When Todd Monken was named Georgia’s offensive coordinator in January of 2020 he inherited a group that was in need of some stylistic changes. Quarterback Jake Fromm was headed to the NFL draft after being a three-year starter. Georgia’s offense never really took off in 2019, contributing to the change from former offensive coordinator James Coley to Monken, who had been successful at the NFL level.
There was a bit of an adjustment period for Georgia last season. The quarterback fiasco was a situation that almost nobody saw coming. Jamie Newman opted out of the season, D’wan Mathis struggled in his time at the position and Stetson Bennett was a fun story until Georgia lost to Florida for the first time in four seasons.
But when JT Daniels took over at quarterback against Mississippi State it seemed like he and Monken were a match made in heaven.
“We see the game the same way, which is hugely important between your offensive coordinator and your quarterback,” said Daniels on Tuesday at SEC Media Days. “It’s a relationship building, that’s arguably one of the most important. I think he’s a really good guy, he genuinely cares about the kids. It’s hard to knock Monken on anything really. We’ve always had a good connection.”
That connection was on display from the jump as Daniels threw for over 400 yards in his first start. Now with a full offseason together, including the weapons that Georgia has stockpiled at wideout, tight end and running back, sky-high expectations are reasonable for the Bulldogs this fall.
“It’s the biggest relationship there is because it’s not a set of positions,” said head coach Kirby Smart on the relationship between Daniels and Monken. “Every other position has multiple starters, different guys that play. At quarterback, it’s not typically that way. Whoever your starting quarterback is, he has to have direct communication.”
Now it is up to Daniels to perform on the field at a high level again. Defenses will by no means underestimate him this year. They will have film on him and there are not any injury questions heading into the season. Daniels has gone out of his way though to build a connection with his teammates that Georgia fans hope will translate to more success.
A few weeks ago, Daniels and some of his receivers went to California together for 10 days. Daniels said the group got together to throw and work out some, but the trip was mainly inspired by a lot of guys that had never been to California. With that being Daniels’ home state, he wanted to show them around.
Daniels was named to both the Maxwell Award watchlist as well as the Davey O’Brien Award watchlist. However, he’s shown a humble approach heading to this season, often crediting his teammates first when talking about expectations and hopes for the upcoming season.
“I’d say my biggest strength is understanding my role of being the primary distributor, like that is my job,” said Daniels. “I’m okay with the ball in my hands, but like James Cook is really good with the ball in his hands, George Pickens is really good with the ball in his hands. We have a lot of players that, when they have the ball in the right situation, do a lot of really good things.”