The beginning of the 2022 season was a serious struggle on the field. But a lot of the focus from the media, from fans, and from the coaching staff was off the field. Geoff Collins was heavily rumored to be on the borderline of getting fired after 2021 and that rumor was basically confirmed once he was canned just 4 games into 2022. That dominated the focus from the outside during the offseason.
But Collins himself was too focused on things not directly tied to play on the field. He was heavily focused on the recruiting side of things as well as taking a direct role in the branding and marketing of the team. He tended to be more hands off with the on field part giving his coordinators and assistants broad leeway. This focus away from the field seemed to seep into the mentality of the team and lead to lackluster practices and then into the games themselves.
Brent Key came into the head coaching position and the team immediately turned around. The team wasn’t fantastic after that, but they were competitive. This offseason the buzz around the team has been on the field. There’s little drama around the coaching staff and GT has barely been a part of the conference realignment hullabaloo.
Key himself is a no-nonsense type coach who will ensure at the very least a high level of effort at practice and games. You can succeed as a high level without being that type of coach, but if you’re looking to make a change from a team that got too lackadaisical it can really help. Just making a change in general will be helpful. Inertia is immensely powerful force in human systems, changing things once they’ve gone bad is extremely difficult. I have no doubt that Collins tried to change things, but was unable to do it. A clean break gets rid of some of the inertia lets a new coach create new systems, expectations, and practices. Key has a chance to really set the culture here that will remain for the next several years of his tenure.
I don’t particularly think that this roster is that much different than last season talent and experience-wise, but a full offseason of tough practices without distractions and a more unified vision will do wonders for the product out on the field on gameday.