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Latest from Sam Franco

    Sam gives his thoughts on UGA’s beat down of Georgia Tech. 
  • Humility is only a week away… It’s been Kirby Smart’s mantra all season long when talking about the success that Georgia Football has had in 2017. Week in and week out, Georgia has taken care of their opponents with relative ease. The game at Notre Dame was tough, and South Carolina provided a tougher test than most thought they would, but other than that, it’s been smooth sailing for the Dawgs. Well, smooth sailing hit the eye of the storm in Auburn, Alabama on Saturday. The Tigers dominated the Dawgs in every way possible and proved that they have come a long way since blowing a big lead against LSU. Here’s what I saw from an awful performance from Georgia: 1. Well, it was a good start: I wanted to start off on a good note, because the only thing Georgia did well in this game was putting points on the board on their first drive. If you had told me this game would go the way it did after watching the Dawgs’ first turn on offense, I would have said you were crazy. Jake Fromm was 3 for 3 on the drive for 56 yards, including a big third down pass to Javon Wims. The two of them have developed a very good understanding of each other, and Fromm has become comfortable throwing jump balls to Wims because of his ability to come down with a bunch of them. Unfortunately, Georgia never came close to replicating the success of the first drive at any point during the rest of the game.  2. Complete and utter domination: After that first drive, Auburn took control of this game and at no point looked like they would give it back. The Tigers more than doubled up Georgia in terms of total yards and outgained Georgia on the ground 237 to 46 (net rushing yards). Kerryon Johnson alone ran for 167 yards while the trio of Chubb, Michel, and Swift only combined for 66 yards for the Dawgs. In the passing game, Georgia couldn’t keep Jake Fromm upright as he was sacked four times and pressured a bunch more. At times, football is a very simple game. If you keep your quarterback protected, hit/pressure the other team’s quarterback, and control the game on the ground, you’re going to win a lot more than you lose. That was the formula for Auburn in this game, and they executed about as well as I’ve seen any team in the country this season.  3. There’s a first time for everything: Two things that have been a hallmark of Georgia Football this season are discipline and fundamental execution. Unfortunately, both of those were essentially non-existent against Auburn. Georgia kept shooting themselves in the foot with dumb penalty after dumb penalty. One that comes to mind was a late hit out of bounds by Malkom Parrish, but the glaring one was D’Andre Walker’s leaping penalty while trying to block a punt. Georgia’s defense had done a good job to force the punt and get off the field. After the penalty, Jarrett Stidham would hit Darius Slayton on a 42-yard pass for a touchdown. These players are told over and over again what they can and can’t do in those punt block situations, so Walker’s penalty was extra maddening. Another thing we had not seen this season was Georgia missing tackles. Kerryon Johnson did a great job of making defenders miss and might prove to be the best back the Dawgs have faced/will face all season.  4. Second-guessing: One of the more talked about things from this game was the way the Dawgs handled the end of the first half. Instead of taking a few shots into the end zone, Georgia was content with settling for a field goal when attempting to put some points on the board before the half. At the time, Auburn led 16-7 and was going to get the ball to start the 2nd half. Georgia had good field position due to a good Mecole Hardman that put the ball at Auburn’s 26-yard line with about 22 seconds left in the half. Georgia then ran the ball with Sony Michel and spiked the ball to give Rodrigo Blankenship time for the kick, a kick that he would ultimately miss. I actually said to a few people near me in the press box that there was no chance that kick was going to go in. It just didn’t feel like it was the right thing to do in that situation. If you take a few shots at the end zone and then kick, it would have felt much better. It just felt like Georgia was resigned to taking the three, and that was disheartening.  