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Luke for Georgia’s first national championship of the Kirby Smart era.

Monken always preached “complimentary” football. In addition to finding a way to score and score often, you work to keep from putting the defense at a disadvantage. Many coordinators try to validate their reputations by slinging the ball in the fourth quarter to fatten the offensive stat sheet. Monken wanted to complement the defense. He was not about accumulating stats. He is a “team first” advocate.

Conversations with him were quite illuminating. After one session last spring, I was reminded of a visit with Bum Phillips, when he was in retirement at his ranch in Goliad, Texas. The worst job he ever had, Bum said, was when he was the defensive coordinator for Sid Gilman of the San Diego Chargers. Many considered Gillman to be an ingenious offensive guru. Gillman also had that same opinion of himself.

Bum said the only thing Gillman cared about when it came defense, was to prod the coordinator to get the ball back to him so he could pile up yards and touchdowns and then impress the sportswriters with his offensive genius. What can we do offensively that helps the defense, was incorporated in Monken’s mantra.

I hate to see him go but am glad he came our way. At Baltimore, Monken will be joining one of the most stable franchises in the NFL. John Harbaugh is a seasoned and highly respected head coach. He will let Monken run the Raven offense, just as Kirby Smart allowed him to do at Georgia.

There are two overriding factors in Monken’s decision. He will not have to recruit in Baltimore—he has had his last NIL discussion— and financial security is enhanced. With an annual pay of $2 million dollars at Georgia, it is reasonable to assume that he got a nice increase to sign with Baltimore. Five years at the huge salaries coaches make today, he can retire and spend time doing something he seldom gets to do—visit the horse track. He is not a gambler, but he does enjoy going to the track and observing the horses. He has great admiration for the beauty of a sleek thoroughbred.

He will be coaching one of those in Lamar Jackson when he takes over the Raven offense in the coming weeks.

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