Offensive Coordinator Tim Albin and linebackers coach Ron Collins chat with reporter following practice
Ron Collins is in his fifth season as linebackers coach at Ohio, after serving the previous five seasons as Colorado’s defensive coordinator.
Since arriving in Athens, Collins has helped the Bobcats claim back-to-back bowl wins, a Mid-American Conference East Division crown and has coached two All-MAC players.
Last season, Ohio linebackers tallied 287 tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, and five interceptions.
Collins helped first-year linebacker Quentin Poling have a breakout freshman campaign. Poling led the team in tackles (89), interceptions (3), and tied for the team lead in sacks (5.0).
Jovon Johnson continued his successful career in the middle of the Bobcat defense leading the team in tackles for loss (10.5) while finishing second on the team with 67 tackles and two interceptions.
In 2013, Collins directed a linebackers’ unit that combined for 282 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and registered 6.5 sacks. Ohio linebackers once again helped the Bobcats rank among the Top 5 in the Mid-American Conference in total defense, limiting five opponents to fewer than 300 yards of total offense.
Under Collins’ direction, first-year starting middle linebacker Ben Russell tallied a team-best and single season career-high 88 tackles.
In 2012, Collins’ linebackers helped Ohio rank among the top five in several MAC categories, including scoring defense and total defense. In addition, Ohio’s linebackers played a key role in limiting four of its opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing.
Following the regular season, linebacker Alphonso Lewis received All-MAC Third Team honors after he finished the year with 61 tackles which ranked second on the team.
In the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl, Ohio’s linebackers helped the Bobcats hold Louisiana-Monroe to a season-low 314 yards of total offense. The Warhawks entered the bowl game, averaging 442.7 yards of total offense per game.
The 2012 season also saw the emergence of middle linebacker Keith Moore. As a junior, Moore led the Bobcats with 98 tackles and was nominated for the Burlsworth Trophy - an award given to the most outstanding football player who began his career as a walk-on. Moore concluded the year on a high note as he was named Defensive Most Valuable Player of the Independence Bowl after he posted nine tackles (seven solo), one sack and two tackles for loss.
In his first season directing the Bobcats’ linebackers, Collins helped former Bobcat Noah Keller surpass 100 tackles for the third time in his collegiate career as he registered 116 stops during the 2011 season en route to earning All-MAC Second Team honors. Keller was also named Most Valuable Player of the Mid-American Conference Championship game. Following the year, Keller was signed to a free agent contract by the St. Louis Rams.
Collins’ linebacking unit helped the Ohio defense limit opponents to just 22.1 points per game, which ranked second in the MAC in 2011. The Bobcats also ranked in the league’s top five in total defense, holding opponents to 361.4 yards per game.
Prior to his arrival in Boulder, Collins served as Boise State’s defensive coordinator for four seasons, while coaching the linebackers all five years he spent on the BSU staff . Under his guidance, the Boise State defense developed into one of the top defenses nationally and as the best in the Western Athletic Conference. Altogether, Collins had 26 players earn All-WAC recognition during his four seasons as defensive coordinator. His first Colorado defense in 2006 was solid against the run (fourth in the Big 12, 30th in the NCAA at 112.4 yards per game) and allowed 341 yards per game overall in limiting five opponents to fewer than 20 points in a game while forcing 24 turnovers.
In 2007, the Buff `D’ was again strong against the run (31st nationally), and had a three-week stretch where the opponent gained only 590 total yards, the second lowest total CU allowed over the previous 42 seasons. Within that run, the Buff s contained a powerful Oklahoma offense to only 230 yards, and Rivals.com selected him as the National Coordinator of the Week for Colorado’s 27-24 win over the third-ranked Sooners.
The 2008 team was decimated by injuries on both sides of the ball, but despite all the prolific offenses in the Big 12, CU was the only school in conference action not to allow 500 or more yards in any game. In a 14-13 win over Kansas State, CU held that precarious 1-point lead the final 25:49 of the game, the longest any team protected a 1- or 2-point lead in Division I-A (and the NFL) in 2008 and the longest a CU defense was asked to do it since 1936. His 2009 defense was 11th in the nation in forcing “three-and-outs” with 53, and was seventh in the NCAA in red zone defense. It also registered the most sacks (29) at CU, and held Texas (313 yards) and Nebraska (217) to regular season offensive total yardage lows.
The 2010 campaign saw the Buff’s continue their impressive three-and-out numbers, with 41 which was good enough for a 20th overall ranking nationally. The squad also registered 34 sacks, the most for any Colorado defense since 1995.
The 2005 Boise State defense ranked 15th nationally against the run (107.9 ypg), a figure that also topped the WAC; it was also among the best in the nation in forcing turnovers with 26. Collins also had one of his players, linebacker Korey Hall, repeat as a first-team all-WAC performer.
His 2004 unit may have been his best. That year, the Broncos ranked in the top 10 nationally in three categories: interceptions (second), turnovers gained (fifth) and rushing defense (10th), while also finishing 13th in turnover margin.
That same team also ranked first in the WAC in five different categories, including rushing defense (103.9 yards per game), turnover margin (0.83) and interceptions (23), and was also second in total defense (357.8 ypg). Seven of BSU’s starters selected were selected either first or second-team or honorable mention All-WAC in 2004, including first-team linebackers Hall and Andy Avalos and cornerback Gabe Franklin.
Those accomplishments followed up on a solid 2003, when BSU ranked in the top 20 nationally in interceptions (sixth), pass efficiency defense (seventh), rushing defense (11th), scoring defense (12th), turnovers gained (14th) and turnover margin (17th). Boise State was also 37th in total defense and ranked first in the WAC in seven of the nine major categories, including scoring defense (17.1 points per game), rushing defense (100.5 ypg), total defense (348.4 ypg), pass efficiency defense (99.0), interceptions (21) and third down conversion defense (31.3 percent). All three of Collins’ linebackers earned All-WAC recognition: Avalos was fi rest-team, Travis Burgher was second-team and Hall an honorable mention selection.
In 2002, Boise State led the WAC in eight defensive categories, and finished 16th in the nation in rushing defense and 17th in scoring defense.
He spent 13 seasons at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., the first full-time position of his career, as he joined the Bear staff under coach Ken Woody as secondary coach for the 1988 season.
With Collins at the helm of the defense, Washington University had one of the school’s top football decades during the 1990s. In producing a 68-33 record from 1990-2000, Washington University shared three University Athletic Association (UAA) titles and won seven or more games on five occasions. In 1999, Collins coached the top ranked Division III defense in the country, as Washington allowed just 192 yards of total offense per game and a school record 49.8 rushing yards per game in making the NCAA playoff s for the first time in school history.
Collins is a 1987 graduate of Washington State, earning a bachelor’s degree in physical education. The defensive team captain as a senior, he lettered four years for WSU at strong safety for coach Jim Walden. He started three seasons (1984-86) and once had three interceptions in a game (versus Stanford as a sophomore in 1984). He received a master’s degree in education administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1991.
A Cashmere, Wash. native, Collins graduated from Cashmere (Wash.) High School, where he earned a total of 10 letters in football, wrestling and track. He is married to the former Sharon Arthalony, and the couple have two daughters, Taylor Rae and Alexandra.