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  • Graham Coffey

    UGA’s Depth & Talent on Display as Dawgs Dominate Vanderbilt

    By Graham Coffey

    Georgia got on top of Vandy early on Saturday and didn’t let up. This week the Bulldogs didn’t need any halftime adjustments. Unlike last Saturday against Auburn or the week before against Missouri, Georgia looked crisp early on both sides of the ball. Stetson Bennett came out dealing, going 18/20 for 2 TD’s and over 200 yards in the 1st half while helping the Dawgs to a 28-0 lead. UGA’s defense also started strong. It was 21-0 before Vanderbilt threatened to score in the 2nd quarter. 
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  • Jason Brassell

    Weekly Recruiting Overview 10/3/22

    By Jason Brassell

    Alright, Georgia had one of the biggest commitments in the 2023 cycle last week with Tyler Williams going public with his Commitment to the G. The 4* receiver committed to UGA over Miami, South Carolina, and plenty of others. He'll be a much needed addition to the receiver room in Athens, especially with him playing the receiver position for such a short time and his best football ahead of him. Georgia will also have it's biggest recruiting weekend of the season with Auburn being the bigges
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    • 389 views
  • MDC-NYC

    Week 11 - Getting Closer to the End

    By MDC-NYC

    CFP Focus Sharpens After the Pac 12’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, the path for a P5 non-champion has expanded considerably.  As we noted last week, the seemingly difficult conflicts (i.e., Tennessee vs Oregon) usually seem to work themselves out.  We remain highly confident (90+% confidence interval) that a one loss B12 champion TCU and one loss P12 champ USC would be in the CFP over any one loss P5 non-division winner (i.e., Tennessee, OSU-Michigan loser).  TCU's path i
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    • 232 views
  • Jason Brassell

    Official Dawgs Central Prediction - Dawgs Will Get a 5* Soon

    By Jason Brassell

    Is it FINALLY that time? It has seemed like an eternity that UGA has led for 2023 5* EDGE Samuel M'Pemba. Georgia has really made M'Pemba a priority since this spring and has done an incredible job recruiting the 6'3 240 pounder. The Missouri native who is playing his senior season at IMG Academy has been to Athens multiple times this summer and this fall for Gamedays. The main competition right now for the Dawgs is Tennessee. He took an official visit the weekend the Vols played Alabama. E
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    • 326 views
  • Graham Coffey

    Advanced Stat/Scheme Preview - Georgia vs Auburn

    By Graham Coffey

    And we are back! After last week’s game at Missouri there is much to consider when evaluating how UGA-Auburn may play out this weekend. Many saw a close game between UGA and Mizzou and didn’t look much further. Well, at DawgsCentral we always look further. From a Success Rate standpoint, UGA dominated Missouri. Random big plays, the best night by a college FG kicker we will see all year, and excellent starting field position kept Missouri in the game despite being out gained by 200 total ya
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Simple Explanation for Bennett's Heisman Candidacy

So Stetson Bennett is headed to New York for the Heisman ceremony. Everyone's head is exploding, and Tennessee twitter has melted into a beautiful puddle of orange sherbet rage. We've seen the back and forth all week, most of the national media is either against Bennett being invited or at the very least, think Hendon Hooker should be there with him. Cases have been made and stats have been cherry picked. I'm not trying to both sides this thing, but I totally get all the arguments. They make sen

Craig Lawson

Craig Lawson in Opinion Piece

Like A Rock Band: Examining The Egoless Genius of Georgia’s Todd Monken

Georgia is 13-0 and heading towards another College Football Playoff appearance after winning the 2021 National Championship. After two straight undefeated seasons it is easy to forget that things weren’t always like this in Athens. Flashback a few years and you will remember that there were many in the media and Bulldog fanbase who questioned Kirby Smart’s ability to turn Georgia into an elite offensive team. The defensive chops of UGA’s head man were never in question, but the 2019 team t

Graham Coffey

Graham Coffey in Analysis

Breaking down a 12 team playoff in 2022: The stupid parts anyway

I've written previously about some potential major negatives that will come along once the college football playoff expands to 12 teams. Back in July I was using fabricated hypotheticals, but now that the playoff field is set we can take a look at what would have actually happened through the first week of December and the playoff implications that would have resulted. Let's begin with what the field would be.   Anything jump out at you? The first thing I noticed (and that I frankly fo

