Florida State defensive coordinator candidate: Geoff Collins?

We continue to profile coaches who may be candidates for the vacant Florida State defensive coordinator job.

Well this is interesting. I have a pretty good list of names we'll be discussing over the next week or two, but this, from CoashingSearch.com, was not among them.

Geoff Collins (Mississippi State - co-defensive coordinator / linebackers): Although Collins doesn't call the plays for the Bulldogs, he did an incredible job at FIU before coming to Starkville. He turned one of the nation's worst defenses at FIU into the best in the Sun Belt. He has spent time at UCF, so he has plenty of ties to the state, and he spent one year in an off-the-field role at Alabama under Nick Saban, so he knows how that operation works. He also knows people on the FSU staff.

As best I can tell, Collins has nine years of defensive coordinator experience at various levels as well as as experience coaching defensive backs and linebackers. He is 41 years old and a Georgia native. Here is his Mississippi State bio.

When head coach Dan Mullen had a spot to fill on his defensive staff, he set his sights on one of the rising stars on that side of the ball. Geoff Collins came to Mississippi State in 2011 as the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach after putting together a remarkable resume during stints at Florida International and UCF.

Collins immediately raised the bar at linebackers for the MSU squad, coaching Cameron Lawrence to 123 total tackles in 2011, ranking top five in the SEC. In addition, former walk-on Brandon Wilson reached 94 tackles last season under Collins' tutelage.

In his year before joining the Bulldogs, Collins' defensive unit led the Sun Belt in total defense, scoring defense, pass efficiency defense and turnover margin; all a remarkable accomplishment for a group that finished 119th nationally in total defense and 111th in scoring defense in 2009. The Panthers' sack totals nearly doubled, and the pass defense improved from 108th nationally to 32nd in 2010. For his efforts, Collins was a finalist for the Broyles Award - given annually to the nation's top assistant coach.

Collins made the move to FIU after a pair of seasons as the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at UCF. In his first season in Orlando, Collins helped UCF's defense rank second in Conference USA in total and scoring defense. Before joining the Knights' staff, Collins spent a year as the director of player personnel at Alabama. The previous year at Georgia Tech, Collins' efforts led to the Yellow Jackets best recruiting class in their storied history.

In 2002 Collins became the defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach at his alma mater, Western Carolina, and inherited one of the worst defensive units statistically in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision. In 2003, under Collins' direction, the Catamount defense emerged as one of the best in the nation.

In 2005, the Western Carolina defense was ranked No. 1 nationally in pass defense along with being ranked 18th nationally in total defense. Collins' unit also finished ranked first in the Southern Conference in total defense and pass defense along with several other defensive categories.

Prior to returning to Western Carolina, Collins spent three years with current UCF head coach George O'Leary at Georgia Tech. Collins began his career on the Flats as the defensive graduate assistant working with the linebackers in 1999 and with the defensive backs in 2000.

Before his days at Georgia Tech, Collins spent two years as the defensive coordinator and linebackers and secondary coach at Albright College in Reading, Pa. In 1997, the NCAA Division III program boasted the leading defense in its conference and ranked in the top 10 nationally in all defensive categories.

In 1996, Collins served as an assistant coach at Fordham, working with the outside linebackers while also serving as the junior varsity defensive coordinator. He also spent one season (1995) as an assistant coach at Franklin (N.C.) High School while student teaching in the Macon County Public Schools.

During his playing days at Western Carolina, Collins tallied 194 tackles as an outside linebacker and defensive back from 1989-92. He was the team's fifth-leading tackler as a junior with 68, while registering 6.0 tackles for loss. As a senior, he helped Western to a 7-4 record, logging 62 total takedowns and 5.0 tackles for loss. He began his coaching career as a student assistant on the Western Carolina staff in 1993.

A native of Conyers, Ga., who attended Rockdale County High School, Collins earned a bachelor's degree from Western Carolina in sport management and exercise science in 1994, and then completed the education curriculum in 1995. He did postgraduate work in psychology at Fordham University and Georgia Tech.

Coaching Experience
2011- Mississippi State (Co-Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers)
2010: Florida International (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)
1999-2001: Georgia Tech (Graduate Assistant)
1997-98: Albright College (Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers)
1995: Franklin (N.C.) High School
1993-94: Western Carolina (Student Assistant)

Personal Information
Birthdate: April 10, 1971
Hometown: Conyers, Ga.
Education: 1994 - Bachelor's degree from Western Carolina
Wife: Jennifer

Thoughts? I really don't know much about him.

Mississippi State had a very good defense last year, but not as good this year.

I do know that he runs a 4-3 defense with an emphasis on size, which fits with what Fisher wants at least in some respects (see depth chart below).

DE 92 KALEB EULLS 6-4 280 SO.
91 Preston Smith 6-6 245 So.
DT 97 JOSH BOYD 6-3 300 SR.
93 P.J. Jones 6-3 280 So.
DT 98 CURTIS VIRGES 6-3 305 SO.
74 Dewayne Cherrington 6-3 325 Sr.
DE 90 DENICO AUTRY 6-5 255 JR.
96 Shane McCardell 6-5 260 Sr.
LB 51 DEONTAE SKINNER 6-2 245 JR.
12 Chris Hughes 6-1 225 Jr.
LB 50 BENARDRICK MCKINNEY 6-5 235 RFR.
52 Ferlando Bohanna 6-0 225 So.
LB 10 CAMERON LAWRENCE 6-3 230 SR.
22 Matthew Wells 6-2 215 So.
CB 13 JOHNTHAN BANKS 6-2 185 SR.
24 Jamerson Love 5-10 175 So.
SS 25 COREY BROOMFIELD 5-10 180 SR.
30 Jay Hughes 5-11 190 So.
20 Louis Watson 5-11 185 Sr.
FS 5 NICKOE WHITLEY 6-1 205 JR.
38 Dee Arrington 6-1 215 So.
CB 9 DARIUS SLAY 6-1 190 SR.
37 Taveze Calhoun 6-1 180 RFr.

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