ATHENS — The Georgia football opening game with Virginia is more than seven months away, but talking season is well underway and Heisman talk has begun.
Incoming graduate-transfer quarterback Jamie Newman ranks among the Top 5 among Heisman favorites before throwing his first pass in a formal practice, currently at 14-to-1 per @SuperBookUSA.
Newman is ranked the No. 3 returning quarterback by Pro Football Focus, behind Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence.
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Fields, who spent his 2018 freshman season at UGA backing up departed starter Jake Fromm, is the co-favorite with Lawrence to win the Heisman, both at 4-to-1.
Sophomore tailback Zamir White and sophomore George Pickens are also among the current favorites. White is at 80-to-1, and Pickens is at 100-to-1.
The opening Heisman odds are evidence there’s plenty of outside buy-in on Kirby Smart’s well-documented offensive makeover at Georgia.
The Bulldogs recently hired “Air Raid” pass game expert Todd Monken to take over as the Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator, replacing James Coley who has since departed for Texas A&M.
Monken was the offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns last season. In 2018, Monken was the OC and play caller for a Tampa Bay Bucs offense that led the NFL in passing yardage.
Newman, who transferred to Georgia from Wake Forest, is a dual-threat quarterback with dynamic arm strength and running ability.
Smart’s past three UGA offenses have leaned more toward a power run game, the head coach intent on utilizing dynamic backfields that included NFL stars Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, and projected first-round pick D’Andre Swift the past two seasons.
Georgia, however, appears to be intent on a more aggressive pass scheme now that the receiving corps is loaded up with talent at receiver and tight end.
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Smart has always professed coaching to the talent, and the hiring of Monken is an indication the Georgia head coach is betting more offensive balance is in order.
The Bulldogs return a championship-caliber defense, with nine of 11 starters back on that side of the football from the 26-14 Sugar Bowl-winning team.
Georgia’s offense can afford to be more aggressive in marquee matchups with that sort of defense behind it. Most notably, in the Sept. 19 showdown with Alabama in Tuscaloosa that the college football world has circled.
@SuperBookUSA Heisman Trophy Opening Odds 1-26-20
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