Craig Lawson

Craig Lawson in Opinion Piece

Metrics from SECCG and Season Stats Recap

Georgia checked some boxes for me and probably some of you, too.  Georgia scored 50 on a good team and did it in a big game.  Yes, on a day when the defense was average allowed 7.6 YPP, 46% success rate, and 30 points - Georgia's offense could in fact outscore someone and won an SEC Championship on Saturday.   Bennett was 23 of 29 for 274 with 4 TDs and a 63% Pass Success Rate and 9.3 YPA.  LSU's offense had success, but couldn't keep up.  The Tigers' 45% success rate was the third highest allow

Josh Hancher

Josh Hancher in Stats

Advanced Stat/Scheme Preview: Georgia vs LSU

It’s SEC Championship week. The Dawgs are looking for their first conference crown since 2017. Will they get it? Like always, I dug into the tape and advanced metrics to see how Saturday’s game should play out on the field…  LSU Offense vs UGA Defense - LSU will spread it out some, but they actually have a pretty physical identity. They play with TE’s often and use a lot of tight formations. They will try to hit plays in the run game to stay on schedule and they are going to line up an

Graham Coffey

Graham Coffey in Advanced Stat/Scheme Game Previews 2022

The Pursuit of Perfection

Earlier this week, a friend of mine was surprised about how I was talking about this weekend's SEC Championship game. He asked me, "Isn't this game meaningless?" My response was quick and to the point, "Um, no." I cannot get onboard with a conference title being meaningless. Not yet, at least (I'll save my feelings on the playoff expanding in 2024 for another day). I especially cannot get on board with this SEC Championship being meaningless for this Georgia team. First of all, Georgia

Jim Wood

Jim Wood in The Junkyard Blawg

Flip Watch 2023

As if the transfer portal hasn't made things crazy enough in managing a college football roster and recruiting, NIL has made it to where December will be absolute nuts. Of course NIL was meant for student-athletes to make money off of their name, image, and likeness, but not necessarily meant for schools to use ahead of time just to get them to go there. This process is confusing enough for teenagers without the added in pressure of "organizations connected to the schools" offering hundreds of t

Jason Brassell

Jason Brassell in 2023 Recruiting

Freshman Report - Who Played vs Georgia Tech

The 2022 class for UGA came in as the #3 class in the nation with five 5* prospects, seventeen 4* prospects, and eight 3* prospects. We knew some of these guys would have to contribute early coming into the season. We've seen Mykel Williams get multiple starts. Brett Thorson is kicking the crap out of the ball. Dillon Bell has come in and made some plays in AD Mitchell's absence. We've been told Gunner Stockton has been tremendous running the scout team offense. Oscar Delp has somehow earne

Jason Brassell

Jason Brassell in UGA Football 2022 Season

My God a Podcast! SEC Championship Preview

Jim and John preview Georgia’s matchup with LSU in the SEC Championship Game and answer listener questions. Please visit our presenting sponsor, AXIA Time, at axiatime.com. Use our special link zen.ai/mygod and use our code “mygod” to save 30% off your first three months of Zencastr professional. #madeonzencastr

Jim Wood

Jim Wood in Podcasts & Shows

Week 12 Update - with a side of Michigan-OSU

Week 12 Update Due to the Holiday Week and cramming 5 days of work into 3, we were a bit delayed.  We hope everyone had a relaxing Thanksgiving.   Overall, week 12 produced a lot of surprising result ranging from Tennessee’s implosion to Florida losing to Vanderbilt to Michigan needing a game winning FG to remain unbeaten to Ohio State struggling defensively against a Maryland team that had only scored 10 points in its previous two games.  TCU’s battle with Baylor was somewhat more pre

MDC-NYC

MDC-NYC in Nerding Out

Is Georgia Tech not... terrible?

