Another season, another Todd

I’ve gotta say I haven’t keenly anticipated the start of a Georgia season like I have this one since 2010, and for exactly the same reason:  the replacement of a coordinator who was in over his head with the promise of another who appears to have a clue.  (And before you go there, Todd Grantham was a significant improvement over Willie Martinez, low bar or not.)

If there’s a difference, it’s that I had a clearer idea of what Grantham would bring to the table than I do regarding Monken.  That’s not because I think Grantham was better at his job, but because Monken’s career has been modeled on being adaptable.  So any little tidbits I can glean about the likely new direction are welcome.

With that in mind

“When you’re a defensive-minded coach and you’ve grown up running the ball, being conservative, playing good defense and winning games and the game changed,” the Crimson Tide coach said. “When the RPOs came and everybody spread it out, the game changed. And if you don’t join that crowd, you’re never going to be able to make enough explosive plays in a game.”

Enter Todd Monken whose hire as offensive coordinator may take Georgia in the direction of the LSUs, Clemsons, Ohio States and Alabamas of the world…

Monken’s resume from the NFL as offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay to head coach at Southern Miss to offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State has shown an ability to dial up explosive plays, something missing too often from the Georgia offense last year.

Georgia studied teams that were successful offensively last year, coach Kirby Smart said, to find things it can simulate with players on offense.

Every situation is different, of course.  Monken has to answer to Smart, so we know the running game isn’t suddenly going to shrink away into irrelevancy.  Beyond that, Matt Luke and Buster Faulkner are likely to bring other perspectives that will be incorporated into whatever Georgia spins up in its offensive scheme.

But I ain’t gonna lie.  I like hearing what other coaches say about Monken’s ability to call games.

Burnham went up against Monken’s Oklahoma State’s offense as Iowa State defensive coordinator in 2011 and 2012 when they were among the most prolific in the nation. Oklahoma State was No. 2 in the nation in passing his first season and No. 7 his second.

“He was a little bit ahead of a lot of people throwing the football even though most people were throwing the football in the Big 12 at that time,” Burnham said. “The spread was coming in. He had a good handle back in those days and there probably were some pro concepts that other people weren’t running.”

The No. 2 Cowboys passed for 476 yards but were upset in overtime 37-31 and threw for 415 while rushing for 210 a year later in a 31-10 Cowboys win behind 151 rushing yards from Joseph Randle.

“He had a really, really good running game back in those days,” Burnham said. “He was very innovative with his playing calling. The thing about it, he was always trying to get angles on your defensive linemen by blocking down or blocking out and pulling offensive lineman around on your linebackers, which is really hard to defend.”

That’s not your grandfather’s Georgia offensive line blocking scheme.  Certainly not what we watched the last three years.

“He always had a new play that was really hard to defend and get ready for,” Burnham said. “He’s that kind of coach. He’s very cerebral. He did great in matchups and putting people on certain people.”

That is music to my ears, and exactly the kind of thing an offensive coordinator should be doing, especially at a program that should enjoy a marked talent advantage almost every week it steps on the field.  Color me excited.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

32 responses to “Another season, another Todd

  1. Derek

    To steal and modify an old Bill Parcell’s metaphor, Kirby has brought home some of the nation’s best groceries, now let’s see how well Monken can cook.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bucketheridge

    I’m excited, too.

    I don’t know if it matches my grandfather’s blocking scheme, but blocking down, kicking out, and pulling guards is what I was taught. He’s going to get there in different ways, but if that’s where we end up then we should be alright.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kirby needs a HC on offense and, hopefully, Monken is that guy. Imo, Monken and Matt Luke can make or break what Smart has going. Both of those guys being significant changes to the offense. I’m very excited but also very nervous. Honestly, my biggest concern is keeping the OL elite but then I’ve always been about the OL.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. CB

    As I recall Grantham’a defenses were actually worse against ranked teams than were Martinez’s, but I guess they were probably better against lesser teams? Idk. They both sucked and I hope Grantham never leaves Gainesville.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think Grantham is better than 2 thumbs now, but in 2010, I’m not convinced.

      That said, it can’t be overstated how bad things around the program were in that 2010-2011 window.


    • SEC rank, defensive yards per play against FBS teams with winning records:

      2013: 7
      2012: 5
      2011: 3
      2010: 4
      2009: 7

      Against ranked teams,

      2013: 5
      2012: 6
      2011: 6
      2010: 3
      2009: 5


      • CB

        By 2013 our YPP against FBS teams was actually worse than 2009. Was that your point?


      • To be fair, that is capturing the entirety of Grantham’s time vs the worst 2 years of Willie 2 thumbs. I’d be curious what it looks like going back to 05.

