This comes from Brooks Austin at SI Maven, so take it for what it’s worth:
There’s been growing speculation that Georgia is moving into the air raid system, similar to what Monken ran at Oklahoma State and Southern Miss. However, the sources we’ve spoken to at Dawgs Daily have stated that it’s NFL film from his days in Cleveland and Tampa Bay that they were showing over Zoom meetings with players. So, what did he run in Cleveland and Tampa?
Well, at Southern Miss and Oklahoma State, Monken’s offense would occasionally go empty (shotgun with no running back in the backfield). However, in 2019, Cleveland didn’t take a single snap in empty according to Shapfootballstats.com. In 2018 in Tampa, they ran 11 plays (1%) in empty. So, the five wide, Big 12 air raid probably isn’t what you’re going to be seeing this fall from Georgia.
What you will be seeing is what is known as the pro spread offense. An offense that combines tight ends, running backs and three wide receivers to throw the football. Their base personnel package will be 11 personnel, in other words, one back, one tight end, and three wide receivers.
That’s not to say they won’t motion to an empty formation to lighten the box, especially with a running quarterback like Jamie Newman — assuming he’s the starter — but it’s still going to look more like a pro passing attack than some Texas Tech offense that’s chunking it around 55 times per game.
(His “sources at Dawgs Daily” appear to be other Maven writers, which is why I added the FWIW note above.)
This isn’t exactly earth shattering news. “Growing speculation” aside, I don’t think any Georgia fan who has even a casual sense of Kirby Smart’s coaching philosophy expects Mike Leach reincarnate in Athens this season. And I hate to break it to y’all, but James Coley ran a lot of 11 personnel packages when he was at the helm, too.
One other thing: Monken didn’t call plays in Cleveland last season, so whatever empty set plays were run there are meaningless in terms of figuring out what we’ll see in Athens this year. If you’re looking to divine something from the tea leaves of his prior stops, I’ve posted a few things here and here.
I’m not expecting Todd Monken to reinvent the wheel at Georgia. What I am looking for is an offensive mind who thinks like this and knows how to make it work on the field:
“He’s seen it work at both the collegiate and pro level so he knows the spacing he’s looking for, he knows the timing he’s looking for and he knows how to drill it. He knows how to get the reps because, especially in college, you only have a limited amount of time you’re with those guys, a limited amount of time in the meeting room, a little amount of time on the field. He knows how to get the most out of his time.”
He’s got plenty of talent to work with. Just train ’em to do things right, give ’em the sets and concepts to make it go and turn ’em loose. I’m good with that.