Brent Key on Georgia football: ‘There’s nothing I hate more in the world’

Georgia Tech coach: ‘When I say hate, like, truly despise everything about it. I really do.’
Georgia Tech's interim coach Brent Key and players run on the football field before an NCAA football game between Georgia and Georgia Tech at Sanford Stadium in Athens on Saturday, November 26, 2022. Georgia won 37-14 over Georgia Tech. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Georgia Tech's interim coach Brent Key and players run on the football field before an NCAA football game between Georgia and Georgia Tech at Sanford Stadium in Athens on Saturday, November 26, 2022. Georgia won 37-14 over Georgia Tech. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Georgia Tech coach Brent Key did not hold back Wednesday when asked about Georgia football during an alumni event.

“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.”

Speaking at a Georgia Tech Alumni Association gathering at the Scheller College of Business, Key was asked about his Yellow Jackets coming up eight points short in a loss to the No. 1-ranked Bulldogs on Nov. 25 at Bobby Dodd Stadium. More than five months after that defeat, the former Tech offensive lineman still was in no mood to deem that result a moral victory.

Tech has lost to UGA six consecutive times, and even though the 2023 matchup was the first time the Jackets had stayed within one score since winning in 2016, the loss has eaten at Key the entire offseason.

“Three minutes and 31 seconds with three timeouts left, we’re down by eight,” Key said, detailing the end of November’s game. “Muff the onside kick, get (Georgia) to third-and-3, they run a toss sweep out of the bunch formation to the boundary. (Linebacker) Kyle Efford is about two inches away from making the tackle.

“I think about it every day. (Efford) thinks about it every day. We talk about it every day.”

As a player, Key was 3-2 against Georgia, and the Jackets won three consecutive from 1998-2000. But since he returned to Atlanta in 2019 as an offensive line coach for former coach Geoff Collins, then as Tech’s interim coach in 2022 and now the program’s full-time coach starting last season, Key has suffered through four consecutive defeats to the Bulldogs.

Georgia is two wins from matching the longest win streak in the series set by Tech from 1949-56, a period known as “The Drought” by UGA supporters. The Jackets also will have to wait until 2025 to try to break a 12-game losing streak to Georgia at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

But before that game, and before this season’s matchup, scheduled for Nov. 29 in Athens, Key detailed how he wants his 2024 squad to approach the coming season and every game on its slate.

“Our goal as a team is to, every game, line up and dominate our opponent and make them quit. To absolutely make them quit,” he said. “When you can do that, when you can be on a team or be a part of a team that can line up and make a team quit, there’s not a more fulfilling feeling in the entire world.”