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Local News

  • The Athens-Clarke County Police Department is hoping the public can help identify two males suspected of breaking into multiple commercial businesses.  From the ACCPD:  ACCPD detectives are requesting the public’s assistance in identifying two male suspects responsible for committing a series of commercial burglaries in the area. Detectives believe the suspects use a pry bar on a rear door to gain access to the business. The suspects steal cash and other items. The burglaries have occurred in strip malls, small businesses, auto shops, and restaurants during the overnight hours. Detectives ask that anyone with information about the burglaries or the identity of the suspects to contact Det. Paul Davidson – (762) 400-7099 or Paul.Davidson@accgov.com. Additionally, a Crime Stopper's reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information leading to the identity of the suspects. Call the Crime Stoppers Tip line at 706-705-4775. ACCPD detectives advise local businesses to ensure their alarm or surveillance system is working properly, keep exterior lights on during nighttime hours, secure all windows and doors, and remove cash from the premises. 
  • The Stephens County Sheriff’s Office was, at last report, still trying to track down an escaped inmate: 24 year-old Calvin McCoy (pictured above) jumped a fence and ran away from the jail in Toccoa.    A Maysville man is killed in a crash in Banks County: Steven Baxter was 66 years old. The single-vehicle accident happened south of Homer. The Georgia State Patrol is investigating.   A Hall County woman is arrested, accused of trying to use counterfeit cash to buy money orders at a store in Flowery Branch: Jennifer Raby is 33 years old, from Lula.
  • The Gainesville Department of Water Resources reports what it says is a “minor” sewage spill. The Georgia EPD has been notified.    From the Gainesville city government website…   The Gainesville Department of Water Resources confirmed today a minor sewer discharge in the area of Foothills Parkway. At approximately 5:05 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15, the city was notified of a sewer discharge below 100 Foothills Parkway. City crews responded to the area where they found evidence of a discharge near an open manhole. Investigation into the matter revealed a private party had discovered and removed the blockage, allowing flow to return to normal. City crews learned the blockage was caused by an accumulation of grease, which had resulted in an overflow earlier in the day. It was determined an estimated 1,800 gallons of wastewater spilled within the area, with some residue entering Limestone Creek. City staff removed remnants of the discharge and applied lime to the area. Limestone Creek was assessed and no dead or stressed aquatic life was found. The area was posted as required by the state of Georgia. After cleanup, all conditions returned to normal. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division was notified Wednesday evening.
  • Unseasonably warm temperatures that came close to setting records in Athens and northeast Georgia are heading downward over the next several days.    From WSB TV… If you have enjoyed the spring-like weather, say goodbye to it for now. Winter is coming back to metro Atlanta. Here’s what to know:  Temperatures are 15 to 20 degrees colder than this time yesterday  Rain is in the forecast for part of your weekend  Next week, temperatures will dip down into the 20s Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz says “winter is returning! Very cold air will move into the eastern US next week driving our local temperatures down into the 20s. Are you ready for a hard freeze?”
