Over the past three seasons, the Georgia Bulldogs have been the unquestioned class of the SEC East. With a run-heavy offense and the abilities of the highly-talented quarterback Jake Fromm, no team in the SEC East has had an answer for Georgia.
Over the past three years, the Bulldogs have won three consecutive SEC East titles, going 17-1 vs. SEC East opponents during that stretch. Now that the Fromm era is over, head coach Kirby Smart and Georgia will look to a graduate transfer to bridge into 2020.
That transfer is former Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman. Experts rave over Newman’s explosiveness, and dynamic play-making ability. Yet, SEC rival fan bases just cannot see an addition from a mediocre ACC team as cause for serious concern.
So let us look into why there is so much hype building for Newman and the Bulldogs in 2020:
1. The Supporting Cast
First off, let’s not discredit anything the Wake Forest Demon Deacons have accomplished nor dismiss the program they are becoming. With head coach Dave Clawson at the helm, the Demon Deacons have won three of the past four bowl games and have put together quite a run of consistency.
Yet, this doesn’t compare to the talent that will be surrounding Newman with his new team. Over the past four recruiting cycles, Georgia has finished in the top three each time, according to the 247Sports Composite. The Bulldogs finished with the top class in 2018 and 2020.
A program like Georgia does not rebuild anymore, but reloads. According to the SP+ returning production, Georgia is coming into 2020 with 50 percent of its offensive production returning.
With Newman replacing Fromm, the Wake transfer will have quite the supporting cast at his disposal. Also, let us not forget the elite young talent that got reps in January’s Sugar Bowl win over Baylor.
Even if Newman has early growing pains within the new system, the Georgia defense is returning 80 percent of its production. By no means does Newman have to be perfect right away.
2. The Offensive Line
The 2019 Georgia-Florida game featured a unique dynamic. Florida finished the 2019 season as the No. 3 team in the nation for racking up sacks, tallying 49. Meanwhile, Georgia finished the season ranked fifth nationally in fewest sacks allowed. The 2019 version of the rivalry game in Jacksonville featured one of the best offensive lines against the best defensive lines. During that contest, Fromm was not sacked at all and didn’t even end up on his back once.
While Georgia returns only two if its five starting offensive lineman, do not let that fool you. Matt Luke as the offensive line coach was a home-run hire after Sam Pittman was snagged to be the head man at Arkansas. The offensive line is still filled with 4- and 5-star guys, and Justin Shaffer, who has starting experience, returns from injury.
As we said before, many young guys got experience from the Sugar Bowl, including notable offensive linemen. Newman never had the opportunity to throw behind a wall like this in Winston-Salem.
3. Todd Monken
During the Smart era, Georgia has been mostly run-heavy in a pro-style offense. In 2020, it changes under the leadership of new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. You might remember Monken from his time at Oklahoma State in 2011, where he helped place the Cowboys in the national spotlight. You may also remember him as the head coach of Southern Mississippi where he lit up Conference USA defenses with now-NFL quarterback Nick Mullens.
The spread system that Monken is going to bring to Georgia needs a dynamic quarterback like Newman. For this project to work, it will be more on Monken than Newman.
4. Jamie Newman himself
Many opposing fans are looking at the fact that Newman is just an ACC quarterback or at his struggles the last five games of 2019. What many do not know is that he finished the season without his two top receivers and that Newman battled injury himself.
For most of the season, Newman actually led the ACC in passer rating. Let’s not forget that is in a conference that includes Clemson quarterback and projected future first-round pick, Trevor Lawrence.