Todd Monken: Change is coming to Georgia Football
Georgia returns 72%, 8 of its 11 starters, from that historic defense from a year ago. And though they lost several key seniors like Tyler Clark, J.R. Reed, and Tae Crowder, there is a belief they could be even better in 2020, assuming there's a season.
The Georgia Bulldogs’ offense, however, needs to replace quite a bit:
- Two accomplished tailbacks invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Brian Herrien and D’Andre Swift
- One quarterback who led the Dawgs to a National Championship appearance as a freshman in Jake Fromm
- Four vital offensive linemen, including Solomon Kindley (draft eligible), Andrew Thomas (draft eligible) Isaiah Wilson (draft eligible), and Cade Mays (transfer)
- One widely beloved offensive line coach in Sam Pittman
- One less-than-beloved offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in James Coley
The two staff positions have been filled by former Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke as OL coach and recently departed Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Both hires have been met with significant enthusiasm from Bulldog faithful. As they should be because change appears to be on its way for Georgia Football.
Luke is a proven commodity as a career offensive line coach who happened to find himself at the helm of a program facing a myriad of NCAA violations.
Monken, however, has spent his two-decade coaching tenure teaching multiple disciplines, appearing as Eastern Michigan’s offensive coordinator from 1998-99, Louisiana Tech’s running backs coach in 2000 and wide receivers coach in 2001, Oklahoma State’s passing coordinator and wide receivers coach from 2002-04, and Louisiana State’s passing game coordinator from 2005-06.
Following a four-year stint as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ WR coach, Monken returned to Stillwater as the Cowboys’ OC and QB coach.
There, he supervised the meteoric rises of Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon before a brief head coaching stint at Southern Miss and four years as an NFL offensive coordinator. In the pros, he drew up plays for Jameis Winston, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Doug Martin and Mike Evans in Tampa Bay and for Baker Mayfield and Georgia alumnus Nick Chubb in Cleveland.
Monken has always overseen balanced offensive attacks, but his quarterbacks tend to excel.
In his passing coordinating career since 1998, Monken’s offenses have averaged 3,436.8 passing yards per season. In 2011, Brandon Weeden set multiple school records under Monken’s tutelage, including completions (408), completion percentage (72.3), touchdowns (37) and yardage (4,727).
For comparison, only three quarterbacks at Georgia have ever eclipsed 3400 passing yards in a season (Zeir, Stafford, and Murray).
Enter Todd Monken in his return to a college coaching role. Enter graduate transfer, Jamie Newman, as the top returning quarterback among all SEC teams (as per Pro Football Focus).
Monken has schemed with dual-threat quarterbacks and all-purpose tailbacks in the past, and he’ll have plenty to work with in Athens, as the Bulldogs have secured two top-ranked recruiting classes in the past three years.
Monken’s offenses have averaged roughly a 40:60 run-to-pass ratio, and he finds himself at the helm of an offense long based on a power run game. In four years under Kirby Smart, the University of Georgia's offenses have averaged a 60:40 run-to-pass ratio.
That said, Monken's got a healthy habit of evenly splitting the workload when having healthy personnel and utilizing the talent he has where he can.
Prime example: in Monken’s first year coaching Nick Chubb, he targeted the former Bulldog standout in short-yardage passes sixteen more times than Chubb had been targeted in 2018. Chubb also increased his average reception from 7.5 yards per catch to 7.7 while converting 13 receiving first downs compared to five in his rookie year.
Not to mention Chubb was a fourth-quarter surge from Derrick Henry in Tennessee from winning the NFL rushing title.
With all of the new eventual starters, who have yet to share a practice field together, at least they’re all on the same page. But with Monken’s credentials and the talent he has available, expect the Silver Britches to spread the ball all around the field.
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