  • There is no technical definition of a tiny house, but the working understanding is a home that is 400 square feet or smaller. So what is a “Kinda Tiny” home? Well, it’s a little bit bigger, but not much. The home design that won Athens’ first “Kinda Tiny” housing competition was 794 square feet and designed by UGA student Jacqueline Menke, who is currently finishing up a Master of Landscape Architecture at the College of Environment and Design. The contest was the brainchild of Athens Area Habitat for Humanity and Georgia’s U.S. Green Building Council, and the home designed by Menke is currently under construction in Athens. The family selected by Habitat will move into the house this spring. The average size of a home in the United States has doubled since the 1960s to 2,600 square feet, but there is a movement underway to embrace smaller, more energy efficient homes. Menke’s house will be an example of a greener home, but it’s also meant to start a conversation in Athens about zoning codes, said Spencer Frye, executive director of Athens Area Habitat for Humanity. “You aren’t allowed to build an actual tiny home in Clarke County,” said Frye. “The minimum size for a single-family home is 600 square feet. These size restrictions were put in place in reaction to integration. I don’t like the idea of our community still adhering to these codes.” That’s how the idea to provide a real-life example of the building-code restrictions in Athens came to life. Frye and David Hyde from TimberBilt, an Athens-based sustainable construction company, devised the “Kinda Tiny” home competition, thinking it could act as a test run for green building standards and show the county what could be done with a small home. “We wanted to begin a discussion,” said Frye. “If we want to have a real dialogue around home size in Athens-Clarke County, I want us to work from zero and move up and not keep these antiquated codes on the books.” The winning design Menke entered the “Kinda Tiny” house contest as part of a class project in UGA professor Alfie Vick’s green building class. Because her major is landscape architecture, she had to do a lot of research in order to complete a home design, but she won, in part, because of how seamlessly her plan worked with the site’s landscape. “One of things that made her design stand out, after talking to some of the judges, is the fact that her building really specifically relates to the site. She took into account the topography, and I think it was her landscape architecture background that gave her the insight to how the building and the site would interact together,” said Vick.   Menke said she drove through the neighborhood and past the lot several times and got inspired by the surrounding homes as well as the lot where the home would eventually be built. She noticed all of the other homes were elevated and had ramps. She made hers accessible as well by using a zero entry, which means no steps or other hindrances to entrance. “I also thought of the sun’s path and provided afternoon shade with the roof slope, which plays into LEED standards. And I addressed the issue of the slope and runoff with my landscape plan,” Menke said. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Menke said LEED standards helped guide her design from the beginning. Menke’s design had the sustainability features that the Green Building Council wanted, and the practicality desired by Habitat. “Our homes are built by volunteers so they can’t be technically challenging,” said Frye. Vick said, “Jacqueline’s house was practical, cost effective, buildable and also a really good design.” The judges awarded two first place awards, one to Menke and one to a team of professional architects from Atlanta. The homeowners, who had already been selected by Habitat, got to choose the winner, and they picked Menke’s design. Frye is hopeful that this conversation starter could lead to more small homes being built in Athens. “Land cost is a major part of the issue here. If we can reduce the lot size and the size of the home, everything will be more affordable,” said Frye. “We’ve already had some great conversations with the mayor and commission about land use and building codes. This home has allowed us to explore both housing size issues and sustainability issues.”

