ATLANTA — As much as Georgia fans might love having Todd Monken at Georgia, you can be assured Georgia players enjoy having him around even more.

He’s helped bring an edge to the Georgia offense that was missing prior to his time at Georgia. The 2022 version of his offense put up 39.2 points per game, the most ever by a Kirby Smart offense.

It’s great, I can’t lie,” offensive tackle Broderick Jones said. " Just the style of football he coaches and the tenacity he has on the field, he’s aggresive we can slow it down, we can go fast. It’s so many different things that he implements in our offense that is great. We keep the defenses on their toes.”

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Georgia’s offense would likely be even more potent had the Bulldogs not built such big leads in most of their wins. Only Missouri has been able to keep Georgia within single digits this season. And Georgia did figure things out at the end of that game, as it went touchdown, touchdown, end of game on its final three offensive drives.

The Bulldogs put up 50 points against LSU in the SEC championship game and will look to do something similar against Ohio State. Multiple players noted how excellent Monken is as a teacher, constantly helping players add to their games.

“I really didn’t know anything about like what to look for like on film and like opposing defense and everything,” tight end Brock Bowers said. “And when I got here, he taught me so much about how to know if someone’s coming like on a blitz or what coverage they’re going to, like presnap reads and everything like that. And I mean, just having the knowledge he has and being able to share it with us, it’s just -- I mean, we gotta listen to him just because he knows so much.

“And it definitely helps me a lot.”

Perhaps no one knows this better than quarterback Stetson Bennett. The two haven’t always gotten along, as Monken did bench Bennett during the 2020 season, but their relationship has grown by leaps and bounds with their time spent together.

The duo has a much better understanding of each in their third year working together, as evidenced by Bennett being a Heisman finalist.

“Maybe I’m a slow learner, but finally it did start clicking whenever he would tell me the same thing for the 20th time and look at me like I was, you know, like why do you not do what I just tell you to do? I’m your coach,” Bennett said of Monken. “And so just repetitive, just doing that. I think honestly, the most important thing that he’s done is just stay consistent, you know. Be there, because we do have a lot of knuckleheads who need time and reps and all that stuff to learn.

“So sometimes he’s not very patient, but he’s very consistent, and we hear the same thing every single day. And eventually you’re good.”

Monken is well compensated for his work, as he’s the highest-paid coordinator in the country, but he’s been worth every dime for what he’s brought to Georgia.

The importance of the Georgia tight ends

Many of the Ohio State scribes have spent the week trying to crack the code on what makes Bowers and Darnell Washington so elite.

They were both named All-SEC tight ends and have destroyed defenses all season. The Buckeyes are well aware of how Bowers and Washington can wreck the game if the Buckeyes aren’t at their best.

“They’re going to execute and they’re going to have a plan because they’re two of the best tight ends in the country,” Bennett said. “Probably two of the best in the world, which is nuts. Guys are going to get open, I just got to throw it to them. I don’t really go into it trying to force a ball to anybody.

“I let it all happen. We’ve got good players all around and I trust them. I have to be able to throw the ball to them.”

Bowers is more of a vertical threat, stretching the field with his speed and leaping ability. Washington has mostly won on underneath routes, which allows him to gain steam to plow through or hurdle defenders.

He’s also an elite blocker, making things easier for the Georgia offensive line.

“Teams want to play towards him because he’s such a big body, such a big frame,” Jones said. “They’re trying to eliminate him from the game. It’s so hard to do because He can do so much. He can block, he can run he can catch. You never know what to expect from Darnell because of his size and ability.”

Monken doesn’t often speak to the media but when he does, he’s almost always asked about getting the most out of his tight ends.

He’s accustomed to explaining what makes Bowers the best tight end in the country, as the Georgia sophomore won the Mackey Award this year.

“There’s a lot of things you can do with him. He’s outstanding with the ball in his hands. He’s got an elite catch radius, ability to compete to go get the football. And so, again, he’s meant a lot to us in terms of this year.”

Prior to the arrival of Bowers and the ascendence of Washington, Georgia hadn’t been known for its tight usage. Only Isaac Nauta in 2018 had topped 400 receiving yards in a season among Georgia tight ends prior to Bowers’ arrival in 2021.

He’s done in each of his first two seasons in Athens and Washington has a career-best 417 receiving yards this year as well.

“It came with what they said. If you can help the team, we’ll find a spot for you,” Bowers said on what Monken told him as a recruit. “I think that helped my confidence coming into it.”

The best Todd Monken quotes about Georgia football

Todd Monken had a lot to say on Wednesday and we so rarely get to hear from him. While his comments will be chopped and scrutinized all season, there were a lot entertaining quotes to come from the Georgia offensive coordinator from his media sessions.

Below are some of the best bits of knowledge and jokes that Monken put out on Wednesday.

On facing Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles before: “Well, my son’s a student coach at Oklahoma State. Now, he didn’t give me (anything). Shit’s sad.”

On Mike Bobo joining the staff: “Well it’s interesting because when Kirby came to me he talked about Mike Bobo joining the staff, which I knew he was going to join the staff whether I agreed to it or not. It didn’t matter. So he made it seem like it was my choice, but it really wasn’t. At the end of the day it’s been awesome. It’s been awesome.

On Stetson Bennett becoming the guy: Shit, there’s plays in the game, I’m not sure he’s the guy. There’s times I call some shit I don’t know if I’m the guy so it’s just like ... The one thing I’ll say about Stetson is he’s a battler. He’s not unlike any other quarterback. He makes mistakes, but he’s pretty good at putting it in the back of his mind and finding ways to continue to battle and make plays

On why he’s stuck around at Georgia: “No one wants my old ass so that’s usually why that’s the case. I’m joking in general. First of all, I have a great job. I said that many times. I fell into this job and the culture was already set. I landed here with good players, the culture was already set. My job was just to try to do the best I could to make it better the best way I could. Fight my ass off to help make it better. Hopefully I’ve done that.”

On Stetson Bennett sticking it out: “it’s a complete credit to him, and really nothing to do with me. All we did was try to bury him for the couple of years he was here, and all he did was continue to fight and compete and had every reason to say, you know what, I’m gone in today’s day and age in the portal and guys leaving. He didn’t do that. He wanted to be a Georgia Bulldog, wanted to be the quarterback for the Georgia Bulldogs.”

Todd Monken, Stetson Bennett discuss Georgia football offense

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