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, yet another example of Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart pushing to program even after finishing 12-2 and ranked No. 4 in the nation in 2019.
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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.
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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.
“We 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.”
Georgia has Wake Forest graduate transfer quarterback Jamie Newman — the No. 3 rated returning QB, per Pro Football Focus — to replace Jake Fromm.
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Additionally, UGA also 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.
Monken’s message about his coaching philosophy last year in Cleveland should prove popular, per this WKYC interview.
“It should be fun – that is what it should be — it should be fun for our players to utilize all of their skills,” Monken said. “To me, that is balance. It is not run-pass. It is, ‘Do you have enough skill players touching the ball as balance and using the whole field as balance.”