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Georgia coach Tom Crean always talks to his team about 'taking what the game gives you,' but on Saturday night at Mississippi State, UGA might need a different approach. Indeed, Crean's young and undersized team will have to take even when the game isn't giving them any breaks or advantages. Coach Ben Howland's maroon-clad Bulldogs lead the SEC in rebounding margin, the very area Crean's vertically challenged canines are most often challenged to measure up. 'I mean, every game we come in here talking about how important the rebounding is and now we're playing the league leader,' said Georgia coach Tom Crean, who has just two players 6-foot-9 or taller. 'That part of it is tough.' Mississippi State features two starters who are even taller, center Abdul Ado (6-11, 255) and power forward Reggie Perry (6-10, 250). The teams tip off at 8:30 p.m. (TV: SEC Network) at the so-called 'Hump.' Officially known as Humphrey Coliseum, Mississippi State's arena which some say resembles a cake from the outside has a smaller, intimate setting similar to Stegeman Coliseum with a capacity of 10,575. Georgia brings an 11-5 overall mark and 1-2 SEC record into the action. Mississippi State is 10-6 and 1-3 in league play. UGA is looking for what would be its first consecutive league wins under Crean, who is now in his second season. Georgia is also looking to play its way into NCAA tournament contention, and it will likely take a .500 record in league play or better for that to happen. It's Crean's first trip to Starkville, and he may be forced to make it without the playing services of Sahvir Wheeler, who fellow freshman Anthony Edwards refers to as 'the heart of the team.' Wheeler suffered an ankle injury in the second half of Georgia's resounding 80-63 blowout win over Tennessee. Crean made it clear on Friday that Wheeler is questionable, having just managed to walk through the Thursday workout. 'You just have to deal with it, and if he can't it is what it is,' Crean said. 'You just go. Right? That's why you try to develop and try to get multi-dimensional versatile guys. Obviously he's a huge factor.' If Wheeler is out, Georgia will rely more heavily on senior graduate transfer Donnell Gresham along with Edwards at the point. Edwards, named a second-team, mid-season All-American by the Sporting News earlier this week, is averaging 19.1 points per game this season, second in the SEC. Georgia, with its size deficiency, will also need another signature performance from 6-9, 245-pound junior Rayshaun Hammonds. Hammonds is averaging 14.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, and he's coming off a 21-point, 5-rebound in the win over the Vols. Mississippi State represents UGA's fifth-straight game against teams that played in the NCAA tournament last season. The Bulldogs are 2-2 in the past four, winning on the road against then-No. 9 Memphis 65-62 on Jan. 4 and hammering Tennessee in Athens on Wednesday night. The losses were to No. 13 Kentucky (78-69) and then-No. 5 Auburn (82-60). Last year's home loss to Mississippi State featured one of the most bizarre endings in Stegeman Coliseum history. WATCH: Stuffed bulldog triggers decisive technical foul in UGA home loss A small stuffed bulldog toy was thrown on the court in the final moments, resulting in a technical foul that helps swing the game State's way, 68-67. Georgia had rallied from 17 down to tie the game at 67-67. DawgNation Georgia Basketball Anthony Edwards puts the squeeze on Tennessee in blowout win Georgia falls in first SEC road game of season at Auburn Anthony Edwards says UGA didn't play tough enough vs. Kentucky Georgia basketball delivers signature Top 10 win at Memphs Freshman Anthony Edwards discloses injury, status Sahvir Wheeler on clutch game-winner, 'been there a ton of times' Tom Izzo on Georgia: 'That was an incredible comeback' Anthony Edwards lights up Michigan State for 37 in 93-85 loss Rayshaun Hammonds wrecks Georgia Tech Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener Georgia freshman already making basketball history The post Georgia basketball looks to get over the hump at Mississippi State appeared first on DawgNation.
  • BOGART, Ga. The first read to begin an update on all things Brock Vandagriff has to come out hard and fast. That's how he plays the quarterback position. This one certainly will. It will try to mirror how 5-star QB gets rid of the ball for his Prince Avenue Christian team. Decisive. Hit a read. The right read. Move the chains. Go. Vandagriff will be at Georgia on Saturday for an important 'Junior Day' visit. He said he is only mainly considering Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina at this time. He has only set up a visit to check out UGA this weekend so far. The now 6-foot-3, 205-pound junior shared a very mature outlook on why he de-committed from Oklahoma and how it will shape his decision going forward. 'My Dad and I talked and stuff,' Brock Vandagriff said. 'We're kind of sacrificing the best fit for me for other things which are priorities now.' He doesn't have an opinion, or at least a firm one, on new offensive coordinator hire Todd Monken just yet. That comes tomorrow. 'Not yet,' he said. 