Georgia Seeks Offensive Improvement Under New OC Todd Monken
Georgia seeks offensive improvement. In 2020, they will have a different quarterback for the first time in three years. And, they will have a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken.
Georgia is coming off a 26-14 victory over Baylor in the Sugar Bowl, finishing the 2019 season as the runner-up in the SEC with a 12-2 record. With spring practice just weeks away, the Bulldogs will have a lot of work to do if they want to change their passing attack in 2020. Head coach Kirby Smart went out and hired someone to do just that.
Georgia Seeks Offensive Improvement-The Passing Game
In 2019, under former offensive coordinator James Coley, Georgia ranked #72 nationally in passing offense at 223 yards per game, according to cfbstats.com. Led by junior quarterback Jake Fromm, a three-year starter, the Bulldogs would again play in the conference championship game, their third appearance in four years under Smart.
Fromm threw for 2860 yards, 24 touchdowns, and only five interceptions while completing 60% of his passes. But Fromm seemed to struggle at times. He completed less than 50% of his passes in each of his last four regular-season games and against LSU in the SEC Championship Game. And, his 204 yards per game passing ranked him #66 nationally. He passed for 250 yards and two touchdowns in the bowl win over Baylor.
To make matters worse, the Bulldogs were decimated at the wide receiver position, with injuries, early entry into the NFL, and dismissals. When Miami transfer WR Lawrence Cager went down with an ankle injury late in the season, Fromm’s only dependable wide receiver was George Pickens.
Smart had to make some changes to modernize his offense the way LSU did with Joe Burrow and Joe Brady last year and Alabama has done the last few years with Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagolaivoa, and Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian.
Georgia Seeks Improvement under New OC Todd Monken
Smart hired Todd Monken away from the NFL. Monken is well-versed in both the Pro-style offense as well as the RPO/Spread offense. As the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he coached an offense that ranked #4 in the league in passing offense in 2017 (4366 yards passing) and coached the #1 offense in the NFL in 2018 (5125 yards passing).
Success in Stillwater
He was the offensive coordinator with Oklahoma State for two years (2011-2012). In 2011, Monken coached a Cowboy offense that achieved the following:
#2 national ranking in passing offense at 387 yards per game.
Ranked #2 in scoring offense at 48.7 points per game.
Scored 633 total points.
5,034 passing yard.s
2114 rushing yards.
7148 yards of total offense.
That 2011 Oklahoma State team was led on the field by QB Brandon Weeden and WR Justin Blackmon. Under Monken’s tutelage, Weeden ranked #2 in the NCAA in passing, averaging 363 yards per game. Weeden threw for 4,727 yards and 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Blackmon was the beneficiary of Weeden’s success at the quarterback position, gaining 1,522 receiving yards and scoring 18 touchdowns on a whopping 121 catches, ranking #5 in the NCAA in receiving.
The Cowboys would go on to finish 12-1 that season, beating arch-rival Oklahoma and winning the Fiesta Bowl over Stanford. They would finish #3 in the AP final poll.
Monken had Golden Eagles Flying High in 2015
Monken would leave the Cowboys to take the head coaching job at Southern Mississippi from 2013-2015. In his final season in Hattiesburg, the Golden Eagles would finish with a 9-5 record, his only winning season at Southern Miss. That year, junior quarterback Nick Mullens led Monken’s offense. The Golden Eagle offense was ranked #12 in the country in total offense with 7,133 yards, #12 in passing offense, averaging 329 yards per game, and #13 in scoring offense at 40 points per game.
Mullens passed for 4,476 yards, 38 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions, ranking #9 nationally. WR Mike Thomas ranked #8 in the country as he caught 71 passes for 1,391 yards and 14 touchdowns. RB Jalen Richard ran for 1,098 yards and 14 touchdowns. RB Ito Smith rushed for 1,128 yards and 10 touchdowns (averaging 6.6 yards per carry) and recorded 515 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. The Golden Eagles would lose the Heart of Dallas Bowl that year to Washington 44-31.
Transfer QB Jamie Newman
But the Bulldog depth chart is not totally devoid of talent. Quarterback Jamie Newman transfers into the Georgia program from Wake Forest. He is the only quarterback on the Georgia roster with significant game experience going into the 2020 season.
At 6-4, 230 pounds, he appears to be the prototypical NFL-sized quarterback. As the starter at quarterback in 2019, he led the Demon Deacons to a 5-0 start, finishing with an 8-5 record. Newman passed for 2,868 yards and 26 touchdowns and 11 touchdowns. He completed 60.9% of his passes and averaged 239 yards per game. Newman also added 574 yards rushing and scored 6 touchdowns on the ground. It was his only year as a full-time starter.
Successful First Year as a Starter
Newman accomplished the following in 2019 (stats provided by cfbstats.com):
1 game of 400 yards passing.
2 games of 300 + yards passing.
5 games with 3 passing touchdowns.
1 game with five touchdown passes.
4 games with zero interceptions.
3 games of 70% completion rate.
Completed 62 passes of 15 or more yards.
Completed 33 passes of 25 or more yards.
Rushed for 102 yards and passed for 243 yards, 2 TDs and an interception in a win at Boston College.
Passed for 284 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 144 yards and a touchdown in a win over Duke.
Georgia Seeks Offensive Improvement-WR Pickens
If Newman wins the quarterback job, he will have two talented receivers to throw to in sophomore George Pickens (49 catches, 727 yards, and eight touchdowns) and sophomore Dominick Blaylock (18 catches, 310 yards, and 5 touchdowns).
If Newman, Pickens, and Blaylock, along with RB Zamir White and RB James Cook, can come in and learn and buy into Monken’s RPO/Spread system, Georgia will be a force to be reckoned with as they work to get back to their fourth consecutive SEC Championship Game and back to the College Football Playoff in 2020.
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Other material for this article sourced from sports-reference.com/cfb