"Geoff is one of the bright defensive minds in all of college football," said Mullen in a statement provided by MSU Media Relations. "We as a staff and I know our players are excited about his extension. We are building something special here at Mississippi State and he understands what it means to be a part of the Bulldog family."
Collins was hired by Mullen for the 2011 season to coach linebackers and as co-coordinator of the overall defense. He was promoted to full coordinator last January, as part of a re-vamped defensive staff that brought in line coach David Turner and cornerbacks coach Deshea Townsend. They joined safeties coach and recruiting coordinator Tony Hughes, the lone member of the defensive staff to have coached all five Mullen seasons at State.
The new staff and coordinator produced a solid unit that was hitting its stride as the 2013 season ended. The Bulldogs ranked fourth in the SEC for both rushing and total defensive yards; and fifth in scoring and passing defense. State came in 18th in NCAA total defense for 2013; this, against a schedule rated a consensus top-five-toughest in the country.
That defense was peaking in November when the Bulldogs battled toe-to-toe with then-#1-ranked Alabama. They allowed just two touchdowns in an overtime win at Arkansas, and did not allow the Ole Miss offense to reach the end zone in four quarters plus overtime of State's dramatic Egg Bowl victory. For good measure the Dog defense shrugged off an opening touchdown drive by Rice, then didn't give up another point the rest of the Liberty Bowl.
"I'm proud to be a Mississippi State Bulldog," said Collins, through MSU Media Relations. "We have a talented group coming back next season and believe it can be a special year for us. I look forward to continuing to develop our players both on and off the football field. Coming off another bowl win and with national signing day approaching the direction of Mississippi State football is bright."
With the defensive staff hopefully locked-in for 2014, Mullen can focus on finalizing his offensive coaching team. The departure last week of quarterbacks coach/coordinator Les Koenning, for a job as receivers coach at his alma mater Texas, leaves an opening. Mullen has not tipped his hand on whether he will promote from within and a position coach take over as coordinator and hire a quarterbacks coach, or look for a new coordinator.
Either way, Mullen has not delayed such changes and decisions over the course of his Mississippi State career. And last week he was able to replace the football strength and conditioning coach in short order and satisfactorily with the hiring of Rick Court from Ohio State. Court is already on the job as the ‘strength' portion of the annual working schedule is now underway with the start of the spring semester.
MSU will be announcing contract adjustments for other members of Mullen's staff, as the coaches on-hand are occupied with January recruiting visits. Some 14 prospects were on campus this past weekend and the rest of the scheduled visits are planned for this coming weekend.
MSU Media Relations provided material for this story.