Georgia football offense this year will now say a lot more about Todd Monken than quarterbacks
Since Jamie Newman and Todd Monken both arrived in Georgia in January, the two had been paired as men who would bypass Georgia’s offensive. Monken, the creative mind of the NFL with modern passing principles and Newman, the uber-athlete with a rocket arm, seemed to have the potential for a great marriage.
Instead, it turned into a divorce before the Bulldogs even played a game.
Newman announced on Wednesday that he would be retiring from the 2020 season in order to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. He becomes the first Georgian player to step down and joins LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons and former Wake Forest teammate Sage Surratt.
Related: How Jamie Newman went from Heisman Trophy contender offseason to retire
The quarterback took the time to thank Georgia coach Kirby Smart in his statement, and Smart then responded with a statement of his own support for Newman.
“Although he will be missed in our program, I fully support Jamie’s decision and we will continue to view him as a Georgia Bulldog,” said Smart. “Certainly we wish him nothing but the best in his quest for a career in the NFL and he knows he will always have a home at the UGA.
Without Newman, the question becomes: who is the Bulldogs’ next quarterback? Georgia will have to choose between JT Daniels, D’Wan Mathis, Carson Beck and Stetson Bennett among scholarship options.
But the more important question could in fact be what Monken is now capable of getting out of the quarterback position?
One of the funniest debates over the success of LSU’s 2019 season – where the team rewrote the SEC records – is who was more responsible for the success? Was it transcendent quarterback Joe Burrow, the player who made the plays, or the passing game coordinator Joe Brady, who seemed to finally unlock all the talent LSU had on his roster.
The reality is that the correct answer is both. Burrow actually made the plays, but Brady also clearly played a key role in opening things up for the Tigers.
Considering the new offensive coordinator and transfer quarterback, the 2019 LSU-2020 Georgia comparisons were popular this offseason. Losing Newman so close to the start of the season will certainly reduce those comparisons.
Unless Monken is still able to transform Georgia’s offensive with his ploy. If that were to happen, it could go a long way in answering the Brady-Burrow debate. And silence a number of criticisms regarding Kirby Smart and the Georgia Offense.
The man who is under the most pressure when it comes to attacking Georgia is actually Monken. For much of the offseason, it was Newman given he was a clear face on the pitch for offense.
Monken could very likely end up trotting a transfer quarterback as a starter this year, as JT Daniels is now the favorite to take the job. He was transferred to Georgia in May, after Monken’s arrival.
Related: Teammates Kirby Smart discuss what JT Daniels will bring to Georgia football quarterback battle
But Daniels still hasn’t been fully cleared for the playing action, although he was able to mingle last week. He’s still recovering from an ACL injury he sustained last August, and there is natural rust accompanying the comeback.
If it wasn’t Daniels as a starter, it was one of the other three quarterbacks mentioned that threw 27 combined passing attempts at college level.
Monken will therefore clearly be responsible for making the most of this room as a quarterback.
As for what he expects from his quarterback, Monken said accuracy, mental toughness and athleticism are the most important characteristics. In his past infractions he has also focused a lot on attacking the pitch vertically and making the most of his star receivers.
Georgia has that in George Pickens, and he will no doubt make life for the starting quarterback easier. But the great depth of the receiver behind him is not excellent to start the season.
Monken will likely look to the running back position to help his starting quarterback, as early returns from Zamir White and James Cook have been very positive.
Related: Georgia OC Todd Monken shares thoughts on UGA skill players, including ‘relative surprise’
Burrow wasn’t the only one who had a breakthrough last season thanks to Brady. Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and wide receiver Justin Jefferson both went from 3-star rookies to first-round picks thanks to Brady consistently putting them in a position to be successful and productive players.
If this Georgia attack is even going to sniff out what LSU did a season ago, Monken will have to do the same guys as Demetris Robertson, Cook and tight transfer Tre McKitty.
The spotlight was going to shine brightly on Newman this season, as usual on the Georgia quarterback. But as we’ve seen with Mike Bobo, Jim Chaney, and 2019 offensive coordinator James Coley, that spotlight is just as intense on the caller.
And now, with Newman exiting the scene, Monken will receive either high praise or sharper criticism for his leadership of the Georgia offensive.
Georgia football offensive coordinator Todd Monken discusses the offensive
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