Collins, Temple players reflect following first match as opponents

Former Temple football coach Geoff Collins said he built a “really good roster” in his two years at Temple.

Former Temple football head coach and current Georgia Tech football head coach Geoff Collins talks with his team and staff at the start of the game against Temple at Lincoln Financial Field on Sept. 28, 2019. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

During Temple’s 38-22 loss to the University at Buffalo on Sept. 21, Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins’ daughter was singing the Temple fight song.

“I hope she wasn’t up there doing that today,” Collins said following Temple’s 24-2 win over the Yellow Jackets on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field.

Collins coached the Owls for two seasons before departing in December 2018 for Georgia Tech, where he was a graduate assistant, tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator in the late 1990s and early 2000s. 

Collins said he did his best to compartmentalize in the weeks leading up to the game, but admitted it was “surreal” to see players he had worked with for two seasons as opponents.

“I obviously tried to hide my emotions throughout the last two weeks,” Collins said. “But you know, seeing the guys that we were blessed to coach the last two years…now that it’s over, it was surreal.”

Collins met with redshirt-junior quarterback Anthony Russo and redshirt-junior defensive end Quincy Roche in the hallway underneath Lincoln Financial Field following his postgame press conference. Both players received hugs from Collins and his wife, Jennifer. 

“We spent two years of our life with [Collins and his staff],” Russo said. “That was our family for two years. So it was a little different playing against them, but we have nothing but all the respect in the world for them.”

“I got into [coaching] to impact the lives of young men,” Collins said. “And when you do that and that’s your focus, in helping them get better in every single phase of their lives, you develop deep, meaningful, lasting relationships.”

Collins recruited freshman running back Re’Mahn Davis to Temple, yet never had the chance to coach him.

“I think Coach Collins is a great man,” Davis said. “Thank you to him, he gave me this opportunity to be here.”

Davis led the Owls with 135 rushing yards on 29 carries against Georgia Tech. He has recorded more than 340 rushing yards so far this season, as well as 90 receiving yards. 

Collins also praised Temple’s defense, which did not allow the Yellow Jackets any points. A safety in the third quarter led to the only points for Georgia Tech.

“We knew coming into the game, what a talented roster that was, having developed that team,” Collins said.

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