Collins took plenty from his time from working for coach Nick Saban. Two lessons that he mentioned in an interview with Sports Illustrated in 2017:
“The opponent and scoreboard don’t matter. He talks about that all the time. You have to get better at what you do on a daily basis, doesn’t matter what your role is. Accept personal responsibility for your own self-determination. He says that all the time. And so every day, you come into this building as a player or a coach, you have a responsibility to do your job and to accept that responsibility and to be driven and motivated to do it.”
A familiar alma mater
Collins played collegiately at Western Carolina as an outside linebacker and defensive back 1989-92. He spent one season as a student assistant in 1993 and graduated in 1994 with a degree in sport management and exercise science.
Another Western Carolina graduate of note? Paul Johnson (class of 1979).
Young for his age
At 47, Collins is the youngest coach since Bill Curry took the job in 1979 at 37, although barely. The four coaches hired immediately before him were not much older. Paul Johnson was 50. Chan Gailey was 49. George O’Leary was 48. Bill Lewis was 51, as was Bobby Ross.
Staff change at Temple
Collins’ first staff at Temple in 2017 had only two assistant coaches who stayed on from the 2016 team. Six of the remaining seven followed Matt Rhule to Baylor, and the seventh ended up on Rhule’s staff a year later.
The two assistants who were retained were a running backs coach and a coach of tight ends and special teams.
His first job at Tech
At his introductory news conference at Temple in December 2016, Collins paid homage to O’Leary as one of his mentors. O’Leary hired Collins to be a graduate assistant at Tech prior to the 1999 season. Collins had been defensive coordinator at Albright College, a Division III school in Reading, Pa.
Collins said that O’Leary taught him toughness, work ethic and attention to detail.
He told a story about how he pestered O’Leary to let him recruit, telling him he could do it. O’Leary gave him permission during Collins’ second year as a GA. Collins said that O’Leary told him that the coaching staff focused its attention on six primary states, and that he could have the other 44.
“And I took that and I ran with it,” Collins said.
With the help of other coaches on staff, Collins said, Tech signed five players in the next class from the states that had been given to him.