5. Taming the savages: For me, this was the most shocking part of this game. Georgia’s defense has been DOMINANT all season long, but they were the exact opposite of that against Auburn. Auburn moved the ball seemingly at will against the Dawgs, whether it was through the air or on the ground. I’ve already mentioned how Kerryon Johnson could not be stopped, but neither could Jarrett Stidham. I was talking with Coach Donnan about this game, and he made a great point: It’s hard to have a consistent pass rush against a team that constantly runs RPOs (run-pass options), especially if you have a quarterback that is good a pre-snap reads. Stidham called a great game in that regard, and constantly had Georgia’s defense guessing.  6. Roadblock in Lee County: The two strongest elements of Georgia’s team this season have been the defense and the run game. I just talked about how Auburn’s offense dominated Georgia’s defense, and you can flip the words “offense” and “defense” there and the same held true. Two of the best backs in the country (Sony Michel and Nick Chubb) had no room to run against the Tigers. The offensive line was flat out horrible in this game. As soon as Georgia’s backs would hit the line of scrimmage, they were met with a host of blue jerseys. There just weren’t any holes for Chubb and Michel to operate in. D’Andre Swift has also been a big part of Georgia’s offense this season, particularly in catching passes out of the backfield. He had zero catches against Auburn and only ran for 18 yards on four carries (which resulted in a yards per carry average that was two yards better than either Chubb or Michel). When you’re a team that leads with the run and can’t run, it’s not going to be a good day for you.  7. Keep Chopping: Was this a bad result for Georgia? Absolutely. A lot of the national media had been questioning Georgia in the lead up to this game, and those doubters were given a lot of ammunition as a result of it. That being said, Georgia still has everything in front of them. If they win the last two games of the regular season against Kentucky and Tech and go on to win the SEC Championship, they WILL be in the College Football playoff. This is where Coach Smart’s “keep chopping wood” slogan comes in handy. Georgia just has to keep working hard and preparing well for each opponent. Even if Georgia doesn’t win the SEC Championship this season, they are still well set up to be in a good bowl game and are ahead of where I thought they would be at this point in Kirby Smart’s tenure as head coach. The future is bright for this program with the recruiting classes the Dawgs are building, but let’s not give up on this season just yet as a lot of different scenarios could still play out. During his press conference this week, Coach Smart spoke very little about the Auburn game, as he, his staff, and his team have moved on to Kentucky. I suggest all of you in DawgNation do the same. There’s still A LOT left to play for and that starts against the boys from the Bluegrass on Saturday.  
  • Sam gives his thoughts on Georgia’s destruction of Florida in Jacksonville
  • Sam gives his thoughts on another big Georgia win, this time against Mizzou
  • Sam gives his thoughts on UGA’s domination of Vanderbilt. 
  • Sam gives his thoughts on UGA’s beat down of the Vols. 
  • Sam gives his thoughts on Georgia’s blowout victory over Mississippi State.
  • Sam gives his thoughts on Georgia’s historic win over Notre Dame in South Bend. 
  • Sam’s thoughts on Georgia starting the season off with a dominating win over App State. 
  • According to a report in the Palm Beach Post, former UGA football coach Mark Richt will pay $1 million of his own money towards an indoor practice facility for the University of Miami. During his tenure in charge of the Bulldogs, the indoor practice facility topic was one that caused a lot of angst, and this will certainly grab the attention of UGA fans. Check out the story from the Palm Beach Post. 
  • Sam Franco

    Morning Show Co-Host

    An ATLien by birth, Sam makes no apologies for being a long-suffering Atlanta sports homer. Having grown up in Decatur, a short ten minute drive from downtown Atlanta, he's seen the good (the 1995 Braves World Series triumph), the bad (the Hawks years under Lon Kruger and Terry Stotts), and the ugly (the Falcons for, well, most of his life on this earth).

    Sam is a proud Double Dawg who earned his bachelor of arts degree from the Grady College at UGA in Broadcast News in 2009 and his Master's degree in Sports Management at UGA in 2014. In addition to his work here at The Ref, Sam is also the Public Address Announcer for UGA Men's and Women's basketball, Baseball, and Soccer.

    When he's not working, you can probably find Sam at a concert or festival, as he is an avid live music fan. Last, but certainly not least, he is very proud of his Hispanic heritage, as his father was born in Ecuador.

