By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor
Geoff Collins earned ECAC Coach of the Year in his first season as Temple’s head coach in 2017. Collins navigated through a midseason quarterback change and led the Owls to three wins in the last four games to gain bowl eligibility. Prior to coming to Temple, Collins was the only coach to be a Broyles Award nominee, given to the nation’s best assistant coach, at three schools – FIU (2010), Mississippi State (2014) and Florida (2015).
Collins offered his thoughts on coaching high school football in a recent interview with FNF Coaches.
What is your process for evaluating your program during the offseason?
“We’re going through it right now. Once we finish National Signing Day, we take two days off to allow ourselves to regroup and be with our families. Then we’re diving into cut-ups. We watch all of those things. We create a self-scouting notebook for both sides of the ball and special teams. What coverages worked? What plays worked? What led us to win? What led us to losses? We’ll go through rushing yardage, turnovers, penalties. We’re analyzing to find the real reasons we played well or played poorly. We address those in the offseason. We turn over every stone. Our graduate assistants have been hammering away at it for a month, finding our tendencies.”
Have you implemented any new technology into the program this offseason?
“Not really. We do a little virtual reality stuff, the same as everybody else.”
Do you do anything from a professional development standpoint? Any networking?
“What we do is Temple Think Tanks. We invite different staffs from every conference in the country. They come to Philadelphia. Our first one is the defensive staff and head coach from Indiana. Then it’s Vanderbilt, then West Virginia. We have a bunch of school coming. We sit around and talk football for 12 hours. Here’s what we’re facing on offense, and here’s how we handle it. It’s a roundtable, and then we just to another topic. Each person presents for 30 minutes. It’s an open forum with people sharing what they’re doing. We share ideas. Last year, we had Penn State and the Philadelphia Eagles defensive staff, along with six or seven staffs. We make sure there are no common opponents so everybody is free to share information.”
Do you doing anything out of the ordinary with your strength and conditioning program?
“What we do in-season is different from anywhere I’ve been, and I’ve been a lot of great places. Our in-season schedule is as good as anywhere I’ve been. In-season, the guys who play 50 to 70 snaps a game will have a traditional plan with two lifts a week. The guys that play between 15 and 30 plays a week are on a developmental plan. They lift three days a week. The guys who play 15 snaps or less are lifting five times a week. One of the lifts is a Friday morning 6 a.m. team bonding lift. We’re a developmental program, and we maximize the development of our players. Guys went up 50 pounds in the power clean in-season, which is unheard of. Squats went up. That’s an advantage most programs don’t offer.”
What more can high school coaches do to help with the recruiting process?
“High school coaches have to be involved with the families, kids and college coaches. They have to be engaged. The best success high school coaches have in recruiting is when they’re intimately involved. They understand what’s real and what’s not real. They also know the kid as a football player and a person. They can help guide and steer the kid. A coach can see the big picture better than parents, uncles or mentors. They have to be actively involved in helping the kids. The worst thing a player can do is take advice from someone that doesn’t know the business or truth about how different programs run. We all got into this profession because we love kids and want to see people make great decisions for their future. A coach that takes a hands-off approach in recruiting can’t be involved with parents and kids. We know the kids better and understand the system and culture that kid needs to be a part of.”
What’s the best way to become proficient at time management in-season?
“Have a process. Go into the season understanding the process. Which day is red zone? Which day is third down? What is the structure of the week time-wise? Throughout the season, perfect the process. Whenever the time constraints change, evolve the process. Have it and stick to it. I know exactly what I’m doing at 7 o’clock on a Tuesday night. I know that now. You don’t get that time back. Stick to it, and as the season progresses, work to perfect it.”
5 Team Building Drills
Collins designates a three-week period between the recruiting period and spring break for team-building activities. He plans five unique workouts to build camaraderie among the players. Those activities include:
Broad Street Bullies: Some members of the 1970’s Philadelphia Flyers led a hockey-style workout for the players. The workout went for almost two hours.
Signing Day 5-Star Workout: In the spirit of Signing Day, the Temple players do a five-star workout with agility drills at 5 a.m. This allows the coaches to be present for the official start at Signing Day at 7 a.m.
Fireman’s Academy: Members of the Philadelphia Fire Department lead a rigorous workout from the Academy. It builds team work.
Protect the House: The players meet at Temple’s football stadium and do stair climbs, making sure each player touches every step in the stadium. “We want to protect the house and so that’s a way to drill that home,” Collins said.
Bon Voyage Workout: On the Friday before the start of spring break, the Temple players meet for a final workout. “It reminds them how important it is to take care of their bodies,” Collins said. “It builds togetherness above and beyond.”
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