'Going to meet him tomorrow and talk ball.' Don't expect him to take a long and very drawn-out recruiting process. H'll can his options. Make the right read and go. 'I like the process being over with,' he said. 'So I am going to get this process over with once I make a decision.' He thinks he will be committed by March. That's how fast this thing can go. 'Maybe in the next month or two,' he said. What will this weekend's visit be about? 'Mainly seeing who I would play with if I went there,' Vandagriff said. 'I'm familiar with the coaches. Familiar with the facilities. Nothing has changed since the last time I have been there. Probably just getting to know the players more and the guys I would be playing with.' Georgia has a strong chance here as the true 'home' team. 'I think that Georgia has like the top priority and if everything fits at Georgia and if it goes how I expect it to go then I think I will probably not visit anywhere else,' he said. He says not to expect a quick-trigger decision. Not even with the greatest 'Junior Day' unofficial visit of all time. 'I don't think I would commit this weekend,' he said in reference to that potential feeling. 'Because I would go home and just pray about it. I wouldn't make an impulse decision but I wouldn't wait much longer.' Brock Vandagriff: The things that really matter here His de-commitment took place on Jan. 1. When he made that move, he cited that location was a big factor. That was what was included in the tweet. What he didn't include was the timing of it all. Vandgriff, like all of us, loaded up the family car and headed off to a grandparent's house. His family's roots, especially on his mom's side, are in rural Alabama. The family feels started tugging on him at Thanksgiving. Then again at Christmas. He had already been thinking about it for two months. Praying about it. 'Then we were at the dinner table with every family member in Alabama,' Brock Vandagriff said. 'The great grandparents. Grandparents. Aunts. Uncles. Stuff like that. I don't know how we got to talking about it. I didn't say anything about it. I guess it was just the Lord's timing.' Somebody said: 'Man, Oklahoma is far away.' He couldn't help but nod his head to that one. 'I couldn't go to sleep that night,' Vandagriff said. 'I was thinking about it. I was like I got to stay closer to home' so the people I love can be able to watch me and I can still go to hunt in Alabama on the weekends. This just really seems natural. 'Like just earlier this year the main thing my Dad and I had talked about was system and a fit system,' he said. Hello Oklahoma. See Jalen Hurts. See Kyler Murray. See Baker Mayfield. And so on. 'I would say that's not the main thing anymore,' he said. 'The main thing is trying to be the best player that I can be regardless of the system and just being like close to the family has been like, become, well, it has really burst onto the scene as important to me.' It is 13.8 miles from Sanford Stadium to his neat and tidy high school locker. It is 913 miles from that same locker to Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memory Stadium. The trip in the family truckster to Norman is only 13 hours longer by car than the Athens commute. 'Spending time in other states is not for me,' he said. 'I like to travel. I like to stay near home. I want people near me to come watch me and stuff like that to happen.' The 247Sports Composite ratings place the homegrown talent as the nation's No. 1 pro-style QB and No. 9 overall prospect for the 2021 class. He's the top player in Georgia, too. Seems like he'd be the ideal visitor for any 'Junior Day' event this weekend, right? That's what those rankings services say. What kind of quarterback does HE think he is? 'I think I am just another quarterback who is a pocket passer who just likes to win,' Vandagriff said. Brock Vandagriff: Let's tee up that pro-style QB thing Those are the fast and quick reads. But it was tempting to open things up with the way he has what his teammates might call a mullet ready to flow out from underneath his helmet. Vandagriff favors that look. Even though he must get very precise with it to make sure it adheres to all PACS and team regulations. That's why he keeps his hair is neat and tight on the sides and those locks don't touch his collar (especially when he straightens up) in the back. There's also the part about this pro-style QB thing here. That's .. interesting. But definitely not an all-encompassing label. That title is reserved for the guys who aren't really escape or extend-the-play guy with their feet. Vandagriff has had a season in which he caught 34 passes at wide receiver in high school. He's also had a season in which he ran for 7.3 yards per carry on the way to 1,001 yards. But now he's also had a season in which he threw for 3,190 yards. The juniorhas