        Don’t get it twisted though: Willie sucked and was Richt’s first terrible replacement hire.


        • biggusrickus

          I can give you the S&P+ rankings for Willie vs. Grantham:

          2005: 13
          2006: 8
          2007: 18
          2008: 26
          2009: 23
          2010: 36
          2011: 3
          2012: 15
          2013: 33

          2011 was basically a fluke, as the same defense was considerably worse the next year, and his other two years were worse than anything Willie produced. The offense was generally better during Grantham’s tenure, too, with three top 10 finishes compared to one during Willie’s. I would say that Grantham’s defenses were better at turning the ball over, but I can’t track down that stat for Willie’s defenses prior to 2009, and I know at least the 2006 team forced a fair amount of turnovers.

          Liked by 1 person

    • classiccitycanine

      Grantham is an excellent example of the human tendency for selective memory. Sure he sucked in 2013 but he was an instant upgrade over Willie in 2010 and had an utterly dominating world class defense in 2011. As I recall, 3rd and Grantham started as a compliment before becoming a jeer.


      • CB

        I do not recall that. I give Grantham credit for improvement in 2010 as well as turning Florida over seemingly dozens of times, but the fact is after 4 years we were worse than when he arrived. That’s just enough time for him to get his guys in the system. 2010 didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Meanwhile Sackerlina averaged over 30 ppg against us 2011-2013.

        Not good.

        Liked by 1 person

        • classiccitycanine

          I’m just saying that we had good defense in 2011 and 2012 so let’s not pretend Grantham sucked. He just couldnt sustain success. If you want judge him for USC, I’ll praise him for defeating Florida.


          • CB

            They were inconsistent in 2011 at best. It’s fine to shut out Coastal Carolina, but he opened the season giving up 35 and 45 to Boise and USC.

            I gave him credit for Florida, but it would have been nice to see us play defense against all the teams.


          • charlottedawg

            Disagree we had great defenses in 2011 and 2012. Grantham just padded his stats against inferior offenses while getting absolutely torched by every competent offense he faced. In 2012 we played 4 ranked teams, South Carolina, florida, Alabama and nebraska. I’m too lazy to track down the link but of the four the only one that didn’t score 30+ on us was florida and that was more a function of having the 80th something ranked offense by YPP. Same thing in 2011 for boise state, South Carolina, LSU and michigan state. I’d argue grantham’s success against florida was just a function of never having to face a competent gator offense. Grantham was extremely consistent, consistently bad against good offenses and consistently good at getting stupid head coaches and ADs to pay him way more than his value.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. I think I can honestly say I’m more interested to see Monken’s play-calling than I am in seeing who plays at any given position this year – including QB. The big test, of course, will be against Bama. Come on 10/17!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Offensive linemen trapping, kicking, and pulling has been around forever, but yeah, the last few years we have basically been trying to run a legal flying wedge and that is you GREAT grandfather’s offensive line scheme.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Down Island Way

    Don’t lose sight of the two right after ark, prior to 10/17….


  8. mg4life0331

    My nipples are erect


  9. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    All this talk about Martinez, Grantham and coaching says a lot about the Richt years. CMR did a great job, really great, for the first 5-6 years, then had a lull of sorts, then 2-3 good years (that 2012 team was really good, should have had a natty good, imo) and then lapsed back into a lull. Martinez had some good years; so did Grantham; both had – and proabably still have – flaws that can be exploited. I don’t want to put too much on Monken – the QB situation is not dire, but it is definitely a question mark, and whatever you want to say about his offense, it is obvious that a lot depends on the QB. My excitement (yes, I am very excited) has more to do with finding out the unknown than it does with any great expectations.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. californiadawg

    I agree and hope Monken sticks around for another couple seasons. Give him a proper full spring practice with Carson and Brock and next year could be something special.


  11. 69Dawg

    Well since we have been recruiting Baby Elephants at OL, I hope we can totally change the blocking schemes without spring ball. Just because we made them lose weight and they are quick doesn’t mean they can go from drive blocking to pulling without practice. You maybe able to pull but if you miss your block the offense is screwed.


  12. TN Dawg

    I think it would almost impossible for the scheming and play calling in the passing game not to become more creative and productive unless QB play is a train wreck or the o-line leaks like a sieve.

    The question I’m most interested in is whether or not Monken has the complete trust of Kirby the way Coach O trusted Brady last year at LSU.

    If not, it’s likely Kirby continues his 4th quarter paralysis and cements his legacy as being unable to win the big games.


    • The question I’m most interested in is whether or not Monken has the complete trust of Kirby the way Coach O trusted Brady last year at LSU.

      A good point, but I’m not sure Arky is going to be a game where the answer to that is revealed.