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Calling the right shots

Monken will dictate the offense

Calling the right shots

Calling the right shots

Georgia Southern head coach Jeff Monk...

            Jeff Monken has watched Paul Johnson call the plays from the sidelines since 1997.

            Johnson is well known as one of the best situational playcallers in football, dictating plays from memory or from the playcard he’s been known to carry while roaming the sidelines and reading the opposing defense.

            It won’t be any different for Monken when he takes the field as a head coach for the first time as Georgia Southern faces Savannah State for the September 4 season opener at Paulson Stadium.

“I’m just going to follow his lead and do it that way, because it’s worked out so well for him, and it did for us when I was with him,” said Monken about Johnson’s playcalling method.

Monken will get information from the assistants in the press box – offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Brent Davis, quarterbacks coach Mitch Ware and wide receivers coach Lamont Seward – and from the rest of the offensive assistants on the sidelines in order to determine which play to call next.

            “Everybody will have the things that they’re supposed to watch and look at, and they’ll give the information that’s necessary,” said Monken. “[Davis has] experience as an offensive coordinator and an offensive line coach, being able to see the interior line and to be able to help me with I need to know, and Mitch, he can see a lot more from up there than he can from the sidelines.”

            Heading into any given game, there won’t be a script or a pre-conceived notion of what plays will be called, even from the opening snap. It’s all based on what the opposing defense is doing.

            “That’s why there’s no script,” said Monken. “There’s no, ‘Okay, we’re going to get this many passes in during the first 10 plays and we’re going to get in this many formations and motions.’ It’s just our offense, and that’s what we do.

            “Everything we do is kind of reactionary from the defense. If they’re doing this, here’s our answer. If they’re doing that, here’s our answer. It doesn’t mean it’s going to work. We’ve still got to execute, we’ve still got to block, we’ve still got to run the right route, we’ve got to make the right read at quarterback, all those things. If this is what [the defense] did the last time we did this, well, here’s the comeback play.”

            After Monken has decided on a play, it will be brought to the huddle in one of two ways. Either the play will be run in to the huddle by a player from the sideline, or the play will be signaled into the huddle by the coaches.

            It doesn’t end there.

            The play is now in the quarterback’s hands. If he doesn’t like what he sees in the defense, he can always change the play at the line of scrimmage.

            “He’s got a chance to audible every single play based on the look that he gets,” Monken said. “He goes to the line after the play’s been called in the huddle, and if that’s not the defensive look we want to run that play into, he checks the play.”

            The new play chosen by the quarterback won’t be a random selection. There will be pre-determined audibles for specific situations and defensive looks.

            “It makes it easier on [the quarterback],” Monken said. “He doesn’t just open up the playbook. It’s more, ‘Okay, if I don’t have this, then this is my answer.’ Then he calls the play and we go with it.”

            Opening kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Paulson Stadium on Sept. 4.


            Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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