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The Point of No Return

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Saturday felt like the beginning of the end.

Georgia Tech v Temple Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

It seemed like Geoff Collins really wanted to just pretend Saturday’s loss was a win. Or maybe he wanted to forget about it all together. With this being his 22nd postgame conference following a loss — out of 31 total — it’d be hard to blame him. Heck, given I was unable to watch this game on TV, I chose instead to spend my afternoon eating chili and helping a friend paint their new house.

But I’m just some guy writing on a sports blog. Geoff Collins is the head football coach at Georgia Tech. I can simply choose not to talk about the fact he is now 9-22 in his tenure here. Collins doesn’t want to talk about it either, and that, on its own, is a problem. How he responded to questions on this team’s performance at Saturday’s postgame conference is what really concerns me.

Early on in the press conference — actually, it was part of the answer to the very first question — Collins got on reporter Kelly Quinlan for “harp[ing] on the things that go wrong” and not giving enough credit to the things that went well. He later offered the two fourth down stops Georgia Tech made as an example, and lamented how “[people] don’t seem to want to talk about those things.” I can’t believe I have to explain this to someone who’s been a head coach in college football for almost five years now, but: no one wants to talk about the fourth down stops that didn’t win you the game. Especially not in a game where you were outgained by 234 yards. This was an extremely close final score. A couple plays going the other way would have made the difference and given Georgia Tech the victory in a game where they were vastly outplayed. Then, sure, we could have talked about those plays, and the fourth down stops, and who knows what else, and the impact they had. But that didn’t happen, and here we are.

Later on, when asked his feelings on being on the wrong end of so many close losses, Collins talked about his last job and how Georgia Tech is “really, really close” to getting over the hump. These are not reassurances from someone who has real solutions. They are lashings out from someone who is utterly defeated and has nothing left to offer.

This, to me, marks what I feel like is the point of no return for Geoff Collins at Georgia Tech. Openly whining about people being too negative on the state of your program when you are 9-22 is a bad look. Deflecting by bringing up something you did at a previous school — something which may not stand up to scrutiny — is pathetic. Talking about how much your players “battled” over, and over, and over again, after having lost three straight games, and being on course to finish the season 0-6, is just..... sad. Among all the miserable on-field results we’ve endured over the past 2.75 seasons, this feels like the thing Collins simply and truly cannot come back from. It is theoretically possible for him to do so. But the requirements on the path are far higher than what he has shown himself to be capable of at this point in time.

Of course, Collins is likely not going anywhere for now. There’s still a lot of money left in his contract, and terminating it now would put a financial constraint on the athletic department Todd Stansbury surely does not want. Joey’s prediction after week one feels like the most likely outcome right now. That leaves fifteen more games with Collins on the sidelines, after which, well, hopefully something will have changed.

In an earlier mailbag I said Collins and this staff needed to give us reasons to be more positive. So far, he hasn’t given us any, and at this point, sadly, it’s not looking like we’ll be getting many.