Mark Richt: Georgia quarterback Jamie Newman can adapt to any offensive system
ATHENS — The Georgia football “G-Day” game is some three months away, spring drills don’t begin for approximately 8 weeks, and offseason conditioning is just getting started.
But the anticipation of how the Bulldogs’ offense will look is building.
There’s a distinct buzz around graduate transfer QB Jamie Newman, newly hired OC Todd Monken and offensive staff addition Buster Faulkner.
Former Georgia football coach Mark Richt said there’s a number of directions Kirby Smart could take his team on offense with Newman under center.
“He can adapt to any system,” Richt told DawgNation while in New Orleans for the CFP Championship Game last week, asked about the Wake Forest transfer.
“I think he’s making the move to Georgia to try to get more experience in a pro-like system.”
Richt, who served as an analyst for the ACC Network last season, said he wouldn’t be surprised if Newman was the best quarterback in the SEC next season.
Monken directed the NFL’s leading pass attack in 2018 as offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Bucs and worked with Baker Mayfield last season as the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator.
“Coach Monken sees the game through the quarterback’s eyes,” said Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who played for Monken in 2018. “He is aggressive and calls a game based on the strengths of his players.”
Faulkner played quarterback himself and has experience with spread offenses and RPO schemes, much like Monken.
Richt explained how offensive trends have reversed direction over the past few years.
“The NFL has moved toward a new trend of more spread, more shot gun, more RPOs,” Richt said. “The NFL has started to do what the college kids can do.”
Indeed, RPOs schemes are more prevalent than ever at football’s highest level, with mobile quarterbacks leading the way.
Richt recalled how not too long ago, schemes once trended in the opposite direction.
“It used to be, years ago, the NFL would trickle down to the college level,” said Richt, who led the Bulldogs’ program from 2001-2015. “And then college would trickle down to high school, as far as scheme.
“Now, high school trickles up to college, and the NFL is doing more of what the colleges are doing. All the RPO stuff started in the high schools.”
Newman ran RPOs in the Demon Deacons’ modified spread, an offense that operated at a fast tempo but utilized intentionally slow-developing plays.
It’s a safe bet Monken’s offense won’t resemble the so-called “Clawfence” Newman ran under Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson.
But it will have RPOs, just as this last season’s version of the UGA offense did.
If Newman wins the job as expected — Smart doesn’t sign graduate transfers with the intention of sitting them — Georgia’s 2020 offense will surely utilize his mobility and arm strength.
The possibilities aren’t endless, but they’re certainly alluring.
As Richt said, Newman can adapt to any system.
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