Update: MSU confirms that Geoff Collins is no longer with Mississippi State:
Confirmed Geoff Collins is no longer defensive coordinator at Mississippi State. Will not coach MSU in Orange Bowl.— Bob Carskadon (@bobcarskadon) December 16, 2014
Original: They may not have taken Mullen from us, but that didn't mean that Florida was going to completely leave us alone this coaching search season.
SI.com is reporting this morning that new Florida coach Jim McElwain has hired away Mississippi State defensive coordinator Geoff Collins for the same position at Florida:
Mississippi State DC Geoff Collins is expected to accept the same position at Florida per a source.— Thayer Evans (@ThayerEvansSI) December 16, 2014
The report will likely catch most State fans off guard as we've all collectively been watching Dan Mullen and a possible pursuit from Michigan. No contact has been made between those two, according to Dan at least, and instead it looks like Florida will come in and sneak an up-and-coming defensive coordinator away from Mullen and MSU.
I have to say that this move is really surprising given how close I thought Collins could have been to taking a head coaching position within the next several years. Mullen did throw his DC and defensive staff under the bus pretty good after the Egg Bowl, but I doubt that this move is solely based off of one incident. Like I've always maintained, every coach is motivated by different goals. Collins obviously saw an opportunity he liked at Florida, and while we may not like it, we certainly wish him the best.
Collins, who originally hails from Georgia, does have some experience coaching in the sunshine state with previous stints at Florida International and Central Florida. Collins made around $625k per year following his two year extension signed earlier this year following some reported pursuit by Florida State.
If this report does in fact pan out, it will be interesting to see where Dan turns for his next DC. Several formerly successful MSU DCs are currently available: one older (Ellis Johnson) and one much younger (Manny Diaz). Johnson was run out of Auburn after they were roughed up in the Iron Bowl, and he could be nearing the age where he just hangs it up. Diaz, to me at least, is a more interesting case to watch. He left State for Texas in a move that proved highly unsuccessful, but he's slowly built himself back up as a respected DC. His Louisiana Tech defense finished 32nd in total defense last year, 50 spots ahead of Mississippi State. Of course, Dan could always go after new blood; we really won't know which way he'll go on this for a little while.
If you are truly gone, coach Collins, we wish you the best of luck at Florida (except for when we play you), and we will never forget the CANOSWAG that you gave us (and that recruit):