Georgia Tech had a preseason win total of 3.5 wins and still seemed to climbing uphill in year 4 of Geoff Collins' rebuild after years of Triple Option personnel.   Tech was uncompetitive and had just one win over Western Carolina when UCF took Tech to the woodshed and the 27-10 loss ended the Collins era. Brent Key took over as interim and has gone 4-3 with an upset of UNC and can get the Jackets to a bowl with an upset Saturday.  The season stats matchup make that look more daunting. (Che

Josh Hancher

Josh Hancher in Tech Preview

Clean Old Fashioned Hate

This is not a friendly rivalry. All you have to do is look at the name. It's not called Clean Old Fashioned Love. It's not called Clean Old Fashioned Fun. This is Clean Old Fashioned Hate. If you're of any generation younger than myself, I get the logic behind your underestimation of Georgia Tech. Georgia is 17-3 against Georgia Tech since Mark Richt's first season in 2001. But let me tell you something. I went off to college as a wide eyed freshman thinking we'd never lose to Georgia

Jim Wood

Jim Wood in The Junkyard Blawg

Advanced Stat/Scheme Preview: Georgia vs Georgia Tech

Let’s be honest here, folks. There is a reason why Georgia is a 5 touchdown favorite on Saturday with the Yellow Jackets coming to town. There is a massive difference in the talent levels of these two rosters. The Bulldogs have the 2nd most well recruited roster in all of College Football. Georgia Tech’s is the 30th.  That ranking might surprise you. The Yellow Jackets won just 3 games in each of the prior three seasons. For some perspective, Mississippi State is 29th in the Talent Composit

Graham Coffey

Graham Coffey in Advanced Stat/Scheme Game Previews 2022

Metrics from the Ugly win at Lexington

I did NOT see this coming.  The good news is that Georgia went on road in back to back weeks playing quality defenses and completed back to back SEC Seasons undefeated and as @Graham Coffeypointed out, that doesn't happen often.  Georgia was able to rack up points in Starkville, but not last night getting out of town with a 16-6 win.  The offense did eek out 50% success rate, and Bennett only threw the ball 19 times. The longest gain of the night was a 35 yard pass to Blaylock - which you

Josh Hancher

Josh Hancher in Stats

Advanced Stat/Scheme Preview: Georgia vs Kentucky

And we are back! I hope all of you have had a great week. First off, let me apologize for not getting this out last week. As many of you already know, I was fighting a stomach bug that kept me from operating at full capacity. The good news? I have an in-depth breakdown full of observations and insights on Kentucky. The bad news? I tested positive for Covid on Tuesday and that kept me from being able to record the video preview that normally compliments this piece. I hope to be back to a normal c

Graham Coffey

Graham Coffey in Advanced Stat/Scheme Game Previews 2022

The Loudest Block I Ever Heard

I've been feeling nostalgic about the 2002 Georgia Bulldogs this week. This Wednesday was the 20th anniversary of Georgia beating Auburn to win the SEC East for the first time in program history. This nostalgia had me thinking about the 2002 trip I took up to Kentucky. The Dawgs absolutely dominated Kentucky that day, 52-24. David Greene and DJ Shockley combined to throw six touchdown passes, setting a school record (Note: that record has since been matched twice, including by Stetson

Jim Wood

Jim Wood in The Junkyard Blawg

My God a Podcast! Kentucky Preview

Jim and John preview Georgia’s matchup with Kentucky and answer listener questions. Please visit our presenting sponsor, AXIA Time, at axiatime.com. Use code mygodapodcast at checkout for 10% off!   Use our special link zen.ai/mygod and use our code “mygod” to save 30% off your first three months of Zencastr professional. #madeonzencastr

Jim Wood

Jim Wood in Podcasts & Shows

Week 11 - Getting Closer to the End

CFP Focus Sharpens After the Pac 12’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, the path for a P5 non-champion has expanded considerably.  As we noted last week, the seemingly difficult conflicts (i.e., Tennessee vs Oregon) usually seem to work themselves out.  We remain highly confident (90+% confidence interval) that a one loss B12 champion TCU and one loss P12 champ USC would be in the CFP over any one loss P5 non-division winner (i.e., Tennessee, OSU-Michigan loser).  TCU's path i

MDC-NYC

MDC-NYC in Nerding Out

  • Dawgs Central Blogs

    1. So Stetson Bennett is headed to New York for the Heisman ceremony. Everyone's head is exploding, and Tennessee twitter has melted into a beautiful puddle of orange sherbet rage. We've seen the back and forth all week, most of the national media is either against Bennett being invited or at the very least, think Hendon Hooker should be there with him. Cases have been made and stats have been cherry picked. I'm not trying to both sides this thing, but I totally get all the arguments. They make sense for the most part. Ultimately, I really don't think it's all that complicated from the following perspective. Three weeks ago I would have rolled my eyes at the idea of Bennett as a Heisman candidate, but early last week the idea didn't seem quite so preposterous when I asked one simple question about the other candidates.

