Is Georgia looking to revamp its offense in 2020?
The Bulldogs have hired former Southern Miss head coach and NFL assistant Todd Monken to be the team’s offensive coordinator. He’s expected to take over as the team’s primary play-caller from offensive coordinator James Coley.
Monken was the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator in 2019 after he was the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He moved to the Bucs in 2016 after three years as the head coach at Southern Miss. Before Southern Miss, Monken had been an assistant at LSU and Oklahoma State.
You may remember Monken as the guy who reportedly told opposing teams how much of a mess the Browns were in 2019. Monken and now-fired Browns coach Freddie Kitchens didn’t see eye-to-eye about how the team’s offense should have been run.
Monken’s reported arrival to Athens signals a potentially big shift in the way Georgia’s offense will be run in 2020. Monken’s teams have typically been effective throwing the football. And despite having Jake Fromm at QB in 2019 Georgia’s passing offense wasn’t exactly dynamic in Coley’s first season as offensive coordinator.
Coley promoted in 2019
Coley took over as OC after Jim Chaney left Georgia for the same position at Tennessee and there was a significant offensive dropoff. Georgia averaged one fewer yard per play in 2019 than it did in 2018. And Fromm’s average yards per attempt dropped from 9.0 in 2018 to 7.4 in 2019 while his completion percentage fell over six points.
Southern Miss averaged nearly 40 points and 330 passing yards per game in Monken’s final season in 2015. The Eagles also averaged nearly 74 plays per game; six more than Georgia averaged in 2019.
Wake Forest grad transfer QB Jamie Newman is used to an uptempo offense. Newman announced he was heading to Georgia following Fromm’s NFL declaration and enters the 2020 season as the prohibitive favorite to start for the Bulldogs.
Wake was the fastest offense in college football in 2019 and averaged 83 plays per game.
If Georgia wants to speed up the offense — and most importantly, energize a lackluster passing attack — the move to hire Monken and have him call the plays certainly makes sense when you consider how LSU and Alabama have won national titles. The Tigers’ offense set the college football world on fire en route to the national title with its dynamic passing attack. And LSU has run over 70 plays per game in each of the last two seasons.
Georgia’s offense in anything resembling its 2019 form wasn’t going to help the Bulldogs win a national title anytime soon. Adding Monken may not give Georgia the boost that Joe Brady’s one season at LSU did. But with Newman’s presence and breakout wide receiver George Pickens back for his sophomore season, we’re guessing the Bulldogs will throw the ball down the field a lot more in 2020.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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