Legendary Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets head coach Bobby Dodd once said, “Love your players or get out of coaching.” As the Ramblin’ Wreck headed into the locker room after a 52-14 loss at Clemson in Death Valley, head coach Geoff Collins hugged every player as they walked off the field. Collins was proud of the way his players competed in adverse circumstances Aug. 29.

“I know there was a lot of talk afterward about me interacting with the guys afterward, but that was just a spontaneous, genuine appreciation of all the hard work they’ve been through transforming this culture,” Collins said Monday. “Going from 11 years of a triple-option offense to running a spread-based attack against a really good defense … I was just really proud of them. Obviously, we don’t want to be satisfied with not winning football games because that’s what we’re trying to do every single week, but the effort, the competitiveness, and them playing together and for each other was there throughout.”

As the Yellow Jackets prepare for the South Florida Bulls this Saturday, Georgia Tech will face a team that was humiliated at home 49-0 by the No. 17 Wisconsin Badgers. Already at 0-1, the Bulls don’t want to fall behind Memphis, Central Florida and Cincinnati in a sneaky good American Athletic Conference. Collins knows a lot about South Florida based on his time coaching the Temple Owls. 

“A lot of offensive talent coming back, I think they have nine starters coming back,” said Collins. “A lot of speed. A quarterback (Blake Barnett) with a big, strong, powerful arm. They do a lot of good things offensively, schematically, so we understand we’ve got our work cut out for us. And defensively, they’re very multiple but still very sound. I think the same thing on both sides of the ball, they’ve got really good team speed and they play really hard.”

All three quarterbacks, Tobias Oliver, James Graham and Lucas Johnson will play against South Florida. 

“There’s a good mojo in the room together,” Collins said. “They work really well together. They’re highly competitive, which I love about all three of them, but they’re still team-oriented guys and I want what’s best for the team and they understand the multiplicity of the attack that we can have with all three of them is a differentiating factor moving forward.”

Tre Swilling is a player to watch for the Jackets this week. He’s a cornerback out of New Orleans and if the surname sounds familiar, his father, Pat, played defensive end for the Yellow Jackets from 1982-1985. Collins raved about his intensity and willingness to compete even though Clemson was dominating the scoreboard. 

South Florida (0-1) will take on Georgia Tech (0-1) this Saturday afternoon at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Kickoff at The Flats is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Georgia Texh Yellow Jackets Head Coach Geoff Collins is re-branding the football team's culture while installing a new offense. Photo by: John Bazemore/The Associated Press

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...

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