The extremely short job search is over: the Tar Heels have hired former Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins as their new defensive coordinator. This hire happened just days after it was announced that Gene Chizik was parting ways with the program. Collins will be Mack Brown’s third defensive coordinator in the Mack Brown 2.0 era thanks to consistent struggles with the two previous occupants of the position.
Let’s get this out of the way now: yes, Geoff Collins’ defenses struggled at Georgia Tech while he was the head coach. However, we’ve seen things like this happen before with some high-profile coaches across pro and college football — former Atlanta Falcons head coach and current Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is the most notable name to come to mind — so that is something that probably shouldn’t be factored in when evaluating this hire. Instead, a better representation of his work can be seen when looking back at what he was able to do as a coordinator with Florida and Mississippi State. Starting with Mississippi State, Collins led a group that was the top five in the SEC in total defense, rushing defense, and passing defense. Most importantly, particularly for Carolina fans, is that in 2014 the Bulldogs led the SEC in sacks as well as red zone defense.
When it comes to what he was able to do with the Florida Gators, Collins once again led a unit that was one of the best in the country. In 2015, the Gators didn’t allow a single touchdown against three FBS Power Five schools on the road, which hadn’t been seen in 20 years. Ultimately Collins decided to pursue head coaching following his tenure in Gainesville, which led him to Temple before his most recent stop with Georgia Tech.
On paper, this seems like a really good hire by Mack Brown and his staff. This is a guy that has a really impressive resume, has succeeded in multiple ways on defense, and is familiar with the ACC while also having valuable experience from playing against top SEC programs. There are still some questions that need to be answered, mostly revolving how much control Collins will have once he arrives on campus when it comes to positional coaches. We at least for now know that the defensive lineman position has been filled, but will he be able to tweak anything as he sees fit? Also, outside of the coaching positions, what changes will we see when it comes to player personnel now that the hire has been made? Hiring Collins is only the beginning of what could be a really interesting offseason for the Tar Heels.
What do you think of Mack Brown’s latest hire? Let us know in the comments below.