Louisiana-Monroe defensive coordinator Mike Collins steps down

Louisiana-Monroe defensive coordinator Mike Collins stepped down on Wednesday, just 10 days before the team is set to open the season at Army.

Collins, about to enter his fifth season as Louisiana-Monroe's defensive coordinator, said in a statement that he no longer could give his best to the players. A former ULM player, Collins was in his second stint as defensive coordinator at his alma mater.

"The timing isn't ideal, but I want to provide Coach [Matt] Viator, our coaches and players the best chance to move forward," Collins said in a prepared statement. "It has been an unbelievably physically and emotionally draining year for me. I pride myself in coaching with great passion and I just can't provide that for our players right now. I'm at peace with my decision and feel great inside and out."

Collins, 59, served as ULM's interim head coach for the final seven games in 2002. He then worked as an intern at LSU when the team won a national title in 2003, before being promoted to linebackers coach under Nick Saban in 2004.

ULM visits Army on Sept. 12 before opening Sun Belt play Sept. 19 against Texas State at home. The Warhawks initially were set to open the season Saturday against Troy, but had the game postponed because of COVID-19 concerns as well as the impact of Hurricane Laura in the area.