“Simply tremendously blessed that I’m on this place due to George O’Leary,” Collins mentioned. “He means the world to me, he means the world to my household.”
Saturday’s sport is all of the extra poignant for O’Leary, as he coached 12 years at UCF (2004-15). There, he led a staff that had moved as much as FBS in 1996 and had by no means been to a bowl sport to 4 convention championships together with a 12-1 season in 2013 by which the Knights gained the Fiesta Bowl and completed No. 10 within the nation. He’s within the UCF Corridor of Fame, too, inducted in April 2019.
“I inform you, gratifying is, I believe, in all probability the phrase it is best to use,” O’Leary mentioned of the twin inductions. “I went into each applications and each wanted to get a soar begin so far as the place the applications have been. It takes time, however I believe you had administrations at each colleges that wished to do issues proper and wished to win and did the precise issues. It wasn’t all the time fairly at both place, however the finish result’s we gained championships and gained bowl video games and graduated our athletes, which was essential to me.”
Whereas the general public recognition Saturday undoubtedly will likely be significant, O’Leary can discover one other tribute on the Tech sideline, the place he’ll have the ability to see no fewer than six males who performed and/or coached for him at Tech and/or UCF – Collins, offensive line coach Brent Key, defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker, defensive ends/exterior linebacker coach Marco Coleman, safeties coach Nathan Burton and offensive quality-control specialist Will Glover. (Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury is also related, having been one in all O’Leary’s AD’s at UCF.) O’Leary, who in seven seasons with the Jackets completed within the Prime 25 5 instances, gained a share of an ACC championship and have become solely the third coach in class historical past to beat Georgia three years in a row, holds an affect on Collins and his employees that’s unmistakable.
“One of many greatest issues (realized from O’Leary) is consideration to element, work ethic, uncovering each stone, ensuring that you just’re trying on the sport from each single perspective, don’t take something with no consideration in preparation, ensuring your gamers are doing all of the little issues the precise method,” Collins mentioned.
Collins received an up-close view – two years as a GA at Tech after which one other as tight ends coach (1999-2001) and later two years at UCF (2008-09) as linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator.
Collins made a rapid impression on O’Leary with traits that gained’t shock anybody who has witnessed him in motion since his rent at Tech in December 2018. O’Leary discovered his GA to be enthusiastic, captivated with soccer, an efficient communicator with gamers and detail-oriented.
Collins additionally confirmed a thirst for data, in keeping with O’Leary, peppering him and different coaches with questions in regards to the rationale behind completely different selections they’d made.
“You may see he had a future forward of himself,” O’Leary mentioned. “Very detailed man, good technician and clearly very enthusiastic together with his gamers.”
Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins was an assistant coach at Central Florida from 2008-09, serving as linebackers coach/recruiting coordinator for coach George O’Leary.
Credit score: UCF Athletics
Credit score: UCF Athletics
Collins, O’Leary mentioned, was a “soldier” who adopted orders and was on prime of his work.
“It doesn’t shock me the issues he’s doing as a result of he was all the time a go-getter,” O’Leary mentioned. “He was all the time searching for the subsequent step to make him higher, to make this system higher. I believed he did an excellent job with that.”
Working for O’Leary, placing in lengthy hours was requisite. As Collins joked of his two years at UCF: “and I used to be teaching for George O’Leary, in order that was actually extra like 14 years.”
Among the many duties that O’Leary gave Collins and all GA’s – making ready the “bible,” as O’Leary known as it. It was an in-depth abstract of the approaching opponent – formations, tendencies, performs, defensive coverages, personnel and extra. They broke down three video games and a fourth after the opponent’s sport Saturday. That was along with the self-scouting work that O’Leary additionally demanded.
“It was three, 4 inches thick,” O’Leary mentioned of his bible.
Georgia Tech offensive line coach Brent Key coached at Central Florida from 2005-14 in a wide range of roles.
Credit score: UCF at
Credit score: UCF at
In addition to Collins, Key additionally was a GA for O’Leary (at Tech and later at UCF), and Thacker and Glover have been GA’s for him at UCF. Whereas GA’s have been assigned to a place coach, O’Leary tried to broaden their data base.
“I wished to verify they realized the entire sport, not only one little part,” O’Leary mentioned. “That’s why somebody like Geoff superior fairly shortly as a result of he understands offense and protection and particular groups, and he’s handled all three of these areas.”
It was a demanding office.
Mentioned Thacker, who was O’Leary’s GA in 2008-09 contemporary out of Furman, “He treats everyone pretty. Which may be good or unhealthy at moments, however he treats everyone the identical and creates a really powerful surroundings.”
The toughness that outlined O’Leary has been carried ahead by means of Collins in a staff mantra, “Put the ball down.” O’Leary acknowledged Collins’ use of “#PtBD” (the saying, if not the hashtag) as a mindset that he had tried to impart to his personal groups at Tech and UCF early on as he heard grumbles from the offense and protection in regards to the different unit’s shortcomings.
“I mentioned, ‘Look, this can be a staff,’” O’Leary mentioned. “’I don’t care the place the ball is. Simply exit and play protection.’”
Collins, Key, Thacker and Glover are however 4 branches of O’Leary’s prodigious teaching tree. Maybe essentially the most notable names are Houston Texans coach Invoice O’Brien and Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone. True to himself, O’Leary mentioned his first requirement in a rent was a willingness to work.
“I might by no means rent anyone who’s lazy,” he mentioned. “That’s the very first thing I attempted to do, is get a learn on folks – what are their work habits, what time do they count on to get to work, do I’ve to inform them to hold round and get issues performed?”
So it was that O’Leary, after watching the Jackets rally Saturday from a 10-0 deficit to defeat Florida State 16-13 in an effort lengthy on toughness and energy, was moved to textual content his congratulations to his former assistant on the win. Years have handed since O’Leary was Collins’ boss, however the textual content message hit residence.
For O’Leary to say that he was pleased with Collins and revered the way in which his staff performs, “that’s fairly particular, it’s fairly cool,” Collins mentioned, visibly moved.
On Saturday, O’Leary would possibly have the ability to share his respect in particular person.