Heading into Georgia’s 2021 season, all eyes have been on JT Daniels, the swagger that he brings and the arm talent that he’s set to unleash on opponents with a stacked receiving core. And there’s nothing wrong with that, Georgia has not had a quarterback with the physical traits that Daniels possesses in quite some time.
At the same time though, it’s left the spotlight off of senior running backs Zamir White and James Cook. However, that does not mean that the competitive fire is absent when it comes to those two, if anything, it is just how they like it.
“Neither of them are vocal, at least not around me,” said Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken in a virtual press conference on Thursday. “Maybe that is just because I am 55, and they do not feel like they have anything to say to me. The reality is, they are not vocal players, but, those two dudes, they work their rear ends off. If you would ever have a chance to come watch our workouts in the offseason, those two guys go against each other. They challenge each other, and the whole running back room does.”
White and Cook are as close to perfect of complementary backs as you can get. White runs with power at 215 pounds and can cut through any hole to make a man miss while Cook brings more of a threat in the passing game with his consistent hands and blazing speed.
During Kirby Smart’s tenure, Georgia has always run the ball well and has a lot of talented guys from Nick Chubb to D’Andre Swift dominate on Saturdays in Athens and eventually on Sundays in the NFL. That should not change with a loaded running back room headlined by White, Cook, Kenny McIntosh and Kendall Milton, but Georgia knows it will need more explosive plays this upcoming season.
“Obviously, we have to become more explosive in the run game,” said Monken. “I think we were consistent for the most part. Obviously, we had a couple games there against Mississippi State and the bowl game where we didn’t nearly run it as well as you would like to be able to control the game. You can’t control the game if you can’t run it. We have to do a better job of getting the ball on the perimeter because there is more space out there that will help us. Formationally, there are some things that we can do differently. You know there were some games, the Kentucky game we ran the ball well, but that was more in terms of five, six, seven yards here, but we have to be more explosive in the run game and we have to do it without a dual threat quarterback. That will add to that as well. You know at times you may not get the QB draw or scramble run, or the zone read, but that is no excuse. We have good enough running backs. We definitely have to be more explosive.”
If Georgia’s running backs can make those explosive plays, it will only help open up all the weapons in the passing game, allowing the Bulldogs to reach their potential on that side of the ball. They will just have to lead by example and let JT Daniels do the talking. With as many weapons as there are this year for UGA, Monken understands his job as offensive coordinator.
“The majority of our players have a skillset, especially the skilled guys, that you can utilize something,” said Monken. “We just have to figure out what that is and if we can get them into those positions. Then you spend the off-season heading into spring and evaluating what people are doing. Trying to stay on the cutting edge of what people are doing offensively and utilizing our personnel, which I thought we did a good job of.”
For Monken’s full press conference: