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Stacy Collins Puts Phys Ed Background To Use As Penn State’s Special Teams Coordinator

Penn State football’s new special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach is looking forward to hitting the ground running as he starts his new role with the Nittany Lions.

Stacy Collins, who replaced Joe Lorig after leaving for the same role at Oregon, brings 24 years of collegiate coaching experience with him to Happy Valley following stints at Utah State, South Dakota School of Mines, and Portland State.

The Oregon native wasted no time getting to know his players and their families after joining Penn State.

“When I got hired, we jumped on FaceTime,” Collins said in a press conference Wednesday. “I got a chance to spend some time talking with [student-athletes] and got a chance to spend some time with their parents right away.”

Collins later noted that he is looking forward to going through spring practices with his players to see them in a “true setting.”

“I mean not just exactly how they kick or snap, but what their makeup is, what makes them tick, and how they can learn,” he said.

Collins is inheriting a solid special teams unit from Lorig, who helped develop punters Jordan Stout and Blake Gillikin and returners Jahan Dotson and KJ Hamler. In fact, Collins already has his own relationship with Lorig, as they played and served as graduate assistants together at Western Oregon.

“There’s a lot of overlap,” he said, noting that the two are already friends off the gridiron. “Special teams is a small world out there. We exchanged ideas and thoughts, so there will be a lot of things that are similar in a lot of ways. I certainly did talk to [Lorig], and he had nothing but unbelievable things to say about Penn State, Coach Franklin, this staff, and this area.”

Where Collins brings the most value to Penn State is using his education background to teach his players. After completing his degree in physical education while playing linebacker for Western Oregon, Collins is ready to leverage that background in Happy Valley.

“For me, coaching is all about teaching,” he said. “We’re going to hang our hat on being great teachers. The game of football changes, the schematics change, but the teaching progressions are what are key to them…We want to be able to change the game throughout special teams. We want to be able to develop players on and off the field that can change the game in all facets.”

Collins further explained that he wants his unit to perfectly serve as the gap between offense and defense.

“In my role, you’re really that gap in between,” he said. “You’re dealing with everybody on the football team. How can you be that piece between the offense the defense that brings everybody together from a player standpoint, and then certainly from a production standpoint? By winning the field position battle, allowing our offense to be in starting field position that gives them the most chance to be successful. And it’s the same thing from the defensive standpoint.”

It’s no secret that recruiting is an area that James Franklin and his staff pride themselves in, and Collins has the potential to open a new door for Penn State recruiting out west. During his stint as head coach at South Dakota School of Mines, Collins recruited players from all over the country, and even internationally.

“[Recruiting] is about the relationships that you can create, certainly with the players but, just as importantly, with the parents and coaches,” Collins said. “I went throughout the United States from Alaska, Hawaii, all the way over to recruiting internationally with those relationships. I’m going to create those relationships with the players and their parents,and really create that genuine of it.”

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About the Author

Frankie Marzano

Frankie is a senior accounting and economics major from Long Island, NY. You can probably recognize him as the typical Italian-American with slicked back black hair. He is an avid fan of the New York Rangers and Mets, along with every Penn State Athletics team. Follow him on Twitter @frankiemarzano for obnoxious amounts of Rangers and Penn State content or email him at [email protected]

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