Georgia football offense overhaul: Healthy quarterback derby tops 3 things to watch
ATHENS — There’s no greater question about this Georgia football team than how it’s going to look, and it all starts with the quarterback.
Yes, the Bulldogs have a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken, a renowned “Air Raid” expert with NFL experience.
But Monken’s charge from Kirby Smart will be to find the most effective quarterback for the most effective system. That is, the system that can moved the football.
Georgia is some two weeks away from its first full scrimmage, by which time Smart and Monken will have had a chance to evaluate the Bulldogs’ revamped offense.
The players will largely dictate the direction of the scheme. Here are three personnel keys to consider:
1. The quarterbacks
Newman spent part of the summer wearing a protective walking boot but is expected to be 100 percent cleared for Monday’s practice. Daniels is cleared to take reps though he’ll still be in a knee brace as a result of the knee injury/surgery suffered last September, and Mathis was cleared in May one year after having emergency brain surgery.
Each quarterback has his strengths and weaknesses, and it’s up to the coaches to determine which quarterback moves the team best with the scheme altered to his strength.
It’s as much a process as it is a competition.
2. The offensive line
Wider line splits its typically a characteristic of the Air Raid offense, as it opens up passing lanes and makes edge rushers have to travel further to get the quarterback.
But can this Georgia offensive line play in space? We’ve heard about how the Bulldogs were looking for more athleticism on the offensive line, and thus, won’t be as hefty as a season ago.
Smart insists his Georgia team will still be able to run the ball effectively, but there are several ways that can be accomplished depending on which quarterback is under center. Some are more mobile than others.
3. Skill players
First things first, the backs, receivers and tight ends had better know the playbook after an offseason of Zoom calls and several hours of voluntary film study. That won’t be an excuse this season, as it appeared to be last season in what was a terrible inconsistent receiving corps.
Talent and consistency will rise to the top and influence personnel packages. Do the Bulldogs have two tight ends that would make an Ace formation (double tight end) worthy?
Which back or backs best fit a single-back set where pass catching and open-field blitz pickup is just as important as lowering a shoulder and falling forward for the extra yard? You can bet ball security will remain at a premium, because above all else, Smart will insist on efficiency and reliability on offense.
As explosive as Smart wants his offenses to be, rule number one is don’t get the team beat, as UGA witnessed last season when the offense generated 468 yards only to turn the ball four times and miss two field goals.
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