Tracking Georgia football offseason, anticipating Kirby Smart’s quarterback derby
ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart prefers the slow play.
One decision at a time, each carefully considered independently, the 44-year-old Smart makes his choices with one goal in mind: Winning.
It has been an entertaining offseason to follow Smart’s offensive transactions, to be sure.
Within 45 days of the SEC title game, Smart had seemingly transformed the offense.
The additions of QB Jamie Newman and TE Tre’ Mckitty, via graduate transfers, provided early clues to the future of the offense.
But it was the hirings of OC Todd Monken and QB coach Buster Faulkner that provided the most insight into Smart’s offensive visions.
Monken and Faulkner have extensive backgrounds in the Air Raid and spread passing attacks, Monken at the NFL level, in addition to his time in the college ranks.
The start of spring drills is at least six weeks away, but the quarterback derby is already underway via offseason workouts.
Once the practices and scrimmages begin, Smart is likely to continue to stress the same ideals as he did the last time there were multiple competitors at QB.
“Leadership,” Smart said when asked what he wanted to see in the QB competition between Jake Fromm and Justin Fields in the fall of 2018.
“Talking creates togetherness, so if you can talk to your offensive line, your backs, your receivers, command of huddle, command of the offense, decision making.”
The same attributes Smart listed on Aug. 11, 2018, are likely to apply now.
“When you are in the red area, are you secure with the ball?” Smart said. “We got points; are we going to make sure we get a field goal, or are we going to take a risk and take a chance on losing it?
“Are you securing the ball in the pocket? ,What’s your turnover to touchdown ratio, all the things involved are going to go into those things.”
There other variables. Georgia still must sort through, evaluate and develop skill position players while modifying and adding to the base offense.
It’s hard to imagine a complete overhaul, especially when Smart is insistent a power element to the run game exist in some shape or form.
Another challenge will be on the offensive line. The Bulldogs saw four starters move on, three likely headed for the NFL ranks.
The cupboard isn’t exactly bare for new offensive line coach Matt Luke. Georgia returns three of the five starters from the Sugar Bowl, and two others who have starting experience that didn’t play in the bowl game, guards Ben Cleveland and Justin Shaffer.
Next up, National Signing Day, where Smart has typically made some of his biggest and best offseason moves.
Class of 2020 prospects Broderick Jones and Sedrick Van Pran-Granger are expected to provide two more boosts to Smart’s offensive invigoration on Wednesday.
No doubt, Smart is working on building an offensive capable of being paired with his championship level defense.
One move at a time.
Georgia football offseason
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) January 29, 2020