    Read More

Georgia Sports News

  • BOGART, Ga. The first read to begin an update on all things Brock Vandagriff has to come out hard and fast. That's how he plays the quarterback position. This one certainly will. It will try to mirror how 5-star QB gets rid of the ball for his Prince Avenue Christian team. Decisive. Hit a read. The right read. Move the chains. Go. Vandagriff will be at Georgia on Saturday for an important 'Junior Day' visit. He said he is only mainly considering Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina at this time. He has only set up a visit to check out UGA this weekend so far. The now 6-foot-3, 205-pound junior shared a very mature outlook on why he de-committed from Oklahoma and how it will shape his decision going forward. 'My Dad and I talked and stuff,' Brock Vandagriff said. 'We're kind of sacrificing the best fit for me for other things which are priorities now.' He doesn't have an opinion, or at least a firm one, on new offensive coordinator hire Todd Monken just yet. That comes tomorrow. 'Not yet,' he said. 'Going to meet him tomorrow and talk ball.' Don't expect him to take a long and very drawn-out recruiting process. H'll can his options. Make the right read and go. 'I like the process being over with,' he said. 'So I am going to get this process over with once I make a decision.' He thinks he will be committed by March. That's how fast this thing can go. 'Maybe in the next month or two,' he said. What will this weekend's visit be about? 'Mainly seeing who I would play with if I went there,' Vandagriff said. 'I'm familiar with the coaches. Familiar with the facilities. Nothing has changed since the last time I have been there. Probably just getting to know the players more and the guys I would be playing with.' Georgia has a strong chance here as the true 'home' team. 'I think that Georgia has like the top priority and if everything fits at Georgia and if it goes how I expect it to go then I think I will probably not visit anywhere else,' he said. He says not to expect a quick-trigger decision. Not even with the greatest 'Junior Day' unofficial visit of all time. 'I don't think I would commit this weekend,' he said in reference to that potential feeling. 'Because I would go home and just pray about it. I wouldn't make an impulse decision but I wouldn't wait much longer.' Brock Vandagriff: The things that really matter here His de-commitment took place on Jan. 1. When he made that move, he cited that location was a big factor. That was what was included in the tweet. What he didn't include was the timing of it all. Vandgriff, like all of us, loaded up the family car and headed off to a grandparent's house. His family's roots, especially on his mom's side, are in rural Alabama. The family feels started tugging on him at Thanksgiving. Then again at Christmas. He had already been thinking about it for two months. Praying about it. 'Then we were at the dinner table with every family member in Alabama,' Brock Vandagriff said. 'The great grandparents. Grandparents. Aunts. Uncles. Stuff like that. I don't know how we got to talking about it. I didn't say anything about it. I guess it was just the Lord's timing.' Somebody said: 'Man, Oklahoma is far away.' He couldn't help but nod his head to that one. 'I couldn't go to sleep that night,' Vandagriff said. 'I was thinking about it. I was like I got to stay closer to home' so the people I love can be able to watch me and I can still go to hunt in Alabama on the weekends. This just really seems natural. 'Like just earlier this year the main thing my Dad and I had talked about was system and a fit system,' he said. Hello Oklahoma. See Jalen Hurts. See Kyler Murray. See Baker Mayfield. And so on. 'I would say that's not the main thing anymore,' he said. 'The main thing is trying to be the best player that I can be regardless of the system and just being like close to the family has been like, become, well, it has really burst onto the scene as important to me.' It is 13.8 miles from Sanford Stadium to his neat and tidy high school locker. It is 913 miles from that same locker to Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memory Stadium. The trip in the family truckster to Norman is only 13 hours longer by car than the Athens commute. 'Spending time in other states is not for me,' he said. 'I like to travel. I like to stay near home. I want people near me to come watch me and stuff like that to happen.' The 247Sports Composite ratings place the homegrown talent as the nation's No. 1 pro-style QB and No. 9 overall prospect for the 2021 class. He's the top player in Georgia, too. Seems like he'd be the ideal visitor for any 'Junior Day' event this weekend, right? That's what those rankings services say. What kind of quarterback does HE think he is? 