After ‘lack of focus,’ Geoff Collins halts Georgia Tech practice

Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins (back row, center, in gray shirt) speaks to the Yellow Jackets team during its Aug. 17, 2021 practice inside the Brock Football Facility. (AJC photo by Ken Sugiura)

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Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins (back row, center, in gray shirt) speaks to the Yellow Jackets team during its Aug. 17, 2021 practice inside the Brock Football Facility. (AJC photo by Ken Sugiura)

Early in Tuesday’s preseason practice, Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins saw enough to interrupt the workout and assemble the team. His lips did not offer praise.

Speaking to the entire team in the midst of an 11-on-11 drill, at the start of the team’s 10th preseason practice, Collins delivered a stern address about practice habits. He was audible from one end of the Brock Football Facility to the other.

“It was, I think, a lack of focus, from the offensive perspective,” wide receiver Kyric McGowan said. “Just not the fast start that we wanted. Came out and had a few miscues, a few bad snaps and a few penalties. But he brought us up (to gather around him), and we got right and went back out, made the right plays and executed like we were supposed to.”

It was at least the second time in a week that Collins stopped practice to take the team to task for its practice performance. That the 11-on-11 work was being done near the goal line, both with the offense nearing the end zone and trying to push out from its own goal line, accentuated the need for the sort of focus that Collins was not seeing on either offense or defense.

“That’s kind of a really crucial time, as in, you don’t want to make any mistakes backed up or while you’re in the red zone,” McGowan said. “All those little details really matter.”

Wide receiver Pejé Harris noticed the lack of focus even before Collins’ reprimand, saying that the rain may have made it more difficult for players to stay dialed in.

“When we got out there, I don’t think our focus was where it needed to be,” he said. “But we definitely picked it up and got it right by the end of practice.”

As the Yellow Jackets seek to improve on back-to-back three-win seasons, Collins repeatedly has stressed the importance of attention to detail in following assignments, avoiding penalties and, for the offense, taking care of the ball. Tech was tied for 125th in FBS last season in total giveaways (25) and 119th in penalty yardage per game (74.9 yards per game).

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