      What did you do the last time we saw you? Here are the answers for all the candidates headed to NYC and we'll even throw Hendon Hooker in for good measure.

      • Caleb Williams, USC: Solid effort playing through a couple of injuries, but ultimately fell yet again to three loss Utah. That makes two losses to Utah on the season, and this time it was a blowout in the Pac 12 title game. USC was the favorite, but Williams was unable to cash the check he wrote on his fingernails. This game also ended USC's playoff bid.  
      • Max Duggan, TCU: With a heroic effort down the stretch and into overtime, Duggan nearly had TCU undefeated as they head into their first playoff appearance. But even with his 110 rushing yards, TCU lost to Kansas State despite being a slight favorite in their second matchup of the season. TCU did still manage to make the playoff as a three seed.  
      • CJ Stroud, Ohio State: Solid numbers in yet another blowout loss to Michigan, but this time it was AT HOME. Yes, the Buckeyes lost by three touchdowns to their biggest rival, and the offense led by Stroud, only managed three points in the second half. Stroud also threw two interceptions after halftime. Ohio State ended up with a backdoor playoff bid after failing to qualify for the Big Ten Championship.
      • Hendon Hooker, Tennessee: His team was demolished on the road by a four loss South Carolina team, and he was outplayed head-to-head by Spencer Rattler. Going into the game, Rattler had thrown more interceptions than touchdown passes. While it's true that Hooker can't control his defense giving up 63 points it is more than fair to expect him to lead his offense to a better output. Tennessee scored 66 points the previous week against an outmanned Missouri team who beat this same South Carolina team on the road just two weeks prior. I know, I know, the transitive property is bullshit in college football, but in this case it's at least worth a mention. Hooker threw 3 touchdown passes in both of those games, but his completion percentage dropped from 71.4% against Missouri to 59.5% against USC. Adding injury to insult, Hooker sustained a season ending ACL tear. Our last look at him was in the injury tent with his team down by 18 points, and let's not forget that the USC loss also dashed Tennessee's playoff hopes. These are bad optics.  
      • Stetson Bennett, Georgia: Four touchdown passes in a blowout win over LSU on the way to becoming the MVP of the SEC Championship. Georgia also earned the number one seed in the CFB Playoff after an undefeated season. Not much else to say.  

      Final impressions can be the most important ones when it comes to college football post season awards. One year ago today you wouldn't have been able to find a bigger Stetson Bennett detractor than yours truly. I didn't think he could win Georgia a title. I was happy to be proven wrong and I wear that L. Now he's headed to the Heisman ceremony, and while not everyone will agree he deserves to attend, it's really not that hard to understand why he's attending. Prominent players on the best teams have always received Heisman bumps. Anyone who doesn't know that is either brand new or lying to themselves.

      Final factoids:

      • Josh Heupel, Hendon Hooker's coach at Tennessee, came in second for the 2000 Heisman. He threw for 3392 yards, 20 touchdowns and rushed for 7 touchdowns that season. As fate would have it, those numbers are almost identical to Stetson Bennett's this season. After 13 games Bennett stands at 3425 yards, 20 touchdown passes and 7 rushing touchdowns. Heupel played one less game than Bennett, but he also padded his stats pretty heavily against Texas-El Paso, Arkansas State and Rice. In those games he combined for 7 touchdowns and nearly 900 yards through the air, plus 3 scores on the ground. For reference, Bennett did not pad his stats against cupcakes this season as he added under 600 yards, just 1 touchdown pass and 2 rushing scores against non P5 opponents. For what it's worth, Heupel would go on to lead Oklahoma to the BCS National Championship that season.
      • If anybody tries to make the dumbass argument that it's not fair that Stetson Bennett is 25 years old, remind them that Hooker will be 25 in January. Oh, the guy who beat Heupel out for that 2000 Heisman? None other than 28 year old Chris Weinke.

      I wonder how the Vols like them apples? Or I guess I should say oranges because that's the bowl they're headed to.   

    2. Georgia is 13-0 and heading towards another College Football Playoff appearance after winning the 2021 National Championship. After two straight undefeated seasons it is easy to forget that things weren’t always like this in Athens.