'I think I am just another quarterback who is a pocket passer who just likes to win,' Vandagriff said. Brock Vandagriff: Let's tee up that pro-style QB thing Those are the fast and quick reads. But it was tempting to open things up with the way he has what his teammates might call a mullet ready to flow out from underneath his helmet. Vandagriff favors that look. Even though he must get very precise with it to make sure it adheres to all PACS and team regulations. That's why he keeps his hair is neat and tight on the sides and those locks don't touch his collar (especially when he straightens up) in the back. There's also the part about this pro-style QB thing here. That's .. interesting. But definitely not an all-encompassing label. That title is reserved for the guys who aren't really escape or extend-the-play guy with their feet. Vandagriff has had a season in which he caught 34 passes at wide receiver in high school. He's also had a season in which he ran for 7.3 yards per carry on the way to 1,001 yards. But now he's also had a season in which he threw for 3,190 yards. The juniorhas also been timed at 4.69 seconds on a laser in the 40-yard dash. Is that a pro-style QB? A dual-threat? A triple-threat? He spent his entire freshman year at Prince Avenue at receiver. He wasn't the quarterback for that team, but added 34 catches for 472 yards and four touchdowns. The 5-star QB for 20201 was the No. 2 WR for his Wolverines in 2017. Pretty odd, right? But that makes sense to those who saw him punt and kick for the Wolverines during his middle school days. The clips still exist with Vandagriff kicking the ball deep and then flying downfield to be the first man to make the tackle on the kickoff. Every kickoff his sophomore year went out of the end zone. Could probably punt in college in he couldn't throw the ball a lick. He's also very strong. The 205-pound QB can already power clean 290 pounds. He's still the punter for Prince Avenue. Still can probably boom touchbacks on the regular with that leg of his. But those days are likely behind him now. Kind of like that flowing hair that creeps out of the side of his helmet. With that introduction, let's chronicle his first pass as a high school player. It came during that 2017 season. Vandagriff was lined up wide right at receiver. He came across to the other side of the field on a jet sweep. He stopped. His heart was skipping beats. He swallowed his nerves and let loose a pass running to his left and throwing with his right arm off a jet sweep. The ball sailed 38-and-a-half yards in the air. It hit the team's top receiver in stride for a catch-and-run touchdown. Of course it was a touchdown. It had to be. 'It was the first game of the season and we'd been stressing this defensive end the whole week,' Vandagriff said. 'If we run this play we are going to run away from this guy.' The Wolverines lined up. Called the play. But Aquinas had flipped its ends. The look to the sideline was to the head coach. Greg Vandagriff, his father, told them to run the play regardless. 'I get the ball and he's coming up and I kind of launch it,' Brock Vandagriff said. 'We had an awesome junior receiver Christian Parrish and he ran right under it for a touchdown.' If he had to critique that throw, his evaluation would not be kind. 'I think the throw distance was good but the mechanics were kind of off,' he said. 'I was kind of worrying for my life there on the sideline.' With the ball in his hands now, he's not worried. The opposing defensive coordinators are. He would go on to throw many more passes from there. He threw for 267 yards and two scores as a freshman, followed by 3,190 more yards and 28 touchdowns as a sophomore and then 2471 yards and 31 scores in just eight games as a junior. Vandagriff completed 72 percent of his passes as a junior, but then added 1,001 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2018. Pro-style? Dual-threat? It seems the line is blurred here. Greg Vandagriff, his father, doesn't care about the rushing totals anymore for the 5-star who sits at his dinner table. Those carries just add up to hits for Vandagriff. Chances for him to leave the game. That's what the other team wants. 'I wouldn't say I'm just like a strict pro-style passer but I mean that's what I try to be,' Brock Vandagriff said. 'I don't try to be the dual-threat guy because I know I'm not going to be outrunning people at the next level and stuff like that. Being able to work on some things in the pocket in high school is helping me mature as a player. That's because I don't do the things in high school that I am not going to be doing at the next level.' 'I wouldn't say I am a pure pocket passer but I wouldn't say I am a dual-threat,' Vandagriff said. 'I do run when I have to but it is not fifty-fifty.' His father started out as a defensive guy in his coaching career. That has been an asset. Even if he did draw it up backwards in the eyes of his son. He taught Brock how to read defenses and read coverages at an early age. He knows what the other side is always thinking and trying to do. Ron Veal, who also trained Trevor Lawrence, has worked with him and his father over the last few years. 'He's a great dude and an older male figure in my life,' Brock Vandagriff said. 