TCU captain: Todd Monken’s shifty Georgia scheme and Brock Bowers’ talents keyed title game

Georgia tight end Brock Bowers had another big night against TCU, even though he was the focus of the Horned Frogs' defensive game plan. (Jason Getz/AJC)
Jason Getz

MOBILE, Ala. — TCU’s game plan was sound: Limit Brock Bowers, stop the run and keep Stetson Bennett in the pocket.

But as Horned Frogs linebacker Dee Winters, Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken did just enough with shifts and motions to keep TCU crossed up and off balance in the Bulldogs’ 65-7 win.

“They didn’t come out with any trick plays, nothing that we hadn’t seen or that they hadn’t shown on film, (but) they just completed a bunch of passes against misalignments,” Winters told DawgNation at Senior Bowl Media Day this week.

“It was the motions that discombobulated our secondary and got them confused.”

Monken is noted for his ability to create mismatches with unique formations through motions and shifts.

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Winters, a first-team All-Big 12 selection who had a key Pick-6 in TCU’s win over Michigan, shared that the UGA talent at tight end was a factor, too.

“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,” Winters said. “Our guys had never really covered guys like that in the slot.... It was definitely the tight ends that dominated the game.

Bowers, a two-time All-American and likely first-ballot College Football Hall of Famer, had 7 catches for 152 yards and a touchdown along with 2 carries for 15 yards.

“I think that was the biggest emphasis that week, going in and limiting Bowers in catches like Ohio State did,” said Winters, referring to how Bowers had 4 catches for 64 yards in a 42-41 win over the Buckeyes.

“That was our emphasis, (Bowers) and stopping the run, and we felt we could keep Stetson (Bennett) in the pocket.”

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Winters, however, noted Bennett was able to extend plays en route to his three carries for 39 yards and 2 touchdowns in addition to passing for 304 yards and 4 touchdowns on 18-of-25 passing.

“They are a good team, there was talent there, but we could have saved ourselves a lot of those scores if we’d had gotten lined up,” Winters said. “That coordinator, and Stetson got out of the pocket a few times and extended plays and made some plays for them.”

It certainly wasn’t the ending TCU was hoping for. But the Horned Frogs 13-2 season represented one of the biggest turnarounds in recent college football history, as they had gone 5-7 the previous season.

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“Everyone was tired of losing and bought in, and Coach (Sonny) Dykes did a great job with his staff coaching us up,” Winters said.

“There were a lot of detailed things that Coach Dykes tightened up, just being on time, attending everything and doing your job.”

Winters and TCU Max Duggan are part of the “American” squad at the Senior Bowl this week, a teammate of the four Georgia players taking part, Kenny McIntosh, Chris Smith, Jack Podlesny and Warren McClendon.

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