Can Jamie Newman be the one to get Georgia football’s offense over the top?
Smart is entering his fifth year leading his alma mater’s program. Though he has had great success in his first four years back in Athens, oftentimes it has been archaic offensive philosophies that have been the Georgia Bulldogs’ undoing. Smart specializes in recruiting and coaching up the defensive backfield, but it seems he’s finally got a deep quarterback room he likes a ton.
Smart spoke with ESPN’s Kevin Negandi and Georgia football legend David Pollack about the upcoming 2020 college football season for UGA and what Newman can bring to the Dawgs’ offense. The former Wake Forest Demon Deacons standout certainly turned heads during his redshirt junior season playing for Dave Clawson in the ACC Atlantic over in Winston-Salem.
“We didn’t really get to him during the spring without practice, but we got to see him some during spring workouts and the first thing that pops out about him is his leadership ability,” said Smart to Negandi and Pollack.
“He came into a situation where he didn’t know a lot of guys on the team, but that didn’t hinder his ability to lead. He’s physically well put-together. He’s mentally well-put together. He’s approaching this thing the right way.”
“That’s not to say he’s not going to have competitors coming in here. D’Wan (Mathis) has done a great job, Carson (Beck), Stetson (Bennett), J.T. (Daniels) if he’s going to be eligible, we don’t know yet, but all those things are a factor.”
“I really like where Jamie’s at. We think he can create a lot of problems for defenses and we’re excited to see him play. It’s just so hard to answer that question without seeing spring ball.”
Is Jamie Newman the offensive catalyst needed for Georgia to win the SEC?
Georgia opted to peruse the quarterback transfer market this past winter once three-year starter Jake Fromm decided to turn pro a year early. Newman was seen as the No. 1 graduate transfer on the market. Not only did the Dawgs get Newman’s commitment, but Smart’s program ended up landing former USC Trojans signal-caller J.T. Daniels, who projects as the 2021 Week 1 starter.
Smart mentioned the other quality quarterbacks he has on this team in Carson Beck, Stetson Bennett and D’Wan Mathis. Beck and Mathis were top recruits in their classes, while Bennett served as Fromm’s high-end backup in 2019 after grinding his way back to Georgia after going the junior college route. If Daniels is eligible to play immediately, he is Newman’s biggest challenger.
There are a few things work for Newman, as well as few working against him. He’s got going for him in that everybody will be learning a new offensive scheme under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Newman provides dual-threat playmaking abilities we have seen at Georgia consistently since D.J. Shockley. He’ll also play with better players than he did at Wake Forest.
What will be a challenge for Newman is he didn’t have spring practice coming into a new system. The level of competition in the SEC East is a huge step up from what he saw in the ACC Atlantic at Wake Forest. He’s also facing potentially unreasonable expectations for the first time in his football life. Georgia is expected to go 11-1 (7-1), win the SEC and play for a playoff berth in 2020.
As long as Georgia holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Florida Gators and the Tennessee Volunteers, as well as not dropping a stupid game at home to someone like the Auburn Tigers, the Dawgs can go 11-1 (7-1) with their only loss on the road to the Alabama Crimson Tide in Week 3. If Newman gets Georgia to Atlanta, that’s a big deal. If he wins there, he becomes a UGA legend.
Newman has big expectations to lead Georgia to the promised land, but he has the talent to do it.