“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm,” said a famous man named Ralph. (No, not Ralph Friedgen. Ralph Waldo Emerson.) Collins has as much enthusiasm as anyone who has ever lived. This fervor hasn’t yet been reflected in his record. He’s 9-25 at Tech, worse even than Bill Lewis, who so disappointed Tech fans they refuse to speak his name.
Todd Stansbury is on record as saying he’s sold on Collins. Actual quote: “I have my man.” It’s not unreasonable that the athletic director who hired this coach would be willing to wait until Year 4, when Collins’ ballyhooed recruits have had a chance to grow together, to pass judgment. This same AD gave this coach a seven-year contract, silly even by Tech’s patchy contractual history. (We reference Gailey and Paul Hewitt.)
This season fell apart so completely – Tech lost its final six games – that Collins was moved to dump three assistants Sunday, offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude included. This wasn’t a shock. When you don’t score over two games, your OC isn’t to be confused with Lincoln Riley. Still, offense was the better part of Tech in 2021. The Jackets finished 92nd among 130 FBS teams in total yardage. (Four ACC teams cracked the top 10.) They were 117th in total defense.
It’s possible Collins will pluck some major talents from the same portal, though Tech is a harder sell now. The top recruit to grace the Institute in more than a decade has opted out, two days after Bobby Dodd Stadium saw Georgia fans outnumber Tech backers.
Said cornerback Tre Swilling, the latest of many Swillings to matriculate at Tech: “It being Senior Day and there being that much red … truthfully, it doesn’t feel great.”
For 11 seasons under Paul Johnson, Tech folks knew their team could run the ball. Many were ready for something new, but we ask: What does Tech do well now? It was bad on offense, worse on defense. Gibbs was its leading rusher, its leading kickoff returner and its third-leading receiver.
Per 247Sports, Tech’s recruiting class for 2022 is the nation’s 23rd-best, fifth-best in the ACC. Given Gibbs’ announcement, you wonder if that ranking will hold until Signing Day, which is Dec. 15. You wonder if Collins will make it through Year 4. You half-wonder if he’ll make it to spring practice.