Often this offseason, Georgia coach Kirby Smart has stressed the importance of finding new playmakers for the Georgia offense this year. The Bulldogs lost their two top rushers, their second-most productive pass catcher and top two tight ends from the 2019 team.
But there are some talented options waiting in the wings. They’re just unproven at this point in time. With some question marks at running back and wide receivers, those players will have the chance to emerge in the 2020 season.
And the man calling the plays for the Georgia offense this season, new offensive coordinator Todd Monken, shared his thoughts on Georgia’s skill players when speaking with the media.
Being that Georgia has a strong tradition of running backs, Monken likes what he has in the running back room.
“Zamir (White) has I think had a tremendous offseason, as has James Cook,” Monken said. “Then you take into account Kenny McIntosh, who came in last year and had a really good start to his career last year, a really versatile player, can do a lot of things running and catching the ball out of the backfield.”
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Monken also praised freshmen running backs Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards, though it’s hard to know what they have in those two running backs as they’ve only just begun their college careers.
That group — with White likely leading the way — will have to attempt to replace star running back D’Andre Swift who rushed for over 1,200 yards last season. And that was with an offense that struggled to move the ball consistently, especially in the passing game.
Which is part of the reason why Monken was brought in as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He spent the past four seasons as an NFL offensive coordinator as well as being the head coach at Southern Miss from 2013-15. The last time he was a college offensive coordinator came when he was at Oklahoma State.
That 2011 Oklahoma State team finished the season with the No. 2 scoring offense, No. 3 total offense and a 12-1 record and a No. 3 overall ranking at the end of the season. Georgia is hoping to recreate that in the 2020 season with Monken calling plays for the Bulldogs and helping out Georgia’s wide receivers.
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The Bulldogs do bring back their leading receiver from a season ago in George Pickens. He will look to take an even bigger step forward this year, building off his 49-catch, 727 yards and 8 touchdown campaign as a freshman.
Georgia does have a number of experienced receivers returning to go along with the five freshmen they brought in as a part of the 2020 recruiting class.
“Guys like Matt Landers, D-Rob. I know he’s one of our older players but from a developmental standpoint,” Monken said. “Tommy Bush and some of our older guys that I think will push for playing time.
“That’s what we’re paid to do.”
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Monken did add that one of the veterans has stood out a little bit as well so far in fall camp.
“Kearis Jackson has been a relative surprise in terms of his consistency and the way he’s played and developed,” Monken said.
Jackson began the 2019 season with some promise but battled injuries throughout the campaign. He broke his hand in the season-opener against Vanderbilt and then suffered another injury in the SEC championship game. He caught 5 passes for 79 yards during his redshirt freshman campaign.
Another name to keep in mind at the wide receiver position is sophomore, Dominick Blaylock. He caught 18 passes for 310 yards and 5 touchdowns as a freshman. But the start to his sophomore season might be slowed due to an ACL injury he picked up in the SEC championship game.
Smart has said at the start of fall practices that Blaylock had not yet been fully cleared to practice.
The Bulldogs also brought in graduate transfer tight end Tre McKitty to replace the likes of Charlie Woerner and Eli Wolff. Georgia also signed a 5-star prospect in Darnell Washington to help out as well.
The first chance we’ll get to see these skill players and Monken’s new offense will come on Sept. 26, as the Bulldogs open the 2020 against Arkansas.
Georgia football offensive coordinator Todd Monken on UGA skill position players
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