From the Rumble Seat is an SB Nation blog dedicated to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, and honestly it’s one of the more aggrieved college fanbases out there.
Georgia Tech does have at least a share of a college football national championship in the last fifty years though so there’s that feather in the proverbial cap. The Yellow Jackets have fallen on hard times of late since the departure of Paul Johnson, and the overbearing weight of multiple losing seasons seems to have taken its toll on blogger extraordinaire Josh Brundage. He was kind enough to answer our questions this week.
1.) What’s the general sense of Brent Key as a head coach so far?
To start, he is a welcome reprieve from all things of the Geoff Collins era. Even when he took over midseason last year, the difference was very noticeable after Collins was let go in their game just 5 days later... It was stunning. It may take some time to fully fumigate the attic that Collins left behind, but he’s done a great job so far. The team is at least not unbearably embarrassing to watch anymore, so that’s a good thing?
We had mixed emotions when he was hired. Tech was one of the more attractive jobs on the market at the end of 2022, and our new AD just hiring the interim did not inspire a ton of confidence. However, the players really pushed for him and have played harder for him than I have seen in years, so maybe it will work out? Coaching hires are such a crapshoot - there’s no way to tell if he will be successful or not. The drastically opposite reactions and then results of hiring Fuente at Virginia Tech and Mack Brown at UNC just shows how there’s no way to tell.
In addition, the GT athletic department is fairly hamstrung by debt, so making a budget hire on Key with an incentive-heavy contract makes a lot of sense for now. He is an alum, former team captain, coached under Saban for several years, and knows the Institute inside and out. I really like Key as a person, and I sincerely hope he works out, but he will at least leave the program in a better place than where he found it. I’m just hoping Tech doesn’t get budget results for their budget hire... the AD just didn’t have much in the way of options at this point.
2.) How much of an improvement is Haynes King to Jeff Sims at QB?
I don’t know if any of y’all watched the Nebraska game the other day but DRASTIC. Sims was a headcase and very obviously gave up during games. Collins refused to replace him or accept highly-rated transfers at the position so that he didn’t spook “his guy,” while touting for years that “competition is king.” If you can’t tell, I’m glad we threw the baby out with the bathwater with Collins.
King is poised, athletic, and has already made some great throws in this young season. He commands the offense, and I don’t reflexively hold my breath every time a ball is in the air anymore. He has a very, very high upside, and I’m excited to see what he can do as the offense continues to gel as the season goes. We have loads of talent at the WR position, so hopefully our O-line can give him enough protection on Saturday to find them.
3.) Who will stand out defensively for Georgia Tech on Saturday?
Our secondary may be the strongest in the ACC. LaMiles Brooks and Jaylon King are both hard-hitting ball hawks at safety and have been fun to watch. We also have a 6’3” corner in Myles Sims who has been great in coverage. Now, can our front 7 get enough pressure on Ole Miss to give them a chance against Lane Kiffin? That remains to be seen. However, our secondary is incredibly talented and experienced, so we will hopefully get to see them live up to their potential Saturday evening in Oxford.
4.) What does Georgia Tech have to do to win?
I don’t think Tech has talent to line up against Ole Miss and win outright. If Georgia Tech is going to pull the upset, and according to Vegas they’re 18.5 point underdogs, it’s going to take winning the turnover battle by at least 2. I know the Yellow Jackets will keep it much closer than last year, Brent Key really does have the team on an upward trajectory, but I don’t think they’re ready yet to hang with a team of Ole Miss’ caliber, especially if this game turns into a shootout. However, if the Yellow Jackets can hit a couple of big plays and maybe get a defensive or special teams touchdown, I think this game could get interesting.
5.) Why is the Varsity so overrated and not good?
There’s a very, very good argument that Atlanta is a top 3 food city in the USA. So please, good people of Oxford, next time you’re in town, please do not waste a meal at the Varsity. It’s just over-priced fast food. I’m born and raised here, and you can hit me up on twitter at @joshbrundage for recs. I would love to offer all manner of food and drink options in this fine city - it is one of my passions. Even in the immediate vicinity of The Varsity for equal price, you would do far better at JR Crickets, which is iconic and featured in Season 1 of FX’s Atlanta. Plus, they serve booze. Again, don’t go to The Varsity. No one who lives here eats there.
6.) What’s your prediction for Saturday?
I think Tech comes out swinging, scores early, and perhaps even has a halftime lead. I don’t think Tech wins overall, since we don’t yet have the depth. I think Ole Miss pulls away in the end and the final score makes it look like the game wasn’t as close as it was. I really just want Brent Key and Georgia Tech to scare the hell out of Oxford for a while, but I don’t think we have the horses to pull out the W against the Lane Train. Tech covers, 42-28.