SDS will look at new assistant coaches around the SEC, highlighting their accomplishments, achievements, history and tough tasks ahead of them. First up, Florida’s Geoff Collins.

Geoff Collins, Florida Gators Defensive Coordinator

Coaching history:

  • 2015 Florida Defensive Coordinator
  • 2013-14 Mississippi State Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
  • 2011-12 Mississippi State Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
  • 2010 FIU Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
  • 2008-09 UCF Linebackers/Recruiting Coordinator
  • 2007 Alabama Director of Player Personnel
  • 2006 Georgia Tech Recruiting Coordinator
  • 2002-05 Western Carolina Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
  • 1999-01 Georgia Tech Graduate Assistant
  • 1997-98 Albright College Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
  • 1996 Fordham Linebackers
  • 1995 Franklin (N.C.) High School Assistant Coach
  • 1993-94 Western Carolina Student Assistant

I’ve called Geoff Collins — dubbed the ‘Minister of Mayhem’ — the SEC’s most underrated coach for the last two seasons. Collins rarely received the praise at Mississippi State that he justly deserved.

Under Collins’ tutelage — and once he dropped the co-coordinator title, MSU’s defense finished No. 4 in total defense in 2013. In 2014, he also helped MSU to its first 10-win season since 1999. Collins had a major hand in developing soon-to-be first-round pick in linebacker Benardrick McKinney and major draft candidate defensive lineman Preston Smith. As the defensive coordinator at FIU, Collins was a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s top assistant coach.

Collins has proven it at other schools around the country, and now, he will join one of the best programs in college football, not to mention the most fertile state in all of recruiting.

The beautiful thing about Collins and Florida is that he doesn’t have to transform the Gators’ defensive unit into something great. It has been very good for the last four years under Will Muschamp. Collins has to simply make sure the Florida players execute the plays and know exactly what to accomplish on every play.

He runs a similar style of defense as Muschamp, often with a hybrid safety/linebacker and a hybrid defensive end/linebacker who can get after the quarterback, often called the Buck position under Muschamp. See, Collins and Muschamp come from the same basic tutelage under Nick Saban. Collins coached under Saban at Alabama in 2007, in a Director of Player Personnel role, but you can bet your boots he laid the groundwork for his future defense during that time.

Collins would probably point to his time at UCF from 2008 and 2009 as what furthered his career the most.

Florida was known for its secondary play throughout the Muschamp era, and that will continue, as the Gators are loaded in the defensive backfield. The defensive line play has been solid over the last several years, but Collins will be much more aggressive than Muschamp ever was. The one noticeably area where the Gators haven’t had great play has been at linebacker. Under Collins, however, this position should improve and further develop.

Geoff Collins hopes to bring his aggressive mentality into making Florida’s defense even scarier in 2015 and beyond.