Although spring football practice is on hold due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19, the Georgia football rosters are still set. Coming off a 12-2 season, the Bulldogs head into next season with high expectations. The Red & Black is analyzing each position group in a nine-part series. Part nine focuses on running new coaching additions.
Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart has encountered coaches leaving his program to take on positions elsewhere after the 2019 season. Offensive coordinator James Coley, offensive line coach Sam Pittman and special teams coach Scott Fountain have all moved on and created openings at Georgia.
Smart began to make personnel moves near the end of 2019 and during the offseason to fill these holes and build a staff with both knowledge and experience.
The first new hire was former Ole Miss head coach, Matt Luke. He took over the offensive line coach position after Pittman accepted the head coaching job at Arkansas in December. Luke has experience as an offensive line coach at a few schools, and he already coached in Georgia’s Sugar Bowl win over Baylor.
Smart said on National Signing Day that he believes Lukes fits in with the coaching staff and program.
“He’s got a lot of energy. He’s been a blessing for us,” Smart said. “In addition, it helps me from a head coach standpoint.”
Smart also made moves toward an experienced staff with the addition of Todd Monken from the Cleveland Browns. He will become Georgia’s new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Monken has experience as a former NFL offensive coordinator. He also served as head coach at Southern Mississippi.
This hire could spark significant change for Georgia football with a new focus on the passing game for the Bulldogs. Before his time in Cleveland, Monken called plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018. Tampa Bay had the No. 1 passing game in the NFL that year.
Monken also experienced success at the collegiate level. He coached JaMarcus Russell at LSU and Brandon Weeden at Oklahoma State. Both Russell and Weeden were first-round NFL draft picks, and they ranked in the top 10 nationally in passing efficiency.
This hire could allow for a more explosive passing offense for the Bulldogs in 2020.
Another new hire is the addition of Scott Cochran. He will join Georgia’s staff as the special-teams coordinator. Cochran was the strength and conditioning coach at Alabama for 12 years. He and Smart worked together at Alabama for 9 years, and Smart noted that Cochran is experienced as an on-field coach, as well.
“The big part of hiring Scott was because we felt like he brought a lot to the table in terms of the entire organization,” Smart said on March 31.
Smart’s personnel moves over the offseason have filled the coaching vacancies, which may also show a new personality for Georgia football in 2020.