2. Collins expressed his pride in his team and staff for its resilience through a season that has been trying from a win-loss perspective but more so that has been arduous with the discipline to maintain health and safety protocols.
The comments would gain greater gravity a few hours after he spoke, as a third SEC game for this weekend (Alabama vs. LSU) was postponed in the late afternoon.
“I’m looking out here (at practice) right now, practice has been over – what, 15 minutes – and there’s guys still out here working, bonding – wearing masks, thankfully, keeping their distance,” Collins said. “But just the things that these guys are going through – our student athletic trainers, our student managers, everybody associated with this program. It is no small task, every single week, just to get to a college football game, and for them to do it with the class and the character and the integrity, and the positivity – at times, it’s mind blowing.”
3. Collins’ thoughts about Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett: “He’s a really good player; we saw him last year. Really good control of what they do schematically on offense. They’re extremely multiple in what they do. There’s a different wrinkle, or many wrinkles, every single week. And he’s got a tremendous arm, a tremendous feel for where to go with the football. He’s got talent, he’s got weapons around him and he knows how to distribute the ball and distribute it on time. He’s a really good player.”
Against Tech last year, Pickett completed 25 of 34 passes for 204 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. This season, he has completed 129 of 207 passes (62.3%) for 1,599 yards with an 8/3 touchdown/interception ratio. He missed games against Miami and Notre Dame with an ankle injury before returning to start against Florida State this past Saturday, leading the Panthers to a 41-17 win over the Seminoles.
4. To a question about quarterback Jeff Sims having had some tough games recently, Collins made note that the Jackets played two teams ranked in the top four, Clemson and Notre Dame, and said that Sims improved in them.
“I’m really proud of the way Jeff has played, the way he’s continued to develop within this program,” he said. “There’s not a lot of true freshmen, that are having to play and play at a high level. He is one of them.”