      Flashback a few years and you will remember that there were many in the media and Bulldog fanbase who questioned Kirby Smart’s ability to turn Georgia into an elite offensive team. The defensive chops of UGA’s head man were never in question, but the 2019 team that was coordinated by James Coley was just 65th in the FBS in Total Offense, averaging 397.2 YDS a contest. That 2019 team was also 61st in Scoring Offense while putting up 28.3 points a game. 

      That Georgia team won an SEC East title, but when UGA faced eventual national title winners LSU in Atlanta it was clear the Dawgs didn’t have the offensive firepower to keep up with an elite counterpart like the Burrow led Tigers. Georgia fans were frustrated, and the fact that former Bulldog QB Justin Fields was leading Ohio State to the first of back-to-back CFP appearances only seemed to make things worse. Watching a former player lead a high-flying offensive attack at another program served as a constant reminder of UGA’s offensive struggles to many Bulldog fans. 

      The narrative was that Kirby Smart didn’t know how to manage quarterbacks. Pundits said that Smart couldn’t field an offensive unit that was good enough to win Georgia games on the rare occasions when the UGA defense struggled. 

      That offseason Smart made a change. Georgia’s head man hired Todd Monken from the Cleveland Browns to coordinate UGA’s offense. With no market for his services as a play caller, Coley packed his bags and left to be the Tight-End Coach at Texas A&M. 

      The Monken hire occurred shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the US and much of the World in March of 2020. For large stretches of time it seemed like a College Football season wouldn’t happen. When it finally did, I scrambled to figure out what the guy would be about. 

      The result was a sprawling piece called “The Monken Files” that I wrote for DawgSports with Nathan Lawrence of the Chapel Bell Curve podcast.

      I went through his time as Offensive Coordinator at Oklahoma State (2011-2012), his years as Head Coach at Southern Miss (2013-2015), and his work as the Offensive Coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2016-2018). 

      After watching 7 years of Monken I came to a somewhat stunning conclusion- Todd Monken doesn’t really have a system. When I say “system” I mean that Monken is not married to a super specific offense that he installs everywhere he goes. There are certain cornerstones or tenets of the Monken offense, but at each stop he tweaked his system to suit the personnel on his team. That’s stunningly rare in this era of football.

      Coaches are celebrities. They are praised for being “gurus” with their own innovative “systems” that will offer the winning kryptonite to whichever franchise or university brings them on board. Offensive coaches at the NFL and Power Five level often get hired… And then we watch as they ask players to do things they aren’t good at doing. 

      What makes Monken so refreshing is how he adjusts his play-calling season to season based on the personnel he has. He never puts a square peg into a round hole, and he always makes his unit into a moving target that’s hard to peg down. 

      Most importantly, his only prerogative is winning. When his hiring became rumored at Georgia some outlets wrote headlines like, “Georgia Expected to Announce Air Raid Offensive Expert Todd Monken Joining Staff.” That headline is understandable because Monken’s name first became known as the OC at Oklahoma State in 2011. The Cowboys were second in the nation in offense and put up 48.7 points a game, but it wasn’t Monken’s system that they were running. 

      In fact, before arriving at Oklahoma State in 2011 he hadn’t called plays since being at Eastern Michigan in 1999. Oklahoma State had Brandon Weeden returning at QB and Justin Blackmon at WR and had been rolling on offense under Dana Holgorsen. In 2010 the Cowboys were 3rd in total offense and scoring offense. Monken, newly hired and with no interest in crashing a race car into the ditch, just kept running the same Air Raid system that Holgorsen had been successfully running the year prior. 

      In that moment Monken set a precedent that he has followed over the decade since. In a profession full of control freaks who are often egomaniacs, Monken just did what he knew would work. He also made sure to learn a little something along the way. 

      Monken said this on his time in the Air Raid during a press conference in Cleveland in 2019. “Really what I took away from it was being able to throw to win. That really to me was the Air Raid. You had a certain amount of run game, ran a lot of the same concepts, and you could throw to win. That was really it.”

