated at work, Collins said, “That’s a zero issue. For whatever reason, it never has been.”
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