also been timed at 4.69 seconds on a laser in the 40-yard dash. Is that a pro-style QB? A dual-threat? A triple-threat? He spent his entire freshman year at Prince Avenue at receiver. He wasn't the quarterback for that team, but added 34 catches for 472 yards and four touchdowns. The 5-star QB for 20201 was the No. 2 WR for his Wolverines in 2017. Pretty odd, right? But that makes sense to those who saw him punt and kick for the Wolverines during his middle school days. The clips still exist with Vandagriff kicking the ball deep and then flying downfield to be the first man to make the tackle on the kickoff. Every kickoff his sophomore year went out of the end zone. Could probably punt in college in he couldn't throw the ball a lick. He's also very strong. The 205-pound QB can already power clean 290 pounds. He's still the punter for Prince Avenue. Still can probably boom touchbacks on the regular with that leg of his. But those days are likely behind him now. Kind of like that flowing hair that creeps out of the side of his helmet. With that introduction, let's chronicle his first pass as a high school player. It came during that 2017 season. Vandagriff was lined up wide right at receiver. He came across to the other side of the field on a jet sweep. He stopped. His heart was skipping beats. He swallowed his nerves and let loose a pass running to his left and throwing with his right arm off a jet sweep. The ball sailed 38-and-a-half yards in the air. It hit the team's top receiver in stride for a catch-and-run touchdown. Of course it was a touchdown. It had to be. 'It was the first game of the season and we'd been stressing this defensive end the whole week,' Vandagriff said. 'If we run this play we are going to run away from this guy.' The Wolverines lined up. Called the play. But Aquinas had flipped its ends. The look to the sideline was to the head coach. Greg Vandagriff, his father, told them to run the play regardless. 'I get the ball and he's coming up and I kind of launch it,' Brock Vandagriff said. 'We had an awesome junior receiver Christian Parrish and he ran right under it for a touchdown.' If he had to critique that throw, his evaluation would not be kind. 'I think the throw distance was good but the mechanics were kind of off,' he said. 'I was kind of worrying for my life there on the sideline.' With the ball in his hands now, he's not worried. The opposing defensive coordinators are. He would go on to throw many more passes from there. He threw for 267 yards and two scores as a freshman, followed by 3,190 more yards and 28 touchdowns as a sophomore and then 2471 yards and 31 scores in just eight games as a junior. Vandagriff completed 72 percent of his passes as a junior, but then added 1,001 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2018. Pro-style? Dual-threat? It seems the line is blurred here. Greg Vandagriff, his father, doesn't care about the rushing totals anymore for the 5-star who sits at his dinner table. Those carries just add up to hits for Vandagriff. Chances for him to leave the game. That's what the other team wants. 'I wouldn't say I'm just like a strict pro-style passer but I mean that's what I try to be,' Brock Vandagriff said. 'I don't try to be the dual-threat guy because I know I'm not going to be outrunning people at the next level and stuff like that. Being able to work on some things in the pocket in high school is helping me mature as a player. That's because I don't do the things in high school that I am not going to be doing at the next level.' 'I wouldn't say I am a pure pocket passer but I wouldn't say I am a dual-threat,' Vandagriff said. 'I do run when I have to but it is not fifty-fifty.' His father started out as a defensive guy in his coaching career. That has been an asset. Even if he did draw it up backwards in the eyes of his son. He taught Brock how to read defenses and read coverages at an early age. He knows what the other side is always thinking and trying to do. Ron Veal, who also trained Trevor Lawrence, has worked with him and his father over the last few years. 'He's a great dude and an older male figure in my life,' Brock Vandagriff said. 'I look up to him and I'm glad that I have someone else I can ask questions about. Ron's taught my dad some stuff as well and all three of us have matured in our understanding of the quarterback position.' The post Brock Vandagriff: The skinny on a big Georgia 'Junior Day' visit this weekend appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHEN Georgia announced the hiring of Todd Monken to the Bulldogs staff on Friday, assigning him the role of offensive coordinator. It's a hiring that will resonate from coast to coast, and yet another example of Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart pushing to program even after finishing No. 4 in the nation in 2019. Former offensive coordinator James Coley will remain on staff and serve assistant head coach, according to a UGA release. 