Georgia has a lot returning in terms of player personnel on the offensive side of the ball in the 2021 season. JT Daniels returns at quarterback, George Pickens leads a now very seasoned wide receiver group, the tight end room has twin towers in Darnell Washington and John FitzPatrick that came into their own last year (with Brock Bowers already making noise in the offseason as a newcomer), and 4 immensely talented running backs with SEC experience to go behind an offensive line with 3 of 5 starters returning. However, despite all of this, as if that is not impressive enough, the most important return in my eyes is the continuity of the Georgia offensive staff.
Todd Monken, Dell McGee, Cortez Hankton, Matt Luke, and Todd Hartley all stayed put in Athens. In fact, McGee and Hartley got raises. The pay bumps for the running back and tight end coaches presumably came due to their stellar job recruiting and respectively and interests by other programs, such as Auburn with Dell McGee. People don’t realize how close McGee came to getting a promotion to go back to the plains. In the end though, Georgia was able to retain all of their offensive lead recruiters, which is key to the 2022 signing class, and there will be consistency in the meeting room and on the practice field for Dawg players in year 2 of Todd Monken’s offense.
In theory, any offensive scheme should see improvement from year 1 to year 2, assuming that a ton of production is not being lost from one year to the next. As we’ve laid out earlier, Georgia is returning as much talent and experience from a player personnel and playmaker aspect as they have in recent memory. As a whole, it’s definitely as much talent as they have returned in the Kirby Smart era. Adding that talent and experience to staff continuity is a recipe for a potential offensive explosion in 2021. Also, it’s not just about the teaching of schemes and techniques. All of these position coaches went through an incredibly challenging year with these young men in 2020. Due to COVID, a lot of the players didn’t get to see their families and, or friends from back home and the coaches were really all they had. A lot of trust was formed between the Georgia staff and the players by how Kirby Smart and company handled the pandemic and also social justice issues that arose last summer.
Todd Monken doesn’t have to start from ground zero with any position coach. That is a big deal in and of itself. It takes time to coaches to learn how their Coordinator wants things executed. Having a year under each of their belts as teachers of Monken’s schemes and terminology is only going to help raise the overall football acumen of the Georgia offense in 2021. JT Daniels in particular, I’ve been told by people with direct knowledge, is operating on an extremely advanced level. Just in 4 games, Daniels got to the point were he was comfortable getting Georgia out of bad looks and into a better play. Smart and Monken both explained going into the Peach Bowl how intelligent Daniels is and how he had a full grasp of the offensive, even without a ton of time on the grass. An offseason of Monken being able to JT Daniels and the wide receiver group and hone small details should produce great dividends in a Georgia passing game that appeared to be on the verge of becoming elite at the end of the 2020 season. As the players have said, “run it back!” This time with more experience and a greater understanding of how to carve up opposing defenses.