ATHENS — Georgia has cut offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s salary beginning March 21.
Monken’s raise is a little over 80 percent more than a year ago and a 60 percent increase from his last raise. The Bulldogs’ third-year play-caller had previously received a $1.1 million raise, which he signed for in 2020, of $1.25 million.
Georgia is the reigning national champion after beating Alabama 33-18 in the CFP championship game, and Monken has played his part throughout the season.
Oregon head coach Dan Lanning was the highest-paid UGA staff assistant last season, earning $1.7 million, while Texas A&M defensive coordinator Todd Elko set the SEC bar at $2.1 million -dollars put
Monken successfully transitioned Georgia’s offense from a multi-receiver modified pro-style spread offense to a more balanced RPO play-action attack as No. 1 quarterback JT Daniels went down and through former walk-on Stetson Bennett was replaced.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart noted how well Monken, a former NFL offensive coordinator (2016-19) and Southern Miss head coach (2013-15), made the switch after the Bulldogs beat Kentucky at 30 last season :13 had defeated.
“He did an incredible job (calling plays), think of the guys he had with him,” said Smart. “He took tight ends and made them multiple times, he took setbacks and he took wideouts that weren’t early season starters and did a really good job.
“He didn’t call the game with players games; They dial the numbers 19, 84 and 4 and 3 and 5 and these guys do plays. He does a good job keeping the defense off balance.”
Ever since Smart hired him, Monken has had a “get it done” approach. He speaks the language of his head coach and quickly wins over the fan community with his no-nonsense approach.
“Of course it’s been tough without the spring, without really the preparation that you want, but at the end of the day nobody really cares,” Monken said after the 2020 season.
“We’re in a get-it-done deal. There are many other teams that lose players who didn’t have a spring, changed coaches and didn’t have as good players as we did. Everyone has their own issues to contend with.”
Monken’s offenses have produced two top pass efficiency leaders in JT Daniels and Stetson Bennett for Georgia, overtaking Aaron Murray.
Daniels’ 2021 rating of 178.49 was the highest among returning quarterbacks entering the 2022 season.
Bennett, who earned Orange Bowl and CFP Championship Game MVP honors, had a 176.7 rating this season.
Bennett wasn’t among the top-25 quarterback ratings in 2022 and isn’t on the NFL radar as a draft pick, but Smart is confident the Bulldogs could be even better on offense with Monken’s offensive expertise than they were in 2021.
“We want to be explosive, and we were last year,” Smart said. “Everyone talks about defence, it was overshadowed that we were in the top 10 at explosive passes, way better than a lot of teams in the country and throwing the ball around the field.”
FWAA Freshman of the Year and first-team All-American tight end Brock Bowers was the Bulldogs’ most valuable offensive player last season.
Monken created matchup nightmares for opponents, and Bowers played his part by clinching a program record 13 touchdown catches while breaking the UGA tight-end marks with team-receive highs in catches (56) and yards (882) shattered.
Smart pointed out that it started with the ground game.
“We did it very effectively because we could run the ball,” Smart said. “So we have to keep doing that, we have some tight ends that we can capitalize on and we have three or four wideouts that are good players
“We think we have some really good young backs that are going to help us, so I’m excited to see what we can do offensively when Stetson comes back and the other quarterbacks we have come on.”
Kenny McIntosh and Kendall Milton are expected to speed up the ground game, while sophomore LSU transfer Arik Gilbert and former 5-star tight end Darnell Washington teamed with Bowers for arguably best tight end room gather across the country.
Georgia finished 10th in the nation averaging 38.4 points per game last season, and the team’s passing efficiency of 168.56 was second in the Power 5 ranks behind Ohio State.
Monken hinted that the Bulldogs could have scored even more if they hadn’t been so crooked up front that they often weren’t as aggressive in the second half of games.