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Monday October 18th, 2021 10:04AM

Collins says Georgia Tech rebuild on track despite record

By The Associated Press
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ATLANTA (AP) — Geoff Collins talks of his program with the passion of a fire-and-brimstone preacher.

So far, the results at Georgia Tech have lagged far behind his enthusiasm.

The Yellow Jackets (2-4, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) are coming off two dismal performances, and there's not much hope of a turnaround with No. 4 Notre Dame heading to Atlanta on Saturday.

But Collins insists that his rebuilding plan is right on track.

“A lot of people just look at the results," the second-year coach said Tuesday. "They don't want to look at the steps that we're taking and the progress that we're making in this journey. Every single day, we're building something that's very, very special."

Two weeks ago, the Yellow Jackets were routed by top-ranked Clemson 73-7 — the most points allowed by the team since a 94-0 loss to Auburn in 1894.

Georgia Tech followed up with another ugly performance last weekend, committing three critical turnovers in a 48-27 loss at Boston College.

Now, it's on to another daunting challenge. Notre Dame (5-0, 4-0) is a 20-point favorite to hand the Yellow Jackets their third straight loss.

Through it all, Collins said his confidence hasn't wavered.

“I ain't worried about anything on the outside,” he said. “I'm fully aware of exactly where this program is and where this program is going. It's worlds better than it has been. We're going to continue to get better in every single phase."

In all fairness, Collins did face a daunting job when he took over at Georgia Tech, which had operated out of the run-oriented triple option for more than a decade under previous coach Paul Johnson.

The personnel simply wasn't in place to run a more contemporary system, so Collins has been forced to improvise while slowly overhauling his roster through recruiting.

Progress has been extremely slow — a 3-9 record last season, with the program teetering on the edge of two straight losing marks for the first time in more than a quarter-century. The Yellow Jackets had three straight losing seasons from 1992-94 during the short, grim tenure of Bill Lewis.

Collins said he's received words of encouragement from Georgia Tech fans, reminding him that former coaches such as Bill Curry and Bobby Ross struggled early in their tenures before going on to have success.

Curry went 2-19-1 in his first two seasons. Ross was 5-19 after Year 2, but he wound up guiding the Yellow Jackets to an undefeated record and a share of the national championship in 1990.

Collins said he'll remember everything he's heard in these early years — both good and bad.

“A lot of people want to tear you down. A lot of people want to build you up. Some people are going to be in your corner. Some people are going to turn their back on you," he said, before adding defiantly, “I'm keeping score too."

Even though the losses are piling up, Collins pointed to his track record. He had only one previous head coaching job — going 15-10 in two seasons at Temple — but also worked as an assistant for successful Southeastern Conference programs such as Alabama, Florida and Mississippi State.

“All I've been everywhere I've been is successful," Collins said, his raspy voice rising with every word. “All I've done everywhere I've been is won and developed players to the highest level possible. Sometimes, it's quick. Sometimes, it takes a little while to get it going. But it always ends up being positive."

What makes him so confident that he can build one of the nation's top programs at Georgia Tech, a school that struggles for attention in its own state with SEC powerhouse Georgia just 75 miles away?

“I will not stop until it happens," Collins said. “We've won everywhere I've been. We played at the highest levels everywhere I've been."

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963. His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paulnewberry

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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