'We are excited to add Todd to our staff,' Smart said in the release. 'He has a history of establishing explosive offenses at each and every stop in his impressive career in both the National Football League and at major college football programs.' Monken spent last season as the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, helping to scheme for an offense that produced the NFL's No. 2 rusher, former UGA star Nick Chubb. The season before, the 53-year-old Monken was calling plays for the NFL's most prolific passing offense in Tampa Bay. The Bucs set franchise records for passing yards, passing touchdowns and total yards with Monken serving as offensive coordinator. Georgia also added former Ole Miss head coach and offensive coordinator Matt Luke in December to serve as UGA's line coach. Luke has offensive coordinator experience, as well. It figures to be a crowded offensive coaches' room barring any more staff changes. But 2019 College Football Playoff champion LSU may have created a mold last season that Smart hopes to emulate. The Bayou Bengals most notably paired former Penn State and New Orleans Saints assistant Joe Brady with veteran quarterbacks coach Steve Ensminger last January. Brady, with the title of passing game coordinator and receivers coach, was credited as the architect for the pass-first scheme LSU matched to its personnel. The veteran Ensminger was the QB coach, offensive coordinator and called the plays. The Tigers results spoke loudly, with quarterback Joe Burrow producing record numbers as LSU marched to an undefeated season at CFP Championship Game win over Clemson. Smart isn't likely to rely on the pass as much as LSU with Georgia having to replace departed junior Jake Fromm, and a reloading situation at receiver. 'W e want to score points,' Smart said last December, asked about changing the offensive philosophy. 'You guys want a simple answer like it's just going to poof and happen. . It's a lot of things that goes into having a successful offense and we need to be better.' In addition to adding Wake Forest graduate transfer quarterback Jamie Newman the No. 3 rated returning QB, per Pro Football Focus he Bulldogs have TE grad transfer Tre' Mckitty arriving in June from Florida State. Smart doesn't figure to be done yet with impact players, with National Signing Day just around the corner (Feb. 5) and more players available in the NCAA transfer portal. Hiring an offensive guru like Monken sends a message to those potential recruits that the Bulldogs' offense looks to be on the upswing. The post Georgia football hires Todd Monken as new offensive coordinator appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia football is expected to announce the hiring of former NFL offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Monken, 53, directed the NFL's top passing offense while calling plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018 before spending last season as the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator. The 2018 Bucs averaged 320.3 yards through the air with quarterbacks Jameis Winton and Ryan Fitzpatrick combining to complete 65.3-percent of their passes. Monken's Tampa Bay offense set records for total yards, passing yards and passing touchdowns Monken, considered an expert in the 'Air Raid' style of offense, did not call plays with the Browns last season. 'Really what I took away from (the Air Raid) was being able to throw to win,'' Monken said after taking the Browns job last season in a Cleveland.com story. 'That really to me was the Air Raid. You had a certain amount of run game, you ran a lot of the same concepts and you could throw to win. That was really it. Like any offense, it works a lot better if you have good players.' Monken also said, 'I've always chosen places based on the people and the opportunity to win.' Georgia brings back 5 of 11 starters off an offense that beat Baylor 26-14 in the Sugar Bowl, including the game's MVP, receiver George Pickens. The Bulldogs have ushered in graduate transfer QB Jamie Newman from Wake Forest to take over for departed junior Jake Fromm. Georgia also brings back a trio of rising playmakers in the backfield, with Zamir White, Kenny McIntosh in James Cook all flashing electric moments last season. Monken obviously likes what he sees from the Georgia playmakers. Monken is well-traveled in both the pro and college ranks, starting his career as an assistant on a Division ll Grand Valley State staff (1989-90). He had notable stops on staffs at Oklahoma State with Mike Gundy (2002-04, 2011-12), and LSU with Les Miles (2005-06). Monken