CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- After a promising freshman season, Cayson Collins didn’t win the starting linebacker spot in training camp and seemed relegated to a backup role on the 2015 team. That changed at Georgia Tech.
It was Collins that forced the game-changing fumble. It was Collins that made the highlight hits. And it was Collins that tied for a team-high 10 tackles on the day.
“He had great practices all week," head coach Larry Fedora said. "(Linebackers coach John Papuchis) has been holding him to a standard, and he hadn’t been meeting that standard in practice, therefore he hadn’t played as much. He finally met that standard this past week in practice, therefore he played more, and he had an opportunity to make a lot of plays. I’m hoping he understands that, and that he will continue to do that, because he is a very athletic linebacker that can make a lot of plays for us."
Collins attributes his recent progress to the defensive coaches - citing Papuchis, Gene Chizik and Charlton Warren - that have been pushing him in practice.
"I've never been coached as hard as I've been the last couple months," Collins said. "Coach Chizik, I feel like it’s a blessing to have him as a coach. He put it on me to be more physical in practice. He would tell me day in and day out that I have the body to do a lot of special things... I just had to pick it up physically and understand the defense more.
"I did that in practice and I got to see the results on Saturday."
For the rest of the interview, watch the above video.