Coach Speak: Opposing ACC coaches talk 2020 season

With the start of Florida State’s football season now days away we thought we would listen to what the head coaches from the Seminoles’ first three ACC opponents, Georgia Tech’s Geoff Collins, Miami’s Manny Diaz and Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, have been saying about their teams in fall camp.

Georgia Tech – Geoff Collins

Georgia Tech’s second-year head coach believes he will continue to see noticeable improvement from his program in 2020.

“I have confidence in the way that we’re going to continue to go about our business to get better every single day, and when we do play them in the future, the team that they see is not going to be the team that they saw back in November after Thanksgiving,” Collins told SI.com prior to the start of fall camp.

The Yellow Jackets entered fall camp with four players, including one-time FSU commit Jeff Sims, vying for the starting quarterback job despite the fact that they return sophomore James Graham, who took over the starting duties midway through the 2019 season.

“We don’t worry about who the starter is,” said Collins, as reported by the Associated Press. “We just worry about who’s going to contribute and how we can package things for their success and our team’s success.”

Collins also has spoken on the unusual offseason, which included not knowing for certain who would ultimately be on their schedule.

“Normally, over the summer, you break down all of the teams you’re going to play,” Collins told the Georgia Tech media, according to SI.com. “Offense, defense, special teams, you get a full break down. As we’ve been going later in the summer, and we’ve heard of the different possibilities, we started breaking down Florida State, we started breaking down teams that were (in) relatively close proximity of us. Whoever they tell us we’re going to play, we’re going to prepare, put the ball down and be the best versions of ourselves we can be.”

The Yellow Jackets head coach was also recently asked about what he knew about FSU coach Mike Norvell and the schemes he utilized offensively. Collins was in the AAC as the head coach at Temple while Norvell was the head coach at Memphis. The two never faced each other head-to-head but Collins did get a chance to watch Norvell’s teams on film.

“Schematically, physicality, culturally impressed with what they do as an organization,” Collins told the Atlanta Journal Constitution in late August.

Miami – Manny Diaz

“I was pleased with the night,” Diaz said after the Hurricanes’ third scrimmage on Friday night, according to the Miami Herald. “It’s the first time we played as a mock game…..Mechanically we were sound in terms of having the right guys on the field procedurally.

Diaz was also pleased by the performance of graduate transfer quarterback D’Eriq King in Miami’s final scrimmage before their opener against UAB on Thursday night.

“D’Eriq was very sharp, 24 for 34 for 330 (yards) and six touchdown passes and then nine rushes for 84 yards,” said Diaz. “You know you are starting to see his ability, not only with his arm but with his feet as well.”

Miami’s second-year head coach appeared on FOX College Football’s Big Noon Kickoff recently and spoke about the strength of the ACC in 2020.

“Obviously (Notre Dame is) a team that returns a lot of production as well and is expecting to have a good season,” Diaz said on FOX. “This is gonna be a good season in the ACC anyway. There’s a lot of returning outstanding players, a lot of teams that no one’s really talking about that are really loaded for this year. So we knew this was gonna be a heck of a season regardless of going to 10 straight league games.”

Notre Dame – Brian Kelly

The Fighting Irish will be among the teams fighting for the ACC Championship this season and Kelly says his team is excited about that opportunity:

“It’s never been a part of our goals because this is the first time for us,” Kelly was reported as saying by the Miami Herald. “We didn’t have a column on the goal chart, so we’d have to go back and redo it. Our players are excited though, quite honestly, that they get a chance to play for a championship — an ACC championship.”

Kelly has senior quarterback Ian Book returning as his starter and the Irish head coach believes his signal caller could develop into one of the best players in the nation after throwing for over 3,000 yards and running for over 500 yards last season.

“He’s got a great grasp of (the offense),” Kelly told WNDU.com in late August. “It’s much more of the nuances of the position when you have a guy like Ian Book coming back. Changing cadence, changing up where his eyes are looking to freeze somebody in the secondary and go somewhere else. Those are things you don’t do unless you have a great grasp of the offense and what we want to do. Now, we can really have some fun here and focus on some of the nuances of the position that separate you and make you one of the best players in college football.”

Notre Dame must replace its leading rusher from a year ago, Tony Book, and it sounds as if will be running back by committee this season. Sophomore Kyren Williams is projected win the starting job according to at least one report by SI.com but Kelly indicated there will be competition during the season.

“We’re not just going to feature one back,” Kelly told IndyStar.com. “But Kyren’s done a great job.”

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