      That is an interesting quote to look back on when you consider the 2022 UGA season. The offensive line is humming along nicely now, but it struggled at times in the run game earlier this year. It was filled with blue-chip talent, but it did not operate well enough to be able to run into stacked boxes all the time. The 2021 team was often able to run the ball as long as it did just enough to keep defenses respecting the threat of the pass. 2022 UGA was a pass-first offense that closed games out on the ground for much of the season. Monken saw the need to adjust and he did. That’s how Stetson Bennett went from averaging 20.2 pass attempts a game in 2021 to 30.3 in 2022. 

      Examples of Monken’s lack of rigidity can be found throughout his tenure in Athens. With its top two tight-ends healthy for a full season, Georgia has targeted Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington a combined 110 times in 2022. In 2020 the freshman Washington and John Fitzpatrick combined for 30 targets in 10 games. With AD Mitchell hurt in the second game of the season, Monken designed his 2022 offense to take advantage of the gifted TE’s and the personnel headaches their blocking and receiving skills can create for defensive coordinators. Bowers even has a 75-yard TD run on his list of accomplishments this year.

      The 2021 Bulldogs were very efficient on offense, and while they finished 3rd in Football Outsiders’ FEI rankings, many overlooked the unit as Georgia’s historically dominant defense carried them to a national title. UGA is 4th in those same offensive efficiency rankings in 2022, but the raw numbers are a bit sexier this time around. Georgia is 6th in yards per game and 7th in points per game this season. 

      With Bennett heading to New York as a Heisman finalist and Monken coordinating the offense, it appears that Georgia may finally be rid of the narratives that led to rival programs negatively recruiting the Dawgs when competing for elite offensive skill players. The irony of Bennett going to NYC is that none of this was intentional. Many coaches in the FBS force-feed skill players. The result is gaudy stats to show recruits and the type of recognition and individual awards that get coaches raises and promotions. 

      Monken’s philosophy? A balanced attack makes you harder to stop. Normally when you hear offensive coaches talk about balance they’re referring to run/pass ratio, but that’s not what Monken means when he says it. Here he is from that same introductory press conference in Cleveland. “I think balance is multiple skill players touching the football. To me it’s not always just run/pass. It’s do you have enough skill players to touch the football? Last year in Tampa we almost had six guys, if OJ (Howard) doesn’t get hurt, with 700+ yards from line of scrimmage. Well to me that’s balance. You have a number of guys that can hurt you. From a matchup standpoint, is running the football important? Sure, because in order to win you’ve gotta be explosive and not turning the ball over. How do you become explosive? Space players and throwing it over their head or throwing it into intermediate pockets, and running the football adds to that.”

      Georgia has three RB’s with 500+ rushing yards this season. It has five players with 300+ receiving yards and two of them have more than 675 yards. They have done that despite being without AD Mitchell for most of the season. Ten Bulldogs had receptions in Georgia’s SEC Championship win against LSU. Six players had rushing attempts in their win over then #1 ranked Tennessee in November. The Monken philosophy means that anyone can strike at any time, and that is a whole lot harder to defend than an offense that flows through a couple of main threats. Selling superstar recruits on a system where touches are widely distributed could be hard in the modern era, but the results speak for themselves. Everyone loves winning. 

      You can’t accuse Monken of hypocrisy. Georgia’s egoless offensive coordinator practices the same philosophy with his assistants that he asks of his players. Monken was one of the five finalists for the 2022 Broyles Award, which is given annually to college football’s best assistant coach. Each of the five finalists were asked to speak during the award ceremony. During his speech Monken talked about how he views an offensive staff as a rock band and took time out to credit two UGA assistants for the plays that created Georgia’s first three touchdowns against LSU. 

      “I wanna thank our staff… You know, when we played the other day, I always believe this, that I see an offensive staff like a rock band or a group that you need every piece of it. That you take the collective strength of the staff and give them pieces of it and then you just coordinate it as best you can. Because it takes everybody. It takes songwriters, it takes the musicians, and they’re the ones that make it come to life. The first two touchdown passes we threw the other day, those were Mike Bobo’s ideas, those weren’t mine. The third touchdown pass was Ryan Williams, an analyst. It wasn’t my idea, it was some else’s idea. We just fought like hell during the week to see if we could make it right.”

