Jake Rowe argues in this piece that Kirby Smart knew he had some fixin’ to do to Georgia’s offense after last season and took three specific steps to do so:
- Hire Todd Monken.
- Sign Jamie Newman.
- Recruit a top-notch receivers group.
About Monken, Rowe says,
Monken has looked for balance during his career, but if he favors one offensive element over the other, it’s the passing game. His offense contains influences from the air raid scheme. He’ll throw to set up the run if necessary, and he’ll throw to win. In his previous stop as an offensive coordinator at a Power 5 program, at Oklahoma State in 2011 and 2012, his offenses ranked in the top 10 nationally in passing yards per game.
In 2011, the Cowboys ranked No. 2 in that category, piling up 387.2 yards per contest with Brandon Weeden under center. They slipped to seventh in 2012 with a still-impressive 331 yards per game despite having three quarterbacks with more than 100 attempts on the year.
Monken went from Stillwater to Southern Miss, where he inherited a team that had gone winless the year before he arrived. By his third year, the Golden Eagles were in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, finishing with a 9–5 record behind a 4,000-yard passer (Nick Mullens), a 1,300-yard receiver (Michael Thomas), and two 1,000-yard rushers (Jalen Richard and Ito Smith).
Georgia is hoping for similar results and, more specifically, more explosive plays. The Bulldogs finished 70th nationally in scrimmage plays of 20 yards or more with just 58 in 14 games, and Monken will try to remedy that with graduate transfer Jamie Newman or former USC signal-caller JT Daniels at quarterback.
Notice he did all of that without a running quarterback. Which leads to what Rowe writes about Newman:
Newman, a 6’4″, 230-pound run-pass threat, gives the Bulldogs something they have never had — a quarterback who can thrive in the power run game. He didn’t put up video game numbers on the ground at Wake Forest, but he was incredibly effective with the designed quarterback run, amassing 575 yards and six touchdowns on 180 carries last season. In 16 career starts, he has racked up 10 touchdowns on the ground, and he’s adept through the air as well, piling up 2,868 yards, 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on 61 percent passing last season.
There’s been a lot of speculation that Newman’s game at Wake will neatly translate over to Monken’s scheme, but I’m not seeing it. Wake ran an offense that was uniquely attuned to what it had, personnel-wise: a big quarterback with a big arm, little running back talent, a subpar offensive line and some good skill position guys at wide receiver.
That ain’t Georgia.
It’s unwise in the sense that it’s unnecessary. And if you look at the other talent Monken has in his quarterback room, it’s hard to see why he’d want to run an offense that doesn’t suit any other player he’s got at the position.