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Georgia Tech Football: Meeting the New Coaches - DB Coach Travares Tillman

Coach Tillman returns to The Flats in an effort to reshape the Georgia Tech secondary.

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech Spring Game
Coach Travares Tillman seen in his first Spring Game as a coach on The Flats.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

We continue our introductions with a familiar face, former All-ACC defensive back Travares Tillman. Coach Tillman brings years of playing and coaching experience to the table in what Tech faithful hopes to be a turnaround season for the Yellow Jacket defense. Sticking to what he knows best, Coach Tillman will be responsible for coaching the defensive backs while taking on the role of Pass Game Coordinator, as well.

Playing History

1996-1999 | Georgia Tech

2000-2001 | Buffalo Bills

2003 | Houston Texans

2003-2004 | Carolina Panthers

2005-2007 | Miami Dolphins

During his playing years at Tech, Coach Tillman racked up an astounding 236 tackles along with 7 interceptions. Four of those interceptions came during his sophomore campaign, as he made a name for himself both on and off the field. After graduating as a member of the ACC All-Academic team, he was drafted in the second round of the 2000 NFL Draft. During his seven-year playing career in the NFL, he amassed 180 tackles, 4 INTs, and even made a Super Bowl appearance.

Coaching History

2012-2015 | HS Calvary Day School (Savannah, GA)

2016-2018 | uga, Grad Assistant/Defensive Quality Control

2019 | Colorado State, Defensive Backs

2020-2021 | Michigan State, Senior Defensive Assistant, Cornerbacks

After a brief stint in Athens, Coach Tillman followed Mel Tucker to Colorado State and subsequently joined him at Michigan State. In the two years he spent in East Lansing, the team went from 2-5 in 2020 (COVID-related cancellations) to 11-2 in 2021. I’m sure there are a lot of factors at play, but it’s good that he’s been part of a successful rebuild elsewhere. It is worth noting that in 2021, the Spartans gave up over 300 yards per game through the air, more than GT’s 273. That being said, opposing teams were throwing the ball roughly 17 more times per game against the Spartans and completing passes for ~5 yards less per completion. I know we’re not totally comparing apples to apples there, but the MSU defense appears to have been far more efficient at all levels, which is probably why they won 11 games.

Bottom Line

As a former player at Tech, I feel Coach Tillman will be able to form meaningful relationships with the players. The importance of that cannot be understated. He will also bring a fresh outlook and a far more energetic approach to the back end of our defense. Schematically, he will be working with Coach Thacker and Coach Turner to formulate game plans, but he has made it clear that the focus thus far has been improving fundamentals and technique.