Brent Key has shed interim tag and added confidence as Georgia Tech's coach

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ATLANTA (AP) — Brent Key says he and his staff studied video of at least 21 schools as he prepared for Georgia Tech's opening game against Louisville, which will bring a new coach, Jeff Brohm, and a transfer quarterback, Jack Plummer, to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Friday night.

One bit of video from Georgia Tech's 2022 season stood out to Key before his first game as the Yellow Jackets' full-time coach — a clip of Georgia Tech's 26-21 win at Pittsburgh during his eight-game stint as interim coach.

“I saw myself on the sideline and was like, whoa, we have come a long way since then,” Key said Tuesday.

Georgia Tech's road wins over two Top 25 teams, Pittsburgh and North Carolina, helped boost Key to the position of full-time coach after taking over for Geoff Collins on an interim basis last season. The Yellow Jackets were 4-4 under Key and finished 5-7 overall for their fourth consecutive losing season.

Key says there are many unknowns about a Louisville team led by Brohm, the former Purdue coach who has added 26 transfers, including 14 after spring practice. Preparing for so many new faces and schemes led to the wide-ranging film study by Key and his assistants.

Even so, Key says he's confident because he knows more about his team. He also knows more about himself as the leader of the program.

Key says viewing the video of the Pittsburgh game — his first after Collins was fired — on Monday helped to drive home the point as he prepares for his debut without the interim tag.

“Yeah, it’s the first game truly out there as the head coach but having that experience last year and actually revisiting it and seeing those things really put me in a good place as far as going out there as the head coach and not being ‘Hey, it’s the first time out, first time with the players,’” Key said. "Last year, yeah it probably was nerve-wracking the first few games. Now it’s all business and we have a job to do and I am excited to go out there with those guys and do it.”

Key is leaning on Texas A&M transfer quarterback Haynes King, who was named the starter on Aug. 22. King, a graduate transfer, beat out Zach Pyron and Zach Gibson.

Key emphasized King won't need to worry about being replaced if he makes a mistake.

“As a coach you don’t want somebody looking over your shoulder,” Key said. “Haynes is our quarterback. Haynes is the guy.”

A season-ending broken leg limited King to two games in 2021. He lost the starting job last season after an upset loss to Appalachian State.

King said he is optimistic about his fresh start with Key.

“Everything Key has done since I’ve stepped on this campus, I’ve agreed with,” King said last week. “He handles things the right way. He lets everybody know what’s the standard and he told us straight-up what we would be graded on and it would be a grade every day.”

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll