Does the tight end make the offensive coordinator, or does the offensive coordinator make the tight end?

Matt Hinton:

It wasn’t that long ago that the tight end as a concept seemed to be well on its way to becoming a casualty of the spread revolution, doomed for the endangered species list alongside its obsolete cousin, the fullback. What’s happened instead is that “tight ends” have gradually adapted to their new habitat by evolving into full-service athletes who are shockingly comfortable in space without sacrificing any of their traditional bulk. And no one playing the position right now is a more highly evolved athlete than Brock Bowers.

… If anything, though, Georgia’s offense is even more committed to blurring exactly where on the depth chart he belongs. The “tight” part is increasingly arbitrary: Through 3 games, Bowers has lined up wide or in the slot on 62.9% of his offensive snaps, per Pro Football Focus, up from 53.4% last year. (Compare that to the quintessential SEC “move” tight end of the past few years, Kyle Pitts, who lined up in a conventional inline or H-back position on nearly two-thirds of his snaps in 2020. Or to Washington, a much bigger presence at 6-7/270, who has played almost exactly the same number of snaps as Bowers this season but lines up tight nearly three-fourths of the time.)

If we’re really being accurate, he’s more like an all-purpose weapon whose versatility allows OC Todd Monken to deploy him as needed without conceding size or play-making juice — a reliable blocker on the perimeter, a dynamic YAC threat on screens and reverses, a size/speed mismatch from just about anywhere, all in one player.

Yes, Bowers is a special, maybe even unique, talent who’s going to make any OC look good (well, maybe not Paul Johnson).  But there’s something wild about seeing Georgia discussed as a cutting edge offensive power.  I’m old enough to remember regularly mocking the annual promise in Athens to involve the tight ends in the offense more.  It’s not a joke anymore.

40 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

40 responses to “Does the tight end make the offensive coordinator, or does the offensive coordinator make the tight end?

  1. gastr1

    Is Bowers the first tight end ever to catch a fade in the corner for a TD? Haven’t even seen that in the NFL (not that I watch it all that closely…).

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Very true…the TE position has evolved at UGA…no longer just blocking downfield for running backs.

    And Monken has used the TE position to perfection…so far.

    Let’s keep the foot on the accelerator.

    Liked by 9 people

  3. Biggen

    This article about Monken is a couple of years old but damn if the writer didn’t hit the nail on the head: https://www.dawgsports.com/2020/9/17/21428577/the-monken-files-todd-monken-offense-georgia-preview-2020-uga-football-quarterback-film-study

    Looking at some of those YouTube clips in the article he posts as examples, I recognized most of them from the last several of our games.

    All hail our new offensive overlord. May his reign for as long as he wants to.

    Like

  4. kjackson1961

    Can’t understand why he’s never mentioned as a Heisman candidate. I thought the award went to the best player in college football……

    Liked by 5 people

  5. olddawg22

    Richard Applebee was our first Swiss Army knife tightend. Lined up split wide, could run end arounds for TDs! But for one Gorgeous play he was a passer! We just need to get Monken some film on Applebee to Washington. Bowers throwing a pass against gaters would warm this old heart!
    F. T. M. F.

    Liked by 9 people

    • rugbydawg79

      I would imagine it is in the playbook.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mwodieseldawg

      I thought McConkey was gonna throw on that end around he ran Saturday. Thinking about Montreal and the Olympics.

      Liked by 3 people

      • olddawg22

        Monken play book appears to have several volumes RD, its in there somewhere! While McConkey played QB and will probably have that pass option at some point, i want to be a purist, against the gators a Bowers to Washington pitch and catch just feels perfect! Not sure how many passes have even been thrown by a tight end to a tight end? could be the first?
        Darnell’s last name sure makes it perfect as far as I’m concerned!!!! And yes someone would have a Munson sound track laid on it before the sun comes up!
        F. T. M. F.

        Liked by 1 person

    • fisheriesdawg

      Save it for when he is in his native state on January 10th.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Texas Dawg

    Once they are up by 7-8 TD’s on Tech, I want to see Monken run that TE reverse with Washington just for spite. That would be fun to see all the Tech defenders scampering to get out of the way before they get steamrolled

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bowers has running back skill and speed with wide receiver hands and body control in a tight end body. I’m surprised when the ball is thrown his way and he doesn’t come up with it.

    Could he win both the wide receiver and tight end awards this year (or at least be a finalist for the Fred B Award)? If he doesn’t win the Mackey, they should just get rid of it.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. Tommy Perkins

    Shhh… don’t tell the guys at Roll Bama Roll. They’re waiting for Jermaine Burton to “unlearn” the trash Georgia offense that serves only to kill receivers’ careers. (Seriously, this is an actual comment that got multiple likes.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. realitycheckhere

    My grandson remembers the annual joke about promises to involve the tight end more.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. practicaldawg

    It almost sounds like they are suggesting UGA is an offensive innovator and has come up with a type of offense that is ahead of where modern defenses are. But I know that can’t be true based on historical narratives.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. W Cobb Dawg

    And if Gilbert ever gets on track Monken will have the chance to be promoted from guru to demigod.

    Like

  12. rigger92

    Remember what Monk said when interviewed? I’m kind of starting to worry that our wideouts may dip their toes in transfer market with all this Bowers hype.

    Like

  13. As much as I hate Florida, Meyer and Hernandez they really revolutionized the position.

    Liked by 2 people

    • siskey

      I just watched videos of those Gator teams running that TE option/ shovel play, that Bama finally stopped in 2009. We have tried two shovel passes to Brock thus far I can see one hitting really soon out of 12 formation.

      Like

      • Hernandez was one of the TEs that really took the position from mostly being a smaller OT with hands to a bigger WR. Of course, Dan Mullen found a way to use that combination of size and athleticism.

        Imo, TE and LB are the positions that have changed the most in football. They kinda went from giant in the 90s to smaller in the 2000s to a freakish combination today.

        Liked by 1 person

        • siskey

          I agree. You watch a Steelers game from the 90s when they had Levon Kirkland at LB and he was like 270 lbs and would probably a great DT today.

          Like

    • MGW

      It’s still an amazingly small number of tight ends that have been used that way since, and Hernandez played way back in the 00’s. Bowers, Pitts… who else? Seems like a lot of teams talk about doing it, but rarely actually follow through.

      Same with Tebow. Revolutionized the position (power running QB with an adequate arm) but who else has done that since? Cam Newton? Klein at Kansas State?

      Like

  14. fisheriesdawg

    Au contraire, I would love to know what Paul Johnson would try to do with someone like that.

    Like

  15. MGW

    Would like to see what Monken would have done with Orson Charles.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Doggoned

    I would like to see Monken stay till retirement in Athens, or at least stick around as long as I do. These will be remembered as halcyon days, my fellow Dawgs.

    Like

  17. paulwesterdawg

    I love seeing Paul Johnson catch a stray bullet every now and again.

    Like

  18. ugafidelis

    Somewhere, after having read this article stands a dejected Isaac Nauta, his gaze shifting between the contents of his glass and the heavens as he thinks, “Oh what might have been.”

    Like

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