Let's go ahead and get one thing out of the way at the start......................NOBODY associated with UGA wanted to lose Todd Monken. He came into a program that previously had Brian Schottenheimer and James Coley as offensive coordinator. He came in and revolutionized the Georgia offense into one of the best offenses in college football. Everyone knows the story of the former walk-on turned Heisman finalist and two time national champion. That doesn't happen without Todd Monken. He's plain and simple one of the best coaches the Georgia football program has ever had on staff.
You don't want to have to follow THAT GUY. The one at least partly responsible for helping bring back to back national championships to Athens, GA after a 40 year drought. The one responsible for bring record breaking passing numbers to a traditionally run-heavy offense. Anyone who comes directly after Monken would be a downgrade in the eyes of UGA fans, including this one. How many threads are going to be started next season with the words "that's not how Monken did it".
Knowing that, would you rather bring in somone to run a whole new offense or bring in someone who has been involved with this offense for a year. With Stetson Bennett moving on, Georgia will have three quarterbacks with a very small amount of meaningul snaps battling it out for the starting job. Do we want to add to that pressure with an entirely different offense to learn? Or do we want them to keep rolling with the same offense and same terminology?
Do I think Mike Bobo is the greatest offensive coordinator in the world? No, that title would go to Todd Monken for obvious reasons. Do I think he is the right hire at the right time? I do, the same way I believed that Jim Chaney was the right hire at the right time for first year head coach Kirby Smart. Was he the best coordinator in the nation? Absolutely not, he probably wasn't the best in the SEC east. But with the roster we had at the time and Smart's inexperience, I do think someone with his experience was what we needed the first couple of years with a rookie head coach. It didn't hurt that his good buddy Sam Pittman came with him.
We can easily nitpick any play calling from any offensive coordinator. I'm sure we can all go to the Missouri and Kent State games this year and tear apart Monken's game plan. We could go to the Folrida game tape and many others and wonder how Chaney ever got a job calling plays. And we'll be yelling for years to come for Bobo to give the ball to Todd Gurley at the goal line against South Carolina. Everyone will look at his time at South Carolina and Auburn and say that he just doesn't have it anymore, or that the game has passed him by. With all due respect to those programs, they're not the Georgia Bulldogs of 2022 or 2023. They're not even close. There's a reason those teams were looking for new coaches and the reason is that they just weren't good. The talent level pales in comparison to what this current program has.
Although the game has in face evolved, Mike Bobo was no slouch in his time calling the plays for Mark Richt. Check out the last year he called the plays compared to the last season Monken called the plays for the Dawgs:
|UGA 2014 (41.3 PPG)
|UGA 2022 (41.1 PPG)
|217-322 (67.4%), 2599 yards, 24 TD
|336-493 (68.2%), 4437 yards, 31 TD
|554 att, 3365 yards (6.1 ypa), 38 TD
|557 att, 3080 yards (5.5 ypa), 44 TD
|876 plays, 5964 yards, 6.8 ypp
|1050 plays, 7517 yards, 7.2 ypp
Obviously Monken's offense has been more pass happy, as that's just part of the way the game has evolved. Now look at the starting offensive rosters (and key backups) for the two teams:
|UGA 2014 (41.3 PPG)
|UGA 2022 (41.1 PPG)
|Sedrick Van Pran
We're not going to just drag players through the mud here and honestly appreciate everything each of these guys have done for The University of Georgia. But you also have to evaluate players honestly. There are two glaring differences here at the quarteback position and the offensive line rooms. Much like Monken leaving, anyone who came in after Aaron Murray was just starting off in a bad spot. He was the SEC all-time passing yards leader and beloved by Dawg fans nationwide. Having to come in after Murray put Hutson Mason behind the eight ball in the eyes of many fans. With the help of an absolutely loaded backfield, he and Bobo made it work to the tune of 41.3 points per game, good enough for 8th in the nation.
The other glaring difference is the offensive line room. Theus ended up going in the 5th round of the NFL draft before a short lived career as a pro, while David Andrews went undrafted. Of course Bill Belichick brought him in and he's pretty much been the starter ever since. If we're being honest, I'm not sure even those two would start on the 2022 national championship team.
Finally, Mike Bobo is a recruiting machine. We'll talk about QB evaluations in the second part of this series, but his recruiting prowess shouldn't be questiioned. He was the lead recruiter on so many highly ranked players who became difference makers in their time at Georgia. This will be a big difference from Monken, who is known to more than dislike the recruiting aspect of college football.
If this looks like I'm just trying to find the best about Bobo and why he's the man for the job, it's because I am. I'll also write on why it could be a bad thing. I try to always look at both sides of things and make a judgement from that. Will this be the right hire at the right time? Only time will tell, but it will be fun talking about it until then.