      When you look at 2022 Georgia and how they have played throughout the season it’s fascinating to see how Smart, Monken and the rest of the staff have treated their slate of games to this point. When writing my weekly 12 Takeaways feature for DawgsCentral subscribers I have often talked about “The Long Con” in reference to Monken. Without getting too far into the weeds, the theory is this- Georgia doesn’t just save its big plays for big games, but it often saves some of its bad plays for lesser opponents. When I use the word “bad” it is important to remember that any football play is really only as good as the players who are running it. A “good” play call for the 2021 UGA team might look like a bad one when signaled into the huddle during a game in 2022. The team changes and the strengths and weaknesses of the personnel do as well. 

      When you look at how Georgia’s season has transpired it becomes clear to me that Todd Monken knew exactly what the strengths and weaknesses of his team was coming into the 2022 opener against Oregon. He knew he had a versatile RB in McIntosh that was a skilled receiver. He knew his TE’s were monsters who could block the run and catch the ball. He knew that Bennett was better than everyone thought he was. He knew his wideouts were excellent downfield blockers. He also knew his offensive line was a very good pass blocking unit but not there yet as run blockers. He took advantage of his offense’s strengths in big September games against Oregon and South Carolina, but he made his team do things it wasn’t comfortable with against Samford and Kent State. That pattern continued throughout the year depending on the opponent and the score. 

      Could Monken and UGA got Brock Bowers to 1,000 yards receiving this year? Absolutely. Could they have got Bennett more yards against many of the teams the Bulldogs played? Of course. Instead, they got better. When UGA went to Mississippi State in November they struggled to run the ball with their backs. Georgia RB’s averaged just 2.24 yards a carry before a long Kendall Milton TD run in garbage time. Monken knows that balance is key, and a balanced team has to be a threat on the ground and through the air. Against Kentucky and Georgia Tech the Bulldogs came out with clear intentions to work on the run game. The results were mostly positive, but sometimes mixed. They certainly could have put bigger scores on the board if they ran some different things, but that wasn’t the point. Jump ahead to UGA’s SEC Championship game against LSU and Georgia had 255 yards on the ground in a game where they hit 50 points early in the fourth quarter. The offensive line that was a question mark in run blocking early in the season was devastatingly efficient with its execution and force. 

      That will matter a lot when Georgia faces Ohio State in the College Football Playoff, and that is why the Bulldogs are blessed to have Monken. Unlike so many offensive coaches at the highest levels of football his focus is fully dedicated to making sure his team can give a defense as many problems as possible. There seems to be no interest in becoming famous for a system with his name on it. There isn’t any focus on padding stats so he can put a player’s individual award on his resume. The goal is to win football games, Specifically, national championships. 

      Monken’s style and personality might not lead to commentators calling him a guru or a genius. However, that’s exactly what he is. Kirby Smart built the foundation of the Georgia program on physicality, elite recruiting, dominant defense, and hard work. It took Monken’s ability to perfect on the fly to bring Georgia to its current form, but he would never admit that. He was effusive in his praise for Smart and UGA’s players during his Broyles Award speech. 

      “I’m just a byproduct of our players, Kirby Smart and our culture, and our coaching staff… I’ve been doing this a long time and been around a lot of great coaches and my whole family is in coaching, and there’s nobody I trust more than Kirby Smart in terms of we’re gonna win, we’re gonna work, and we’re gonna recruit.”

      As the Bulldogs prepare for the playoff, Monken and his staff will be hard at work on Ohio State. Somewhere in Georgia’s football offices a clip of Ohio State’s defense will play across a screen. A weakness will catch an assistant’s eye and they will speak up. It could be a route combination to attack a corner’s leverage mistake or a fake that will fool a certain linebacker’s eyes. Todd Monken will listen. If it will help Georgia win he will adjust his game plan. 

      That willingness to take in suggestions and remain unmarried to one way of attacking a defense makes him one of the most dangerous play-callers in all of football. How much longer he will be in Athens is impossible to say. Monken knows he has it good, but if the right job comes he could leave at any time. Whether it’s for two more games or two more years, Georgia fans should appreciate him while they can.

    3. Jim Wood
      Latest Entry

      By Jim Wood,

      Jim and John review Georgia’s 50-30 win over LSU in the SEC Championship Game.

      Please visit our presenting sponsor, AXIA Time, at axiatime.com.

