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Expectations already sky-high for new Georgia football quarterback Jamie Newman
Jamie Newman hasn’t been on the Georgia campus for more than a month. He’s still growing accustomed to new names, faces and places in Athens after transferring from Wake Forest.
And yet, there are those expecting — or asking — for the graduate transfer quarterback to be a Heisman candidate and/or completely fix the Georgia offense.
He hasn’t even taken a snap in practice yet, much less be named the starting quarterback for Georgia. The latter may not publicly happen prior to the start of Georgia’s season, given Georgia head coach Kirby Smart loves to play things close to the vest.
But even if Smart had gone ahead and named Newman the starter, the hype he’s already getting wouldn’t be any different.
On Monday, Newman found himself among the list of Heisman front runners for the 2020 season. The SuperbookUSA gave Newman 14-to-1 odds to take home college football’s most prestigious award. The only players with better odds are Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields and Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler. His odds were even with three-year Texas starter Sam Ehlinger and better than the likes of Alabama’s Najee Harris and Notre Dame’s Ian Book.
Newman had an encouraging season in 2018 at Wake Forest. He threw for 26 touchdowns while adding six more rushing touchdowns and 574 yards on the ground. He ran an RPO heavy system at Wake Forest that didn’t exactly suit his best skills, which includes his deep passing ability.
And the new offense that will be tailored by offensive coordinator Todd Monken should make better use of that attribute. In his time in the NFL, Monken’s offenses — specifically the one he called plays for in Tampa Bay in 2018 — was known for its vertical passing game.
And based on the comments of some of the past quarterbacks that Monken has worked with, the new offensive coordinator will put Newman in a real position to succeed.
“Coach Monken sees the game through the quarterback’s eyes,” current Miami Dolphin Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “He is aggressive and calls a game based on the strengths of his players. He does a great job of teaching and instilling confidence in the entire unit.”
Newman will be playing with more talent at Georgia then he did at Wake Forest. He’ll get to play with a possibly dominant wide receiver in George Pickens and a very promising running back in Zamir White. And the Georgia defense once again figures to be one of the best in the country.
But for Georgia to get where it needs to go the Bulldogs will need Newman to get more out of the Georgia offense in 2020 than Jake Fromm did with D’Andre Swift, Andrew Thomas, Lawrence Cager and others in 2019.
A season ago, with all of those aforementioned talents, the Bulldogs finished 49th in the country in scoring offense. That isn’t good enough for a team with national title expectations, which is why James Coley is at Texas A&M and Monken is now the architect of the Georgia offense.
And it will be on Newman to execute Monken’s gameplans. The two will have to get on the same page quickly, as Georgia opens the season against Virginia and then in the third week of the season, Georgia travels to Alabama. The Bulldogs haven’t beaten the Crimson Tide since 2007. Newman will have to do what Georgia greats like Fromm and Aaron Murray were not able to do, and Newman will be asked to do it in what could be his third start in a Georgia uniform.
Beating Alabama though won’t just be enough to meet expectations for Newman. Again, Georgia has national championship goals and to get there Georgia will have to win the SEC East, likely the SEC championship and then two College Football Playoff games.
Though as ESPN’s Alex Scarborough explained it, this is all made easier if Newman can only bring Georgia’s offense into modern times.
“Quarterback Jamie Newman needs to be a wake-up call for a far-too-conservative Bulldogs offense,” Scarborough wrote. “Jake Fromm did all he could in his three seasons as the team’s starting quarterback, but he couldn’t change the plays that were called.
“Maybe Newman, a transfer from Wake Forest with true dual-threat ability, will force that change and finally bring this offense into the 21st century.”
Even Odysseus would think this quest is a bit daunting. And this is all on a player, though talented, who has only just gotten to Georgia.
Defining what might be a successful season for Newman is impossible. If Georgia goes 8-5, like Wake Forest did last season, it will be an abject failure. Getting to double-digit wins won’t be enough and winning the SEC East likely won’t satisfy anyone either. The list of Georgia quarterbacks who have won the SEC this century includes just three names. And if Newman joins them, but doesn’t exercise 40-years of championship demons, Newman’s time at Georgia will be seen as more of the same.
Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts and Fields all showed this year that transfer quarterbacks can do great things in a short amount of time at a program. And Newman very well may go on to do some of the things that those players were able to do in the 2019 season.
But there’s already immense pressure on the shoulders of Newman. Perhaps more so than that of Burrow, Hurts and Fields. Smart and those around the Georgia program would call that pressure a privilege. It’s also clear there’s a tremendous burden on his shoulders as well.
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Following James Coley departure, we’ll learn a lot about the importance of South Florida to Georgia football
- Georgia football podcast: Examining how Todd Monken might use Zamir White and UGA’s RBs
- Georgia’s Malik Herring rated top returning D-lineman in SEC, spearheads dominant front
- Anthony Edwards struggles against Ole Miss, Georgia basketball hits three-game skid
- Georgia football changes continue, another staff member leaves for Texas A&M
- Barrett Carter: Elite 2021 LB felt “ready to play at Sanford Stadium” on latest visit
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