The FIU offensive coordinator search continues and double-checking before posting on here, but one of the more solid candidates for the OC job -- previously not listed on the GPP -- might emerge for FIU. Stay tuned. Time to meet your new defensive coordinator, Geoff Collins.
My first impression talking to GC (yeah, he's got the same initials of an on-campus FIU building) was that this is a man ready to get to work judging by the energy he spoke with while in his car driving down the Turnpike to Miami on Friday night. He reminded a little of MC, but with a southern accent -- after all GC is from Conyers, Georgia.
But don't hear it from me, let GC tell us about himself:
PP: What did you know about FIU before you heard about the defensive coordinator opening?
GC: I knew it is an up-and-coming program. I've heard about Coach Cristobal's energy and enthusiasm. And I know that FIU is located in an area where there is not a better place to recruit than in South Florida. And to be that Division I school where your backyard is the best recruitiing area you can't match that.
PP: Did you recruit the South Florida area while at Central Florida?
GC: No I was in charge of Orlando to the north in the state of Florida. I also was in charge of south Georgia and from Atlanta to the northeast corridor of Georgia.
PP: I'm sure you got to see some film on the 2009 FIU defense when you went through your interview process. What are your initial thoughts of last year's FIU D?
GC: I thought there were some talented individuals on the defense. One thing I expected to see before we even popped the tape in was speed and when I saw the film there was definitely speed on that defense. The other thing I noticed was that against good programs I saw the kids really hungry and ready to step up to play the big programs they played last season. My job is to make them better and help them make plays.
PP: Reading through your bio it seems everywhere you have been and regardless of what position you held the teams you have been associated with have improved. Why do you think you've had the success you've had in your career?
GC: I've wanted to be a football coach ever since I was a kid. I've always studied the game. I have a passion for the game. And in whatever role I have been fortunate to be involved with in football I have always strived to be the absolute best in that role. The standard of excellence I expect from myself, I expect from those around me.
PP: Under coach Cristobal, FIU has run a 4-3 defense. Will that remain the Panthers defense in 2010 or will we see other alignments?
GC: I've been exposed to a lot of defenses during my coaching career: 4-3, 3-4, 8-man front. What I first want to do is study the Sun Belt Conference and the offense each team in the conference runs. Then I will figure out what is the best defense we can employ with the athletes we have on campus. I want to look at the defensive personnel we have coming back and the new personnel arriving on campus.
One thing I will tell you the nature of my personality is that I don't let other offenses dictate to me what I do on defense. I want to dictate with my defense what the opposing offenses do. I want other offenses worrying about the FIU defense.
PP: I was checking out some of the past articles about you in the Orlando Sentinel while you were at UCF. It seems one of your favorite phrases is "Get your chili, hot!" What does it mean and how did it come about?
GC: I'm a very exciteable guy. I have a lot of energy and enthusiasm. If you can't be excited about college football, then why are you in this line of work? As a student-athlete, you have your scholarship paid to study for an education and play football. And as a coach, you are out on the field coaching football for a living. What better job is there?
I got the chili saying from Western Carolina offensive line coach Drew O'Daniel when I was the defensive coordinator there. OD, that's what we called coach O'Daniel, is a big country guy and he used to say it to his offensive linemen. I thought it was a pretty good thing to fire up his players. Get excited, have some energy and enthusiasm.
PP: The Orlando Sentinel also called you a "Twitter superstar". What was that all about?
GC: As the recruiting coordinator I could sense and feel the energy surrounding the program. I got a Twitter account and posted sometimes. When I posted it was usually colorful stuff about our program and always positive.
PP: Is the Twitter account making its way down the Turnpike with you?
GC: We'll see how it evolves. Right now I got a lot of work to do and I can't wait to get started.
PP: Thanks coach Collins for your time and we'll see you on National Signing Day or at spring practice.
GC: No problem, your welcome Pete. Oh and by the way Pete, "Get your chili, hot!"
Mike: Pete, Does Apollo Wright work with any of the position coaches or does devote full time to special teams only? Is Geoff Collins going to bring in new DB and DL position coaches? Any talk about eliminating one offensive position coach and adding a defensive position coach? Will the new OC be bringing in a couple of position coaches?
PP: Wright helps Jeff Popovich with the DBs. Collins is not going to bring in any position coaches. The only position left to fill on the staff is the OC job.
Miri: Pete, are they going to put up the banners for the retired numbers again at the arena?
PP: Been told they are. Plus, heard that there will be two video scoreboards installed in May one on the east side of the arena and the other on the west side.
pikedanny: Pete, I asked this once before and it lost in the shuffle - was hoping you could give me an answer. What happened to the new jerseys the Men's Basketball Team was wearing last year? I noticed Isiah took their names off their jerseys but did they have to switch back to the old plain looking ones?
PP: Not sure what new jerseys you are referring to. Here on the right at the top is last season's home uniform worn by Alex Galindo and below it is this season's worn by Marvin Roberts. They look the same to me, with the exception of no last names on the back of the jerseys. Maybe you're referring to the gold jerseys?