       

    4. Georgia checked some boxes for me and probably some of you, too.  Georgia scored 50 on a good team and did it in a big game.  Yes, on a day when the defense was average allowed 7.6 YPP, 46% success rate, and 30 points - Georgia's offense could in fact outscore someone and won an SEC Championship on Saturday.   Bennett was 23 of 29 for 274 with 4 TDs and a 63% Pass Success Rate and 9.3 YPA.  LSU's offense had success, but couldn't keep up.  The Tigers' 45% success rate was the third highest allowed by Georgia this season, and the most points. 

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    5. Jason Brassell
      Latest Entry

      By Jason Brassell,

      As if the transfer portal hasn't made things crazy enough in managing a college football roster and recruiting, NIL has made it to where December will be absolute nuts. Of course NIL was meant for student-athletes to make money off of their name, image, and likeness, but not necessarily meant for schools to use ahead of time just to get them to go there. This process is confusing enough for teenagers without the added in pressure of "organizations connected to the schools" offering hundreds of thousands of dollars.

      Recruiting is crazy enough already. This new age is recruiting on steroids, but will make for an interesting national signing day. Some of these kids don't care as much about it as others, but some might have their families depending on it. That's why you're going to see plenty of flips. Not all will be connected to NIL though. Some guys just realize they made the wrong choice for them. Some guys might get hurt by the transfer portal. Some might just be waiting on the right offers to come in.

      Regardless of the reasons, I'm confident we'll see more flips in December than ever before. Let's check out top prospects who UGA is still talking to:

      FLIP CANDIDATES TO WATCH CLOSELY

      JUSTICE HAYNES - Many recruits say they're going to shock the world with their commitment. Whether Haynes used that wording or not, he did just that when he committed to Alabama over UGA. But Dell McGee and Kirby Smart haven't given up on the 5* RB. He has visited and is at least listening to what the Dawgs have to say. He is saying all the right things to Alabama, but there has definitely been more UGA chatter lately. I would definitely keep an eye on this one.

      DEANDRE MOORE - The 4* receiver is committed to Louisville, but I do not think that's where he ends up at all. He has a close connection to new UGA staffer David Hill. All of the talk was about Georgia after his official visit to Athens, but Texas finished 2nd in his recruitment when he chose Louisville. After visiting Austin recently, the Longhorns are trending a bit right now. I don't think UGA is out of it, but I would predict Texas as of today.

      KYRON JONES - The 3* ATH is committed to NC State as a running back, but UGA is recruiting the speedster as a DB. I say speedster, because he is literally one of the fastest players in the nation. He was just on campus and will very likely be back for an official visit in December. This will obviously come down to what position he wants to play in college and beyond. With former Dawg commit Daniel Harris likely headed to Penn State now, watch for the Dawgs to turn up the heat here.

      OTHERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

      SYDIR MITCHELL - The massive defensive lineman is one who UGA had the lead for, but lost him at the very end to Texas. The Dawgs looked to have had a promising duo coming in with he and Jamaal Jarrett to anchor the defense into another national championship. His name has just popped back up recently and UGA is serious enough to send Fran Brown to New Jersey for his game last weekend. We haven't heard anything serious besides that, but it's something to keep an eye on.

      CHASE BISONTIS - I am hearing more on Bisontis than Mitchell and almost put him in the "Ones to Watch Closely" category. I won't put him there until he gets back on campus for a visit or until in-home visits. With Texas A&M literally going to crap, I would really keep an eye out here. Some of these guys aren't going to want to have anything to do with the dumpster fire in College Station.

      COMMITTED PPOSPECTS I DON'T THINK WE FLIP

      JOSHUA HORTON - The defensive lineman teammate of current commit Bo Hughley is a UNC commit who visited recently. Although he may not end up at UNC, I don't think this is a flip we pursue hard enough. If we miss on a few, I think we could come back around to Horton. But I'd look for him to either stick with UNC or head somewhere like Miami.

      CALEB DOWNS - I put Downs here because 99% of the things I hear (and pretty much 100% of things reported elsewhere) say that we're out even if he does waht to change his mind on his Alabama commitment. He just visited Ohio State, so there's that. Just being transparent here in saying that EVERYTHING points to UGA being out of it. I almost left him off the list completely, but I have personally heard that we are still in this from one person. That's enough for me to put him at the bottom of the list. Again, just being transparent, but I would roll with the idea of UGA not being a contender to flip Downs and then be pleasantly surprised if this one guy is right and we do have a chance.

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