“One of the guiding principles of both the SEC and UGA return-to-play protocols has been the health and safety of our student-athletes. We have emphasized continually that any student-athlete who decides to opt-out because of health and/or safety concerns related to COVID-19 would be fully supported to include honoring scholarships, access to academic facilities, etc., and would remain in good standing with the team. While we will miss him being part of our program, I fully support Jamie’s decision and we will continue to regard him as a Georgia Bulldog. Certainly we wish him nothing but the best in his quest for an NFL career and he knows he will always have a home at UGA.”
—Kirby Smart, Head Coach, University of Georgia
While yesterday’s news about Newman’s opt-out was surprising, to say the least, in the cold light of day, this is what I keep coming back to:
Along with something Andy Staples wrote ($$):
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A program typically loaded with talent runs a boring, predictable offense most years. Every year, the coach swears the offense will be less boring and predictable, but every year it looks the same.
Am I talking about Georgia? No. I’m talking about LSU before 2019.
And that’s why Georgia could take the final step toward becoming a year-in, year-out national title contender. It was obvious after last year’s SEC title game that the Bulldogs needed to modernize their offense.
The defense was excellent, but the offense held Georgia back. So Smart went out and hired Monken, an offensive chameleon who has run one of the best Air Raid offenses ever to take the field (Oklahoma State 2011) but who also has called plays in the NFL (Buccaneers 2016-18). Monken has to decide between transfers Newman and Daniels at QB, but Newman feels like the favorite because he is the QB the Bulldogs sought out after Fromm’s departure. Newman can run the ball when needed, but he also can distribute to the elite athletes Georgia has spent the past few years stockpiling.
We probably won’t see an offensive awakening quite as amazing as LSU’s for a long time, but if Monken does his job and Georgia runs an offense that looks like it belongs in this century, that might be good enough to win the Bulldogs an SEC title.
I’m sorry Newman’s gone, but Smart’s taken steps to make sure the show will go on. I may have cause to regret my faith, but in Monken I trust.