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Back Seat Coachin’: Proof of concept

The Split Zone Duo podcast looked into the proof of concept of Geoff Collins tenure at Georgia Tech

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The podcast Split Zone Duo provides a different type of insight from the normal college football podcast. That insight comes from a niche area, which is the coaching carousel. The coaching carousel means how the coaching staffs in college football circle around and around the country in a butterfly effect of firings.

Typically, the carousel starts in the middle of the season with an early firing (see: the USC Trojans) and will often conclude during the summer with some shocking ‘way too late’ change of a retiring coach (see: Bob Stoops at Oklahoma) or off-season scandal (see: Jim Tressel at Ohio State).

Stephen Godfrey’s (@38Godfrey) connections to agents and coaches in the college football world allows for much conjecture into the head coaching hot seat temperatures around the country. The Split Zone Duo podcast loves to talk about potential staff changes, whether that’s upcoming retirements (Duke), firings for non-football reasons (Washington State) or for football reasons (Miami).

On the SZD episode titled, “Iowa, Kentucky and proof of concept,” from October 12, 2021, The trio (no longer a duo) of Richard Johnson, Alex Kirshner, and Godfrey discussed the proof of concept of different head coaches, and Georgia Tech and Geoff Collins came up.

SZD defined Collins’ proof of concept in a hodgepodge of ways I will try to analyze below:

1- To improve the culture inside of the program

2 To improve the culture inside of the locker room

Both of these initial two proofs are agreeably improved from the prior staff. Yet, neither of those have to do with wins and losses, however, the trio mentions how inconsistent the program has been. Issues they see are as follows:

1- It’s hard to find the development at position groups.

2- The staff is running out of time on the ‘transition from the triple option.’

3- Rival coaches hate the way “they” (GT) talk because of how poorly they (GT) recruit.

So the SZD fellas theorize that if the concept is to be the team “of Atlanta,” to “recruit well,” and to be a “modern college football program,” that Collins’ staff needs to beat the Georgia Bulldogs for a blue chip recruit in the recruiting battles. Collins program is a breathing and walking version of Bill Curry’s “The Huddle,” and in that way- he’s proven his concept there.

Godfrey points out that Collins went very bold with his approach to get eyes on the program in the city of Atlanta and state of Georgia. Godfrey also says that Atlanta is the most talent rich city in the United States, which I’m sure won’t be argued with by the fans in Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, or Miami.

What Godfrey also points out is that with Collins’ ability to work the media- what really is legit, and what isn’t?

So the question begs, was the win over the UNC Tar Heels the Jackets proof of concept?

GT didn’t just beat UNC, they ran over them. For sure. But is that enough in year three? Also, is this truly year three between the takeover from Paul Johnson (“year zero”) and COVID?

With Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami, Boston College and Notre Dame (also UGA) left on the schedule- Tech needs to come away with more than one win from that grouping. Two of those programs, Miami and VT, might be looking for a new head coach for the ‘22 season. Not to mention BC is without their starting QB, UVA is hot and cold, and Notre Dame is having a down year on offense.

If the Jackets are just another ACC Coastal program that can’t put it together, has Collins fulfilled his proof of concept? So far the Jackets biggest wins are against Miami in 2019, Florida State in ‘20, and UNC in ‘21. Do those wins justify proof of concept? Make a bowl game this season and we’ll be sure Collins is on the right path. Miss a bowl game for the third year in a row and that concept is on the hot seat in ‘22.