Like Nebraska, Georgia Tech made a coaching change inside the first month of the college football season.
And similar to the Cornhuskers, Tech is winding near the end of its search.
First, the Atlanta program had to find a new leader for its entire athletics department – which it did in landing J Batt from a senior-level position at the University of Alabama.
Batt was hired in mid-October, approximately three weeks after the Yellow Jackets parted ways with Geoff Collins atop the football program.
Brent Key, a former Georgia Tech offensive lineman and Birmingham, Alabama, native, has made himself a legit contender for the full-time post after guiding Tech down the season’s final two months.
The Yellow Jackets under Key have won four games, including upsets of ranked Pittsburgh and North Carolina squads. It’s an unlikely scenario to think the Yellow Jackets – despite being on their fourth quarterback of the season – can yet again generate enough offense with well-regarded first-year offensive coordinator Chip Long to topple defending College Football Playoff champion and top-ranked Georgia this weekend.
Nevertheless, Key has stamped himself firmly in the mix for the full-time post, he has the unyielding support of beloved former Tech head coach George O’Leary, multiple sources tell FootballScoop, and Key met this week directly with Batt for his formal interview for the position, per sources briefed on the process.
Additionally, FootballScoop has been told that Batt conducted a formal interview this week with Coastal Carolina head coach Jamey Chadwell, whose work atop the Coastal Carolina program has dramatically elevated that program’s profile into the national conversation.
Chadwell also has deep connections in the South; he’s a Tennessee native whose coaching career has featured considerable work in the region.
Tulane’s Willie Fritz similarly has deep, deep Georgia ties and has engineered a renaissance year atop the Tulane program, which is contending for the American Athletic Conference title. Sources have indicated to FootballScoop that Fritz likewise is viewed as a serious candidate for the Tech post.
Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien logged several years at Tech as an assistant coach, including under O’Leary, and O’Brien has proved a successful head coach at both Penn State and in the NFL with the Houston Texans. He has obviously familiarity with Batt from their shared time together at Alabama, and sources indicated Nick Saban also has strongly endorsed O’Brien.
Georgia’s Dell McGee was linked with the job earlier, and sources indicated McGee had interest in the Tech post, but thus far sources have not indicated significant traction for McGee.
As with all of these current Football Bowls Subdivision openings, timing is of the essence. Not only does the regular season conclude this weekend, but the NCAA Transfer Portal windows and the early signing period – the third Wednesday in December, so Dec. 21 this year – are both encroaching on the calendar.
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