was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach when the Cowboys had Brandon Weeden and J.W. Walsh under center two of the top QBs in program history. Oklahoma State ranked second in the nation in passing offense in 2011, future first-round NFL draft pick Weeden ninth in the country in passing efficiency. The next season, Walsh ranked fourth in the nation in passing efficiency as a redshirt freshman who appeared in 10 games in 2012, the Cowboys seventh in the nation in passing yardage per game. At LSU, working with future first-round NFL pick JaMarcus Russell in 2006, Monken helped Russell finish tops among FBS Power 5 quarterbacks in passing efficiency (167.0), with 28 TDs and 8 interceptions. The post Georgia football expected to announce Air Raid' expert Todd Monken joining staff appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia football coach Kirby Smart has no shortage of candidates for the vacancy on his staff, but one name that continues to circulate is Todd Monken. It would be the sort of hire that would quickly gain attention and make a statement about UGA's commitment to the pass game. ESPN's Mark Schalbach reported earlier this week that Monken was a name worth keeping an eye on. Smart has likely talked to several potential candidates. The Bulldogs' fifth-year head coach is nothing if not thorough in his coaching searches. Monken was part of Freddie Kitchens' Cleveland Browns' staff last season. Kitchens, a former Alabama quarterback, handled playcalling duties for a team that finished 19th in the NFL in passing with Baker Mayfield under center. Monken called plays for the No.1 passing game in the NFL at Tampa Bay the year before. The 2018 Bucs averaged 320.3 yards through the air with quarterbacks Jameis Winton and Ryan Fitzpatrick combining to complete 65.3-percent of their passes. Monken's Tampa Bay offense set records for total yards, passing yards and passing touchdowns. He had interviews for the Jets and Packers head coach vacancies, according to Cleveland.com. PODCAST: Brandon Adams discusses Georgia staff vacancy But it is Monken's success at the collegiate level that could translate. Monken coached future first-round NFL draft picks JaMarcus Russell at LSU, and Brandon Weeden at Oklahoma State. Both Russell and Weeden ranked in the Top 10 nationally in passing efficiency under Monken's direction. That's a statistic consistent with Smart's model for offensive success. Smart has preached balance, wanting a run game he can rely on, but also efficiency and explosive plays via the air. Smart's Bulldogs bring back nine of 11 starters off a championship level defense that led the nation in fewest points per game allowed (12.60). The offense, however, is reloading. Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman has been added at quarterback to replace departed junior Jake Fromm. RELATED: Comparing Jamie Newman's 2019 stats to Jake Fromm Georgia's passing game ranked 72nd in the nation last season with 223 yards per game. The unit was strapped by the loss of the top five receivers from the season before and a rash of injuries at the position. Smart referred to it as a 'merry-go-round' receiver rotation, citing the challenge to establish any sort of consistency with different personnel on the field each week. Quincy Avery, Newman's QB trainer, shared that Newman has been told he'll be coming to an offense that throw the ball downfield 'outside the hashes.' And, while Newman has the ability to run, that will not be the focal point of the offense. RELATED: QB trainer hints at new direction of Georgia football offense James Coley was named the offensive coordinator last January, replacing Jm Chaney who left Georgia to become Tennessee's offensive coordinator. Coley maintained quarterback coaching duties in addition to taking over the playcalling duties. Monken has made it clear in the past that playcalling duties are important to him, so that would seem to be a potential tripping point. The Bulldogs also added former Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke to the staff to coach the offensive line in place of departed line coach Sam Pittman. The Georgia offense appeared to have a modified personality in the Sugar Bowl, passing on a pair of third-and-1 calls, and running the ball outside more often. It's hard to project how and where Monken would fit in the offensive meeting room if he ends up the choice. But Smart is a 'process' type of coach who doesn't need all the answers up front and has proven willing to let things play out over the long offseason. At the very least, Monken is the sort of hire that would turn heads. Smart has not provided any sort of timeline to fill the staff vacancy. The post Georgia football staff opening: A closer look at Todd Monken appeared first on DawgNation.