Yellow Jackets take stage at ACC Football Kickoff on Tuesday

Georgia Tech coach Brent Key answer questions to press members during Georgia Tech's Pro Day in the Mary and John Brock Football Practice Facility on Thursday, March 16, 2023.
Miguel Martinez /

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Georgia Tech coach Brent Key answer questions to press members during Georgia Tech's Pro Day in the Mary and John Brock Football Practice Facility on Thursday, March 16, 2023. Miguel Martinez /

The Atlantic Coast Conference will hold its annual Football Kickoff event starting Tuesday in Charlotte. Georgia Tech coach Brent Key, junior cornerback LaMiles Brooks, junior offensive lineman Jordan Williams and senior defensive lineman Sylvain Yondjouen will take the podium along with Louisville, Miami (Fla.) and Syracuse on the opening day of the three-day event.

Key, having coached eight games as the program’s interim coach in 2022, is in his first season at the helm of the Yellow Jackets and, thus, will be speaking at the event for the first time.

Here are a few of the main questions Key and his players are likely to entertain this week at The Westin Charlotte:

Who will start at quarterback? Key won’t have an answer for this question, but it will be asked of him several times.

Tech will have a heated quarterback battle in fall camp between Zach Pyron, Haynes King and Zach Gibson. King transferred to Tech from Texas A&M while Gibson played in six games last season and Pyron three.

“We’ve got guys that are battling that position out,” Key said earlier this summer. “I do not know who it’s going to be. Might not know until the Wednesday before the first game.”

Tech not only needs to find a consistent, reliable player to start at the position but one who can elevate an offense which finished as one of the worst in the nation in 2022. What Key says this week about the players vying for that spot will outline how the QB room looks ahead of the start of practice next month.

What is the expectation? Rarely, if ever, has any coach in the history of sport come forth with an exact number of games he or she expects their team to win. Key won’t be any different this week in that regard, but he’ll certainly be asked about the expectation for what the competitive level of his first team will be.

Bowl game? Winning record? Conference title game? League championship?

The Yellow Jackets and their coach will be pressed repeatedly to assess how good this Tech team can be in ‘23. It’s an impossible forecast to make, but the answers to these queries will give quality insight into the mindset of the squad before the start of fall camp.

How is Tech competing in the NIL/transfer portal era? Unfair though it may be, there is an assumption as part of an overall narrative that Tech will struggle to compete in the field of Name, Image and Likeness and in the era of the transfer portal.

How will Key publicly respond to the questions of how he, and the Tech administration, plan to stay relevant in the NIL landscape? What is the The Tech Way doing to keep current Yellow Jackets in Atlanta?

As for the transfer market, Key and Tech made a statement in the offseason by signing more than two dozen transfers. Will those transfers fit into Key’s program and Tech as an institution? Can they make an impact in the coach’s first full season?

Will Key and his staff consistently bring in transfers annually?

“I do have a personal opinion and philosophy on the way I do handle the transfers as far as how many years left versus not many years left and those type of things,” Key said this summer in regards to transfers. “There’s a certain amount of shared adversity in a locker room that I believe kids go through, especially at a place like Georgia Tech. Bringing someone in that only has six months to play, how much of that shared adversity are you truly getting in that locker room? I’m a big believer the team is built in the locker room.”

How will the Yellow Jackets put more points on the board in 2023? Only six teams in the FBS scored fewer points per game in 2022 than Tech. Only Virginia (17 ppg) was worse in the ACC. That has to change in 2023.

How do Key and offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner plan to change that this season? Who on the roster going into fall camp are they relying on to reverse the fortunes of Tech’s offensive woes?

Key to the city: While, yes, Key coached the Yellow Jackets for the final eight games in 2022, as well as throughout spring practice, the program is now truly his after a full offseason.

Brooks, Williams and Yondjouen will be peppered with questions on how things are different now in Atlanta than in years past? Do they still have faith and belief that Key is the right man to turn theprogram around? That trio will be asked to contrast and compare how life inside Bobby Dodd Stadium is now opposed to how it once was.

As for Key, can he sway public perception that Tech will indeed be viewed in a new light under his leadership? The stage is his this week in Charlotte.