'I look up to him and I'm glad that I have someone else I can ask questions about. Ron's taught my dad some stuff as well and all three of us have matured in our understanding of the quarterback position.' The post Brock Vandagriff: The skinny on a big Georgia 'Junior Day' visit this weekend appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia has a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken, as the school officially announced his hiring on Friday. So what does that mean for James Coley, Georgia's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the 2019 season? Georgia released a statement on that matter as well, saying he will remain on the staff and serve as an assistant head coach. There was no further specification of Coley's role and what that might be. Monken was only announced as the offensive coordinator. Coley has been on Kirby Smart's staff since he first arrived at Georgia. He began as a wide receivers coach and worked his way up to the offensive coordinator position for this past season. But the Georgia offense struggled in 2019, as the Bulldogs finished 49th in scoring offense and 46th in yards per play. Not all of that falls on Coley, as there were issues at the wide receiver position as well as injuries throughout the offensive line. Coley spoke with the media prior to Georgia's Sugar Bowl win over Baylor and did take responsibility for the offensive issues in 2019. 'You know what? I've got to do a better job, first and foremost, starts with me, right?' Coley said. 'So I'm looking at myself hard and criticizing myself and busting my tail to get that end better.' Related: Georgia coordinator James Coley reveals offensive issues, assesses Jake Fromm In addition to his work on the offensive side of the ball, Coley also has an excellent reputation for recruiting in South Florida, as the Bulldogs have landed the likes of Marcus Rosemy, Tyson Campbell and Tyrique Stevenson in recent recruiting classes. Coley also played a significant role in landing graduate transfer quarterback Jamie Newman for Georgia. Newman spent last season at Wake Forest, where he threw for 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while rushing for six touchdowns. Keeping Coley on staff would be a big win for the Bulldogs, given he is also the lead recruiter for 5-star quarterbacks Brock Vandagriff and Caleb Williams in the 2021 cycle. Vandagriff will be visiting Georgia this weekend, while Williams praised Coley at the Under Armour All-American game. 'They want me to be the guy. They want me to come in. They are all in,' Williams said. 'I actually talked to Coach Coley about two days ago maybe. We talked. It wasn't just about ball. It was just us talking. I have a good relationship with Coach Coley. They did tell me that they are all in and they want me to be a Dawg.' Related: What Georgia football does at quarterback in 2021 recruiting cycle will speak loudly about program's future With Monken on the staff, Georgia could have a coaching structure similar to what LSU had this past season with Joe Brady and Steve Ensminger. Like Monken, Brady came from the NFL level and provided a great boost to LSU offense. Ensminger drew great reviews for his willingness to share the spotlight with Brady, who is now the offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers. Georgia also issued a statement on Monken and what he will bring to the Bulldogs. 'We are excited to add Todd to our staff,' Smart said.'He has a history of establishing explosive offenses at each and every stop in his impressive career in both the National Football League and at major college football programs.' More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Kirk Herbstreit, national media praise Georgia football addition of Todd Monken Georgia football staff opening: A closer look at Todd Monken Georgia football projected starting lineman cleared to return from injury WATCH: Former Georgia QB prep star Chase Brice leaving Clemson, discusses UGA ESPN names 2 Georgia football standouts to All-Bowl Team Anthony Edwards and Georgia basketball put squeeze on Tennessee, 80-63 Mark Richt, Florida State DC give scout on new Georgia TE Tre' Mckitty The post Georgia football updates status of James Coley after hiring of Todd Monken as offensive coordinator appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHEN Georgia announced the hiring of Todd Monken to the Bulldogs staff on Friday, assigning him the role of offensive coordinator. It's a hiring that will resonate from coast to coast, and yet another example of Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart pushing to program even after finishing No. 4 in the nation in 2019. Former offensive coordinator James Coley will remain on staff and serve assistant head coach, according to a UGA release. 'We are excited to add Todd to our staff,' Smart said in the release. 