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Tech coach Brent Key Talks About His "Hate" for UGA Football | Falls Into Same Old Trap

June 13, 2024
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ATHENS - Stop me if you have heard this before - someone from Georgia Tech “hates” UGA Football

Brent Key, the Yellow Jackets’ head football coach, is doing his part to emphasize the hate in Clean Old Fashioned Hate. On Wednesday the AJC reported that Key was asked about UGA football at an event for Tech alums and had this to say:  

“There's nothing I hate more in the world. It's probably the only thing I actually hate,” Key said. “When I say hate, like, truly despise everything about it. I really do.”

Lord. 

He should have said: “I am envious of what Kirby has accomplished in Athens, and I am going to do all I can to make sure we are stopping him from accomplishing anything else in the future. And to do that I need your help.”





But he didn’t. He did what Tech folks have learned to do over time - find the one thing that unites Tech and distracts from the Jackets’ problems… hating the Dawgs. 

Couple of things. The first thing that pops into my head is that Key is doing the same thing that a lot of Tech folks have done for a long time - being too consumed with what’s going on in Athens. This has long been the case. 

Having grown up in Atlanta; having had my elementary school “adopted” by Tech; having played at the Thrillerdome; having been behind the scenes at Tech; having been to all but one Tech-UGA game since 1993 and having had close friends coach at Tech; I feel like I am an expert on these matters. 

Expert opinion: Tech folks care too much about Georgia. 

Geoff Collins, ridiculous as he was, wouldn’t use the color red. Forget Collins (as most of the college football world has), what about Paul “fish fry” Johnson? The lovable former Tech coach told clear whiskey drinkers that the Jackets had “bigger fish to fry” after an upset at the hands of the Dawgs in 2009 the week before the ACC Championship Game. 



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Yikes. I was on the field for both of those games - Tech fans was far, far more interested in beating UGA at Mark Richt Field than they were beating the Taters in Tampa. I have never seen Mark Richt Field rocking like that before, and I was there in 1999 when Tech won that wild game in overtime. 

Tech literally has the phrase “To Hell With georgia” in its fight song. And for the record - that’s not a typo. Tech won’t even capitalize the “G” in Georgia on its official website because they are so in their feelings about the Dawgs. 

Dumb. 

Imagine getting your ass whipped decade after decade, and still figuring out how to run down the school whipping your ass. Tech folks used to (still do?) lecture anyone that would listen about their superiority in the classroom. And while Tech is still a better school than UGA, that argument isn’t what it once was… Georgia, sorry, “georgia”, is gaining on them academically, and that is freaking them out. 

All of that combined is the situation Brent Key finds himself in - surrounded by the paranoia at Tech about all things Georgia. Then again, he picked this. He wanted this. Key was the guy who wagged his finger us about how recruiting at Tech would be “easier” than recruiting at Alabama

“I know the truth about this place,” Key said as assistant at Tech in 2019. “Somebody asked me: ‘How are you going to recruit to Georgia Tech differently than you were at Alabama?’ I said: ’It’s going to be easier. It’s going to be so much easier. I’ve got more to offer.’”

Wow. I mean. Really - 👀.

Does Key have vision and ambition, or is he delusional? Can the answer be yes to all of those things? Is Key simply far less a disaster than Collins, so folks like me give him more credit, or his Key actually doing a good job at Tech? I can assure you that he’s elevated Tech, but one step above the basement is still pretty low. And history has proven that there is a ceiling at Tech - one a Tech engineer undoubtedly drew up.

It is important to remember that as a player, Key had as much success as any Yellow Jacket player has had against the Dawgs since the early 1960s. With the exception of a claimed national title in 1990, Key played during the zenith of Tech football over the last sixty years. And unlike the aftermath of the 1990 season, Tech didn’t fall apart a few years after the three years of success against UGA. 

Tech was hanging in there at the turn of the centruy. They went to a Final Four. Things were OK. Then things slowly got worse, and no one ever seemingly cared enough to try to get them better. 

Tech’s wins from 1998-2000 are important to remember because beating Georgia three years in a row had not happened at Tech since before Vince Dooley took over. It has not happened since. Tech has beaten UGA exactly three times since Key stopped playing. Three in a row to three in 20-plus years? I didn’t go to Tech, but that’s pretty bad math for the Jackets. 

Key might be doing what many of us do - try to relive our glory years. But those years are long, long gone on North Ave, and it is no one person’s fault. But it has happened. I don’t know if Tech can reverse this now or not. They should try, but I think what they want to do is talk… that’s not the same as doing. 

Tech has allowed a once proud and impactful athletic department to fall apart as top-tier athletes don’t even consider playing on North Ave. If Tech alums are as successful in life as we always hear (and I am not being sarcastic - one of the major sponsors of Tech athletics has been BMW), then the Jackets should be able to really take advantage of NIL… that’s not happened yet - at least that I can tell. 

Tech’s problem is Tech - always has been, and always will be (I can write this same article about UGA, and I have). It is a mindset problem. If Tech is doing what it should be doing it will get its wins over the Dawgs. So long as Kirby Smart is in Athens there won’t be many of them, but they can happen.

Everything else is just throwing red meat... am I allowed to use the word “red”? 

 
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