Does this constitute Dawg porn?
As much as Monken is expected to help the passing game, he has been no slouch when it comes to using the run game. In his third season at Southern Miss, one where the team went 9-5 after it had gone 0-12 the year before he arrived, the Golden Eagles posted a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Ito Smith and Jalen Richard. Both are currently in the NFL with Atlanta and Las Vegas, respectively. Joseph Randle posted a pair of 1,200-yard plus seasons under Monken at Oklahoma State while the Cowboys were doing a ton of damage through the air. It’s not a reach to state that Monken’s system is also running back-friendly.
Monken has also done a really good job of getting the running backs involved in the passing game as an offensive coordinator. Randle caught 43 balls at Oklahoma State in 2011 and 23 in 2012. Tyre Bracken caught 31 passes out of the backfield under Monken at Southern Miss in 2013 and Smith tallied 49 receptions in 2015. While with the Buccaneers, Charles Sims and Jaquizz Rodgers posted big receiving seasons under Monken. Using formations and motions to create mismatches is Monken’s forte and that might pay dividends for Cook.
Cook has played in 27 games the last two seasons, earning three starts in 2019, and making the most of his touches, averaging 6.6 yards per carry while also catching 24 passes for 221 yards, scoring four touchdowns in the process. But can he be more than just a situational weapon? Cook has only had more than eight touches twice in his career and they came in the first two games of his career. He would gain 73 yards on eight touches against Austin Peay and gain only 38 rushing yards on 11 carries against South Carolina. In 2019, Cook did not have a game with over six touches. [Emphasis added.]
Borderline malpractice, but some of that is due to the number of plays Georgia runs on offense. Here’s the year-to-year on plays per game under Smart:
- 2019: 67.14
- 2018: 65.92
- 2017: 65
- 2016: 70.69
Pretty consistent. Some of that is no doubt shaped by blowout games when they’re milking clock (something, ahem, not characteristic of that 2016 season). Plus, 2018 saw the offense average more than seven yards per play. But 2019 saw that average fall about a yard per play and the clock milking led to a few games being tighter than expected.
Does Kirby Smart trust Todd Monken enough to let him unleash the hounds?