For the first time in 14 years, Frank Solich had to make a new hire at a coordinator position Tuesday morning when long-time defensive coordinator Jimmy Burrow announced his retirement.
Ohio linebackers coach Ron Collins will step in for Burrow, keeping the continuity Solich has established in Athens over the past decade and a half. Collins has been on Solich and Burrow’s defensive staff since 2011.
Here are five things to know about Collins:
1. How he got to Ohio
Collins arrived at Ohio in 2011 after a stint as the defensive coordinator of Colorado, where he served in that role from 2006 under coach Dan Hawkins. Collins followed Hawkins to Colorado from Boise State, where Collins served as the defensive coordinator from 2002 to 2005. Prior to his time in Boise, Idaho, Collins was a secondary coach and defensive backs coach at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
2. Success at Boise State
While at Boise State, Collins led a defensive effort that was one of the most dominant Western Athletic Conference defenses in the 21st century. His 2002 defense headed up the WAC in eight categories, and that was just the beginning. That defense finished 16th in the country in rushing defense and 17th in scoring defense. The Broncos’ 2003 defense was even better, though. The unit finished in the top-20 in six major defensive categories. But 2004 got better. The Broncos were top-10 nationally in three defensive categories. And his defense stayed strong in 2005 before he and most of Hawkins’ staff moved on to Colorado.
3. Linebacking pedigree
Collins has coached some of the best linebackers in recent memory for the Bobcats. He headed a position group that produced Blair Brown, now of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Quentin Poling, now of the Miami Dolphins. He also coached Jovon Johnson, who is currently a graduate assistant for the Bobcats.
4. Ties to Burrow
Collins has direct ties to Jimmy Burrow, which ultimately led to their strong relationship in Ohio’s defensive meetings. Burrow was a defensive assistant at Iowa State in 1987 under coach Jim Walden, who coached him when Collins played college football. Collins was fresh out of college, and he was a graduate assistant coach for Burrow.
5. Playing days
Prior to his coaching days, Collins was a defensive player at Cashmere High School, where he was a football captain before graduating in 1984. Collins played defensive back at Washington State from 1984 to 1986. He was a team captain in 1986 for the Cougars.