The struggles of Georgia Tech continued Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia. Geoff Collins returned to Philly as the head coach of Georgia Tech to face his previous employer, the Temple Owls. The reunion was anything but a happy one for Collins, who came up on the wrong end of a 24-2 final score.
Georgia Tech’s two points scored is the lowest point total for Georgia Tech since being shutout by Florida State in 1997. The No. 3 Seminoles dominated the No. 21 Yellow Jackets, 38-0, in Tallahassee. The last time Georgia Tech was held to three points or fewer in a game was in the 2008 Chick-fil-A Bowl, a 38-3 loss to LSU.
“Obviously, the loss hurts really, really bad, multiplied by how personal it was,” Collins said after the game, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I thought we played really, really hard against, I think, one of the best front sevens in all of college football.”
It was painfully clear, once again, that Collins is taking on a bit of a rebuilding project. Georgia Tech had been built with the option of Paul Johnson in mind, and Collins is working hard to transform the offensive identity of the program through recruiting. Saturday was another brutal reminder that transition can be tough for any program, especially when changing the offensive approach so drastically. As if they needed another reminder, The Citadel was there to remind them.
This was the second victory by Temple against a power conference opponent this season, marking the first time since the formation of the football side of the Big East Conference was formed where the Owls had two wins against power conference opponents in the same season. If there was any positive to take out of the game for a Georgia Tech fan, it may be that Collins helped get Temple to this level of play. Of course, aspiring to be a team on the same level as a team that may not even play for the American Athletic Conference championship may be a hard sell for the Yellow Jackets fans.
It’s been a rough few weeks for Temple football as they have suffered the misfortune of losing not just one, but two head coaches to power conference programs. But at least the Owls are going to be paid well for their misfortune.
As reported by Brett McMurphy of Stadium, via Twitter, Temple will be receiving $6.5 million in buyout money from Georgia Tech and Miami. Georgia Tech owes Temple $2.5 million to buy out the contract of former Temple head coach Geoff Collins. And yesterday’s decision by recently hired Temple head coach Manny Diaz to stay with the Miami Hurricanes means Miami will have to pay Temple $4 million to buy out the contract of Diaz, which was just having the ink dry on the paper.
While coaching instability is never easy for a non-power conference program like Temple, at least the financial windfall helps soften the blow and potentially helps the program and university moving forward. Surely Temple would prefer not to have to accept the buyout money from either university, let alone two universities, but Temple will now move forward searching for a new head coach once again and know they have $6.5 million in additional revenue coming their way to put toward the football program in some way.
As Paul Johnson coaches his final game with Georgia Tech in the Quick Lane Bowl next week, so will every member on his coaching staff. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports new Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins will not keep any of Johnson’s assistants on the staff moving forward as a new era is ushered in.
This is hardly unexpected, of course, as most new head coaches will often wipe the slate clean on the coaching staff to bring in their trusted assistants. It is also common for at least a couple of assistants to be held over from the previous coaching staff, but that will apparently not be the case with the Yellow Jackets. The slight concern may be Collins bringing together a staff that seemingly abandons all previous relationships that have been established by the former staff, but Collins and his staff shouldn’t take long establishing new pipelines in Georgia and around the surrounding region.
Two assistants reportedly coming to Georgia Tech with Collins will be defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker, a Georgia native, and defensive backs coach Nathan Burton, a Georgia Tech alum. Collins is also a native from the state of Georgia and he has his own connections to the region having previously been an assistant coach at Georgia Tech and at other programs such as Alabama, UCF, Mississippi State, and Florida. Collins will have a feel for recruiting the south as he looks to change the way Georgia Tech operates.
Johnson announced his retirement from Georgia Tech at the end of the regular season and his retirement will be effective at the completion of Georgia Tech’s bowl matchup with Minnesota in the Quick Lane Bowl.
The Michigan Wolverines are not the only college football program tkaing their brand across an ocean. Although on a much smaller scale, Temple football will be sending a handful of representatives to Japan for a nine-day trip to help promote the sport of football abroad.
Temple head coach Geoff Collins will be joined by eight Temple football players making the trip; Michael Dogbe, Frank Nutile, Jaelin Robinson, Shaun Bradley, Linwood Crump, Isaiah Wright, Dan Archibong and Matt Hennessey. This will be no true vacatrion for these Temple football players, however, because they will be earning three college credits for their efforts in helping to teach and promote the sport while in Japan.
The trip initially started as an opportunity for Collins to travel to Japan for some football coaching clinics, but the opportunity to involve a small number of football players was too great to pass up. The trip will make visits in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.
“I’m looking forward to experiencing a new culture and sharing our knowledge of football to those in Japan eager to learn,” Collins said in a statement (per Philly.com). “I know our players will have a great time and serve as tremendous ambassadors for Temple and our football program.”
WHO: Temple (6-6) vs. FIU (8-4)
WHAT: The 10th Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
WHEN: 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Tropicana Field, Saint Petersburg, FL
THE SKINNY: A year after finishing the regular season with a conference championship, the 2017 season was much different for the Temple Owls. First-year head coach Geoff Collins had some bumpy first tests after taking over the program, but the Owls seemed to find an offensive identity that could work in the final weeks of the season.
Junior quarterback Frank Nutile finished the season on a high note and made the case to keep the starting job in 2018 with 11 touchdowns in the final five games of the season. Nutile’s late surge in the offense provided some stability for the offense and helped to open up the game a bit for the Owls, but the running game remains the key to the Owls offense. Ryquell Armstead and David Hood have split the carries for share of the carries to a balanced effect, and that should continue against the Panthers.
Lost in the attention given to Lane Kiffin turning FAU around is the job done by Butch Davis at FIU. Perhaps even more impressive than the job done by Kiffin this season, Davis returned to the sideline and quickly built an eight-win team with FIU. The offense exploded in the final weeks of the season with 41 points against Western Kentucky and 63 against UMass. If FIU brings that type of firepower into the bowl matchup, Temple could have trouble keeping up the pace.
Davis is no stranger to coaching against Temple, although this is not the same Temple program Davis faced while coaching the Miami Hurricanes in the old Big East. The playing field is much more even now for Temple and Davis.
THE PICK: Temple 31, FIU 27