'He has a history of establishing explosive offenses at each and every stop in his impressive career in both the National Football League and at major college football programs.' Monken spent last season as the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, helping to scheme for an offense that produced the NFL's No. 2 rusher, former UGA star Nick Chubb. The season before, the 53-year-old Monken was calling plays for the NFL's most prolific passing offense in Tampa Bay. The Bucs set franchise records for passing yards, passing touchdowns and total yards with Monken serving as offensive coordinator. Georgia also added former Ole Miss head coach and offensive coordinator Matt Luke in December to serve as UGA's line coach. Luke has offensive coordinator experience, as well. It figures to be a crowded offensive coaches' room barring any more staff changes. But 2019 College Football Playoff champion LSU may have created a mold last season that Smart hopes to emulate. The Bayou Bengals most notably paired former Penn State and New Orleans Saints assistant Joe Brady with veteran quarterbacks coach Steve Ensminger last January. Brady, with the title of passing game coordinator and receivers coach, was credited as the architect for the pass-first scheme LSU matched to its personnel. The veteran Ensminger was the QB coach, offensive coordinator and called the plays. The Tigers results spoke loudly, with quarterback Joe Burrow producing record numbers as LSU marched to an undefeated season at CFP Championship Game win over Clemson. Smart isn't likely to rely on the pass as much as LSU with Georgia having to replace departed junior Jake Fromm, and a reloading situation at receiver. 'W e want to score points,' Smart said last December, asked about changing the offensive philosophy. 'You guys want a simple answer like it's just going to poof and happen. . It's a lot of things that goes into having a successful offense and we need to be better.' In addition to adding Wake Forest graduate transfer quarterback Jamie Newman the No. 3 rated returning QB, per Pro Football Focus he Bulldogs have TE grad transfer Tre' Mckitty arriving in June from Florida State. Smart doesn't figure to be done yet with impact players, with National Signing Day just around the corner (Feb. 5) and more players available in the NCAA transfer portal. Hiring an offensive guru like Monken sends a message to those potential recruits that the Bulldogs' offense looks to be on the upswing. The post Georgia football hires Todd Monken as new offensive coordinator appeared first on DawgNation.
  • After the 2019 season saw Georgia football finish 49th in the country in scoring offense, it was clear something had to change with the Georgia offense. And it's safe to say the Bulldogs have done that with the addition of Todd Monken. DawgNation can confirm he is set to join the program, though the specific role is not yet identified. Monken has spent the past three seasons as an NFL offensive coordinator. He worked with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two seasons before spending this past season with the Cleveland Browns. He did not call plays for the Browns, as Cleveland went 6-10 this past season and fired head coach Freddie Kitchens. Related: Georgia football expected to announce Air Raid' offensive expert Todd Monken joining staff Monken does have experience at the college level, as he served as the offensive coordinator for Oklahoma State in 2011 and '12. The Cowboys went 12-1 in '11, winnig the Fiesta Bowl and Big 12. He also served as the head coach at Southern Miss for three seasons, going 9-5 in his final year before jumping to the Buccaneers. The early returns on the move seem to be overwhelmingly positive. ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit had perhaps the strongest praise, calling the addition of Monken as well as Wake Forest graduate transfer quarterback Jamie Newman, 'exactly what Kirby and the Dawgs Offense needed.' Between Monken's approach and QB Jamie Newman coming over from WF-exactly what Kirby and the Dawgs Offense needed. https://t.co/KvzcCa4X9z Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) January 17, 2020 #Georgia is hiring Todd Monken as offensive coordinator, sources tell @Mark_Schlabach. This has been in the works for a while but is now happening. Monken has been #Browns OC. Important move for Kirby Smart and the Dawgs. #UGA Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) January 17, 2020 Good move https://t.co/JCYsKom1Y3 Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) January 17, 2020 Kirby Smart continues to push Georgia's offense in the right direction this offseason. Jamie Newman was a great pickup but he would not have succeeded in last year's offense based on what I've seen from him. Todd Monken's hire shows Smart willing to evolve his offense in 2020. SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) January 17, 2020 Tampa led the NFL in passing in 2018 w/ Todd Monken as OC. He inherited #112 scoring offense at Southern Miss, left them as #13 nationally. Okla St ranked #2 & #3 nationally in scoring under Monken. https://t.co/OWHshbUK5K SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) January 17, 2020 Georgia had to do something to provide a spark offensively. By adding Todd Monken to the staff on the heels of bringing in former Wake QB Jamie Newman I'd say they've accomplished that. https://t.co/FSG3jMsgjn Alex Scarborough (@AlexS_ESPN) January 17, 2020 None of us know what will be the results of Kirby Smart's hire of Todd Monken. But what it does show is Kirby Smart's willingness to change and