Georgia Tech’s Brent Key says 3 assistants will not return in 2023

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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ATLANTA — Newly named Georgia Tech coach Brent Key announced that three assistant coaches will not return next season.

Key said offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Chip Long, wide receivers coach Del Alexander and strength and conditioning coach Lewis Caralla will not return.

Key was Georgia Tech’s interim coach before he was promoted to the full-time position.

Key had been assistant head coach, run game coordinator and offensive line coach before Geoff Collins was fired on Sept. 26. Following a 1-3 start under Collins, the Yellow Jackets were 4-4 under Key for a 5-7 finish.

Georgia Tech erases 17-point deficit, beats No. 13 North Carolina

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Zach Gibson threw for 174 yards and Georgia Tech scored 21 unanswered points for a 21-17 road win against No. 13 North Carolina on Saturday.

Georgia Tech (5-6, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed 17-0 late in the first half, but started to methodically move the ball. All three of its scoring drives were for 68-plus yards and culminated with rushing touchdowns.

A 6-yard score on the ground by Hassan Hall with just over 11 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter proved to be the ticket for the Yellow Jackets, who kept their bowl hopes alive and improved to 4-3 under interim coach Brent Key.

“I don’t think there was anyone in the locker room that could tell you that it was 17-0,” Key said. “That is who this team is. Regardless of the score, adversity and what takes place in a game, they take it one play at a time.”

North Carolina (9-2, 6-1 ACC) was riding a six-game winning streak and clinched the ACC’s Coastal Division last week. The Tar Heels had a chance to regain the lead late in the fourth quarter, but Josh Downs dropped a 4th-and-11 pass from quarterback Drake Maye in the end zone with just over four minutes remaining.

Maye, who had emerged as a possible Heisman contender as a redshirt freshman, failed to score a touchdown for the first time this season and had a season-low 202 yards passing. He was also sacked a season-high six times by Georgia Tech, three of which came via Keion White.

After UNC went ahead 17-0 with a little more than three minutes left in the first half, Georgia Tech held the Heels to 97 yards of offense on their final 33 plays.

“I thought we were mature enough to play in what would be called a trap game,” UNC coach Mack Brown said. “I thought we were beyond that after Virginia, but we obviously weren’t. I thought we did a poor job of preparing them and didn’t play well enough to win.”

DUAL QB SYSTEM

With previous starters Jeff Sims and Zach Pryon sidelined because of injuries, the Yellow Jackets split quarterbacking responsibilities between Gibson and Clemson transfer Taisun Phommachanh. Gibson took more snaps and was responsible for the bulk of the passing yards, and Phommachanh ran for a score and helped Georgia Tech milk the clock late in the fourth.

THE TAKEAWAY

Georgia Tech: For the second time this season, the Yellow Jackets looked unfazed on the road against a ranked opponent. Georgia Tech’s balanced effort on offense (187 passing yards and 186 rushing yards) stymied UNC, and the Yellow Jacket defense did something few have done against UNC’s offense this year: limit the big plays and defend well in the red zone.

“If a team can get all the way down there and come out with three points, we’re satisfied with that,” said Georgia Tech safety LaMiles Brooks, who picked off Maye in the second half. “No points at all, that’s even better.”

UNC: The Tar Heels looked flat on offense for much of the night. After running back Elijah Green‘s 80-yard rushing score on their first play from scrimmage, they amassed only 285 yards the rest of the night and scored just 10 points on five red-zone visits.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Tar Heels are likely to see a considerable drop after falling to a Georgia Tech team that had lost three of its last four. The loss also effectively ends any outside shot the Tar Heels had at eyeing the College Football Playoffs.

UP NEXT

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets head to rival Georgia, the top-ranked team in the nation, on Saturday.

UNC: The Tar Heels host rival North Carolina State on Friday.

Georgia Tech preparing 2 backup QBs with Jeff Sims still injured

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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ATLANTA — Georgia Tech is preparing two backup quarterbacks to play at Florida State with Jeff Sims nursing a sprained foot.

“He had an MRI, and everything checked out with it,” interim Yellow Jackets coach Brent Key said of Sims. “He’s day-to-day moving forward.”

Key said Sims hasn’t been ruled out against the Seminoles, but he is planning to use backups Zach Gibson – a redshirt sophomore and an Akron transfer who filled in for Sims in last week’s loss to Virginia – and freshman Zach Pyron if Sims can’t play.

“I fully expect both Zachs will play in this game,” Key said. “(Sims) is day-to-day, but you have to expect both scenarios.”

Sims, in his third year as Georgia Tech’s starter, has completed 110 of 188 passes for 1,115 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions. He’s also run for 288 yards and a score.

Sims was injured in the second quarter against Virginia and didn’t return. Gibson came in and completed 10 of 25 passes for 99 yards. Pyron has no game experience.

“When you get in those situations, you can’t overload a kid,” Key said. “You have to play to their strengths and what will help you move the football during the game. To be able to have both those guys, Gibson and Pyron, utilize the strengths that they have will help us as an offense.”

The Yellow Jackets (3-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) are 2-1 under Key as they prepare to face Florida State (4-3, 2-3).