What about Todd?

It will be a major upset if Dan Lanning isn’t a finalist for the Broyles Award.  He’s done a remarkable job this season directing one of the most dominant defenses of the last decade.

But what about Georgia’s other coordinator?  I had high hopes when Todd Monken was hired, tempered by a concern over how much autonomy he would be granted by the man who brought him to Athens.  I wouldn’t call 2020 a throwaway season in that regard, but it’s clear in hindsight that Monken was handicapped by the wreckage caused in the wake of COVID in both his quarterback room and in his ability to install his offense.  It helped that Smart had enough respect for Monken’s ability to avoid micromanaging him.

This season should have generated its own set of issues, because of the injuries that have affected the Dawgs on the offensive side of the ball.  Instead, Monken has serenely cruised on.  Georgia finds itself twelfth nationally in scoring and a respectable, if not elite, 34th in offensive yards per play.  (In Monken’s defense, some of that has to be chalked up to playing in a considerable amount of garbage time so far.)  This has been accomplished with a starting quarterback who’s been in and out of the lineup, the team’s best receiver out all season, a banged up receiving corps and a starting right guard who also won’t play a single down in 2021.

It’s worked for a couple of reasons, one certainly being Stetson Bennett’s notable improvement under Monken’s tutelage.  (It’s also worth taking note of the remarkable emergence of the three freshmen receivers.  Georgia’s top four receivers right now consist of three freshmen and a sophomore.)

The other significant reason is Monken’s ability to shape an offense.  His play design was impressive last season, even without a spring practice to install the offense.  As we all saw then, he knows how to draw up formations that get receivers open.

Add to that this season’s takeaway ($$):

Georgia ranks fourth in the SEC in scoring offense, and that’s with injuries and the calling-off-the-dogs factor: Georgia’s score by quarters this season is 94-53-58-33.

Monken is living up to the idea that balance isn’t running and passing on the same drive. It’s being able to run or pass equally well and – all together now – taking what the defense gives you. Remember how it was pass-heavy for the UAB-South Carolina-Vanderbilt stretch, then run-heavy against Arkansas? Well against Auburn, it depended on the drive…

Taking what the defense gives you has been my holy grail for an offensive coordinator since I watched the early version of Mike Bobo repeatedly slam his head against the wall to maintain some sort of 50/50 run/pass equivalency, regardless of what was working at a given time.  Speaking of which, the irony of watching Monken carve up Auburn’s defense with play action, culminating in the play of the game, while Bobo was reduced to letting Bo Nix play street ball in the hopes of generating some offense (sad to say, it did wind up generating Auburn’s only touchdown of the game) was rich, indeed.

Sure, it helps that Georgia has enough talent to overcome the injuries, but working in a bunch of newbies while not having as much consistency at the quarterback position as you’d like isn’t easy.  Monken’s done good work.  I hope he gets rewarded at crunch time with a bunch of those missing pieces getting back on the field.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

25 responses to “What about Todd?

  1. I’m extremely biased, but either of those 2 coordinators or both should be Broyles finalists … both have resumes this year that are phenomenal

    Liked by 4 people

    • RangerRuss

      My hope is the powers that be have enough sense to make Monken a financial offer he can’t refuse.

      Liked by 12 people

      • Texas Dawg

        It would be a win win if Monken is handsomely compensated to stay. He will NEVER have the steady stream of elite talent to work with that Kirby will continue to feed him. From Kirby’s stand point, it would be very hard to find an OC that minimizes the risk while still maintaining the threat of explosive plays at any moment. In other words, a match made in heaven.

        Liked by 8 people

        • bigjohnson1992

          Exactly. This is a great thing for both Kirby and Monkin. And I hope I’m wrong, but Lanning without these seniors, and our overall talent, Kirby (and this year, Muschamp also), might not be that great a coordinator. Make no mistake, Muschamp IS involved heavily with the defense. A keep in mind, like Bama, whoever coordinates for Saban looks really good with Sabans players.

          I can win any street race with a Ferrari, but the guy that can win with Honda Accord is something special.


      • mp

        Yes. I assume we could absorb Lanning’s departure a lot easier than Monken’s at this point.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Exactly…imagine another year with Monken as OC and all those 5 star QBs and maybe even JT back? For me, you don’t see a lot of missed assignments, which is amazing given he’s targeting young true freshman receivers…receivers are getting open…and he seems to expose the defenses weaknesses…I knew when Smoke got ejected Sat…it would be open season for our TEs and receivers … Monken is the real deal, worth the additional investment…#backupthebrinkstruck

        Liked by 1 person

      • Amen. Pay him whatever it takes.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. argondawg

    Im in my 50s and this is the most confident I have felt watching a Georgia team since the early 80s. If we can keep Monken I am really looking forward to what he can do with kids like Beck, Vandagriff and Stockton. If we can get healthy over the next few weeks the amount of talent Monken will have to work with is gonna be ridiculous.

    Liked by 7 people

    • kokainmothershed

      Sincere question – Did you really feel more confident in the early 80’s? Yes, the Dawgs had #34, and maybe that’s enough, but there were a bunch of one-score victories in that era.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Russ

        Having seen both, yeah I was fully confident in our offense back then as well. There weren’t “point a minute” offenses back then so a strong running game and Erk were all you needed. And there weren’t that many one-score victories but more than we’ve had this year.

        Liked by 4 people

  3. rigger92

    Great post and there’s nothing to push back on there.

    I do wonder though, how many times can Todd reach into the cookie jar and grab another Bowers this season? These injuries are starting to give me the yips.


  4. Terry McCullers

    With Kirby and Muschamp here we can withstand Lanning leaving mor than Monken. Got to get him a raise!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. originaluglydawg

    Split the award between them. Make it a “Joint Award”. They both deserve it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Scott Strickland

    I thought you’d lost your marbles…you opened with Lanning so I had defense on my mind. What about Todd: I thought you were referring to 3rd and Grantham…that Todd😳


  7. beatarmy92

    I hope Monken gets rewarded with a multi year deal worth enough to keep him happy and in Athens for years to come.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. W Cobb Dawg

    Making defenses pay a heavy price when they put 8 in the box – that’s all I could ever ask for.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. W Cobb Dawg

    All of our assistants have stepped up this season. We could nit pick here and there, but through 6 games there hasn’t been any significant flaw in our planning or game day coaching. Maybe not flashy, but dawggedly steady.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Russ

    Lanning is the obvious choice to the national media but Georgia fans know Todd is just as, if not more valuable, especially after Coley.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. 69Dawg

    This is the first defense we have had since Erk that I really love to watch work. As Erk famously said if they don’t score we can’t lose. That Auburn TD was a fluke, the Dline stoned him but the LB’s got caught in the pile and he slid off. A good teaching point for this week and UK’s run game.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. 69Dawg

    Make both our OC’s the highest paid in College Football.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. uga97

    Bingo great article & great all around job by the coaches. Total team effort without selfishness/self serving MOs by any one player/coach is the holy grail of natties.


  14. whybotherdude

    So the next narrative is UGA can’t score in the forth Qtr.


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