In Deshaun Watson’s final season at Clemson he threw 17 interceptions. That’s more than one per game. That’s one less than Jake Fromm threw in his entire Georgia career.
And yet, Watson also threw 41 touchdowns in that 2016 season. He did so while leading Clemson to its first national title under Dabo Swinney.
Some might say that Watson was careless with the football — and lord knows countless draft analysts did so. But that season and performance showed that some times you have to live with the bad to fully enjoy the good. That being aggressive, making riskier throws, sometimes has a large pay-off in the end.
And according to the quarterback trainer — Quincy Avery — of Georgia’s new quarterback, Jamie Newman has that same type of aggressive skillset.
“I think he’s a really aggressive quarterback. The tight-window throws,” Avery said while appearing on the Paul Finebaum show. “Jake Fromm is a really amazing quarterback, but he wasn’t super aggressive. Jamie is a little different in that aspect.
“He’s gonna make some throws where people say ‘ah I’m not sure he can throw that.’ But he’s got the talent and capabilities to fit into tight windows.”
Many have already remarked that Newman will also bring a different physical skillset to Georgia as well. Newman did rush for 574 yards and six touchdowns a season ago while playing for Wake Forest.
Georgia won’t ask him to carry the ball nearly as often this season, but it would be wise to have him use the threat of running to open things up on the outside.
“They haven’t had a quarterback who can add to the run game and make defense really have to think about QB runs and all the zone-read stuff,” Avery said of Newman. “And he’s got a tremendous arm so he can handle the RPO stuff.”
We’ve been working with some of the best college QBs in the country to make sure when they go back to campus they are sharp as ever. pic.twitter.com/vX91OmB6xs
— quincy_avery (@Quincy_Avery) May 19, 2020
The 2020 Georgia offense will be under new direction, as Todd Monken takes over as the offensive coordinator. Ultimately though, Kirby Smart will still have some influence on the offense and its direction.
And to this point in his career, Smart has wanted his quarterbacks to be risk-averse. There’s a reason Smart stuck with Fromm as opposed to more naturally talented passers in Jacob Eason and Justin Fields, who Avery also trains and called, “the most talented quarterback that I’ve ever come in contact with.”
Even Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, knows that one of the key things Smart preaches is the importance of not turning the ball over on the offensive side of the ball.
Fromm didn’t make very many mistakes or turnovers during his largely stellar Georgia career. In fact, during the 2019 season, the only games Georgia lost were the ones in which Fromm threw interceptions.
But Fromm could’ve thrown zero interceptions against LSU and it wouldn’t have mattered that day. In part because Georgia just wasn’t able to make enough big plays in the passing game a season ago. Not all of that falls on Fromm, but he does shoulder some of the blame there.
Smart came out after that LSU loss and emphatically put down the notion that he wants to play man-ball and maul teams to death. He said he wanted to score more points. In wanting that though, he might have to take a few more chances in the deep passing game. Scared money doesn’t make money, after all.
With wide receivers like George Pickens and a potentially healthy Dominick Blaylock, those opportunities could present themselves more often during the 2020 season. And it will be up to Newman to take advantage of those plays.
“He’s a big, physical, strong kid. He’s 6-3, 225 pounds – really good athlete who also makes ridiculous throws,” former Bulldog David Pollack said of Newman while appearing on ESPN’s Get Up. “Now he goes to Georgia with driving a Ferrari.”
Newman did throw 11 interceptions in 12 games last year, with six of those coming after the calendar turned to November. Obviously Georgia won’t ask him to turn into Nathan Peterman, or even be like Watson.
But Georgia is going to need to be more aggressive on the offensive side of the ball. And Newman may be better suited to take those risky shots than Fromm was.
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