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Tony Walsh / UGA Sports
Georgia tailback James Cook figures to operate in more space in Todd Monken's offense, but he's still working on his ball-security skills, as well.

New view for RBU at Georgia, Dell McGee pledges to have backs ready

ATHENS — .Todd Monken’s Air Raid offense isn’t what most of the Georgia football running backs signed up for, when the chose Georgia but it’s where things have landed entering the 2020 season.

Bulldogs running backs coach Dell McGee said it’s his job to make sure the UGA backs are capable in all facets of this new offense.

We’re still in the process of developing and seeing where all the guys are going fit, so nothing has been decided yet,” McGee said on a Wednesday Zoom call with select Georgia media.

“Dealing with COVID, everyone has to be ready to play because we never know what’s going to happen. That’s my process, is making sure that all our guys are ready to run the football and protect the quarterback when their numbers are called.”

Departed UGA average-yards-per-carry record holder D’Andre Swift has been a primary pass catcher out of the backfield for Georgia over the past few seasons.

But in Monken’s offense, catching the football will be a part of every running back’s game.

Zamir White, James Cook, Kenny McIntosh, Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards will be counted on to benefit the offense, and the offense can also help them.

“it’s definitely a benefit because in the next level (NFL), which all of our guys aspire to be,” said McGee, who has been the running backs coach at Georgia since Kirby Smart was hired before the 2016 season.

“You have to develop that part of your game if you want to be an every-down running back. It just adds value, and it adds various things to our offense as well.”

Monken explained earlier this fall that “balance” by his definition is the ability to spread the ball around to different players.

That balance and versatility is what makes the Air Raid so successful, provided UGA has a quarterback that can recognize the matchup advantages before the snap and make all the throws needed to execute the play.

George Pickens is the only receiver that has proven reliable getting open and catching the football, and that likely means more targets for the UGA backs.

McGee didn’t rule out having two backs on the field at one time, a likely scenario considering Cook already has some experience lining up in the slot from last season.

“Anything is possible, that falls on Coach Monken’s shoulders,” McGee said. “I am sure whatever plan we come up with from week to week, it’ll be a great plan.

“Every running back and every player on our offensive has a stronger quality than others, and it is up to us to put those guys in the most successful position—where we can be successful as a team.”

McGee is one of the best because he takes it upon himself to make sure his players are ready for anything.

“The more you can do, whether it is catching the ball, running great routes, protecting the quarterback, creating yards in the running game, the better off you’re going to be with us and in the future,” McGee said.

“I do feel like all five are capable. Some are better than others and that’s the development part. That goes on me, and I have to take that and develop the guys that have shortcoming[s] in [those] areas.

“We are recognized as RBU. I think with that being said, it’s a very, very high standard in our room. It was established long before myself being here. Our kids take that personally, and they show it every single day in the way they prepare and in practice.”

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