ATHENS — This Georgia offense was going to have to change no matter who was running it.
New offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is dealing with the same challenges former OC Todd Monken would have faced had he stuck around.
Still, it’s a safe bet that at some point in the first quarter of the opening game against Ball State some basement blogger will trigger a piping hot thread: “That’s not Monken’s offense!”
Coach Kirby Smart broke things down on Saturday at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall.
“Offensive personality is what you have — whatever you have, you use what you have,” Smart said.
“Right now it’s not like we’re saying let’s cater our offense to Brock (Bowers), Ladd (McConkey), Kendall (Milton), who’s not out there, we’re not doing that.”
Smart, as he said earlier in spring drills, is giving quarterbacks Carson Beck and Brock Vandagriff an opportunity to split first-team reps and gain experience in the offense.
“We’re evaluating players, not plays,” Smart said. “We’re trying to figure out what players can help us, and then we’ll worry about the plays.”
Bobo has a bigger challenge than Monken faced during his three-year tenure at UGA.
In addition to having to replace a veteran quarterback, Bobo has to retool the offense with unique skill players like Darnell Washington and Kenny McIntosh moving on.
Washington enabled UGA to create mismatches with his size at tight end, while McIntosh was the team’s leading rusher in addition to setting a new program record for tailbacks as a receiver.
Players with unique skillsets present unique challenges.
But outside of two-time All-American and UGA statue-in-waiting Bowers, this offense has a much more conventional look about it, and thus could be easier for defenses to defend.
No matter who is calling plays.
“That scheme, having Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington as tight ends, and being able to move them like wideouts and slots, that was tremendous for them,” TCU captain Dee Winters said.
“Our guys had never really covered guys like that in the slot.... It was definitely the tight ends that dominated the game.”
Georgia doesn’t figure to use as many two tight end sets because there is no heir apparent to Washington, who many consider a generational two-dimensional talent.
Smart and his staff made the realization long ago and have been brainstorming new, creative ways to cross up defenses.
First things first, the Bulldogs are sorting through their personnel.
“We’ve got to figure out who the quarterback is, we have to figure out who the guys who get the ball are,” Smart said. “Who are the guys that, without the ball in their hands are valuable — those are harder to find.”
Georgia is also replacing two starting offensive tackles.
“We have about 10 guys out there, we can put the ball in their hands and they are going to make plays,” Smart said. “But who is blocking for them? I’m a lot more interested in who that is, and in figuring out who that is, so that’s kind of where we are on that.”
The Bulldogs will practice Tuesday and Thursday leading into the annual G-Day Game, which kicks off at 4 p.m. on Saturday in Sanford Stadium.