Dave Patenaude among three layoffs of Georgia Tech staff
In three seasons, Patenaude, who also coached quarterbacks, oversaw an attack that improved his performance as Tech went from coach Paul Johnson’s optional offense to a pro-style program, but the Jackets struggled continuously in the third downs and in the red zone. Tech is 12th in the ACC for third down conversion rate (35.6%) and 13th for touchdown rate in Red Zone possessions (48.7%). With several offensive players either absent or playing with injuries and Tech facing exceptional defenses, ending the season with the team’s first straight shutout losses since 1957 has been a disheartening decline.
Burton and Popovich oversaw a secondary for the Yellow Jackets that underperformed throughout the 2021 season. Although they started the season with four returning starters with over 100 combined starts, the Jackets’ defensive backs performed an interception throughout the entire 12-game season and made some coverage errors that contributed to the opposition’s big passes. With an inconsistent pass rush, Tech ranked second to last in the ACC in passing games of 20 yards or more with 52.
Beyond his role as security coach, Burton played an important role in organizing the Jackets’ pass defense. Popovich also had a role as a special teams coach.
These are the first changes Collins made to his coaching staff in his three seasons at Tech. It’s a dark day for everyone involved. Burton is a tech graduate (just like his wife) who graduated from Greater Atlanta Christian School and played for the 2001-04 Yellow Jackets, the first season that Collins was on the coaching staff. They were on Coach Chan Gailey’s staff in 2006, Burton as graduate assistant and Collins as director of player personnel. Burton joined Collins’ team at Temple in 2018 and came with him to Tech after that season.
Patenaude’s association with Collins dates back to 1996, when they were coaches together at Fordham. He was Collins’ coordinator at Temple and also came to Tech with Collins. Popovich and Collins coached together at Florida International in 2010, Collins hiring him to an assistant coaching position at Boise State. All three were in their first field coaching positions at a power conference school, not to mention graduate assistant positions.
These are the first steps of the offseason Collins has taken as he continues his efforts in his stated goal of leading Tech to the elite realm of college football, a station that seems distant as the Jackets end the season at Tie for Duke with worst ACC record.