evolve offensively. It's big for a man to admit mistakes and be willing to change. #InKirbyWeTrust Happy Hoyt (@brianhoyt24) January 17, 2020 I'm not unhappy with any coaching hire that puts a different offensive mindset in the room with Kirby and staff. Any way you look at it, Todd Monken's mindset has proven to be very different from Kirby's. #GoDawgs Jon Tweets Sports (@JonTweetsSports) January 17, 2020 Related: What Georgia's offense still needs after landing quarterback Jamie Newman It seems that the addition of Monken makes it clear Smart is willing to tweak his offense. Georgia had James Coley serve as the play-caller this past year, and according to ESPN's Mark Schlabach, Coley is expected to remain on the staff but in a new role. Georgia also added Matt Luke to the staff this offseason, as he replaced Sam Pittman as the offensive line coach. That means the Bulldogs will have two former college head coaches on Smart's staff next year, as Luke was the head coach at Ole Miss. This is a massive recruiting weekend for the Bulldogs, as they have a number of elite 2021 recruiting prospects in town. The most high-profile name is 5-star quarterback Brock Vandagriff. Landing him, or fellow 5-star quarterback Caleb Williams, would go a long way to helping the long-term health of the Georgia quarterback room. Related: What Georgia football does at quarterback in 2021 recruiting cycle will speak loudly about program's future As for stats about the last two offenses, Monken has worked on, Tampa Bay led the NFL in passing in 2018, while former Georgia Bulldog Nick Chubb ranked second in the NFL in rushing last year for the Browns. Monken though did not call plays for Cleveland last year. Georgia opens the 2020 season on Sept. 7 when Georgia takes on Virginia. More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Georgia football staff opening: A closer look at Todd Monken Georgia football projected starting lineman cleared to return from injury WATCH: Former Georgia QB prep star Chase Brice leaving Clemson, discusses UGA ESPN names 2 Georgia football standouts to All-Bowl Team Anthony Edwards and Georgia basketball put squeeze on Tennessee, 80-63 Mark Richt, Florida State DC give scout on new Georgia TE Tre' Mckitty The post Kirk Herbstreit, national media praise Georgia football addition of Todd Monken appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia football is expected to announce the hiring of former NFL offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Monken, 53, directed the NFL's top passing offense while calling plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018 before spending last season as the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator. The 2018 Bucs averaged 320.3 yards through the air with quarterbacks Jameis Winton and Ryan Fitzpatrick combining to complete 65.3-percent of their passes. Monken's Tampa Bay offense set records for total yards, passing yards and passing touchdowns Monken, considered an expert in the 'Air Raid' style of offense, did not call plays with the Browns last season. 'Really what I took away from (the Air Raid) was being able to throw to win,'' Monken said after taking the Browns job last season in a Cleveland.com story. 'That really to me was the Air Raid. You had a certain amount of run game, you ran a lot of the same concepts and you could throw to win. That was really it. Like any offense, it works a lot better if you have good players.' Monken also said, 'I've always chosen places based on the people and the opportunity to win.' Georgia brings back 5 of 11 starters off an offense that beat Baylor 26-14 in the Sugar Bowl, including the game's MVP, receiver George Pickens. The Bulldogs have ushered in graduate transfer QB Jamie Newman from Wake Forest to take over for departed junior Jake Fromm. Georgia also brings back a trio of rising playmakers in the backfield, with Zamir White, Kenny McIntosh in James Cook all flashing electric moments last season. Monken obviously likes what he sees from the Georgia playmakers. Monken is well-traveled in both the pro and college ranks, starting his career as an assistant on a Division ll Grand Valley State staff (1989-90). He had notable stops on staffs at Oklahoma State with Mike Gundy (2002-04, 2011-12), and LSU with Les Miles (2005-06). Monken was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach when the Cowboys had Brandon Weeden and J.W. Walsh under center two of the top QBs in program history. Oklahoma State ranked second in the nation in passing offense in 2011, future first-round NFL draft pick Weeden ninth in the country in passing efficiency. The next season, Walsh ranked fourth in the nation in passing efficiency as a redshirt freshman who appeared in 10 games in 2012, the Cowboys seventh in the nation in passing yardage per game. At LSU, working with future first-round NFL pick JaMarcus Russell in 2006, Monken helped Russell finish tops among FBS Power 5 quarterbacks in passing efficiency (167.0), with 28 TDs and 8 interceptions. The post Georgia football expected to announce Air Raid' expert Todd Monken joining staff appeared first on DawgNation.