Georgia Southern: Go Ahead and Hire Chad Lunsford

To paraphrase the great Dennis Green, just crown his ass already.

I don’t need to see anymore evidence. Aside getting lost on the way to Myrtle Beach to play Coastal Carolina, there’s not much left I need to see. He’s already made Georgia Southern football fun again, and they’re 2-9, how is this possible?

It’s clear Chad Lunsford gets it. Just draw up the contract already.

Georgia Southern downed Louisiana-Lafayette 34-24 on Saturday. The Eagles gained 464 yards of offense and 389 yards rushing. They held the ball for over 40 minutes. RB Wesley Fields had a career day with 186 yards on 23 carries and a TD. Cajun fans will have to wait another week to secure bowl eligibility as Mark Hudspeth will be coaching for his job vs. App State.

I have been aware of Chad Lunsford for a while now; he’s been a member of the Georgia Southern staff for a total of 9 years. I knew he was a finalist for the Frank Broyles Award for the top assistant coach in 2016; I knew recruiting was his main deal, and that he’s coached practically every position at one point or another. But it is not until now that I’ve gotten to see what kind of coach he is, and after five games, I’m in.

Chad Lunsford has resurrected a program from the dead like some sort of voodoo priest. When Coach Lunsford took the reigns after the firing of Tyson Summers, Georgia Southern football was at its lowest point in the modern era, lifeless, staring 0-12 in the face. My span as a student at Georgia Southern was from 2004-08 as an undergrad, so you can say I’ve seen my fair share of bad Georgia Southern football, the 55-20 thrashing UMass laid on the Eagles was absolute rock bottom.

He’s injected life back into the program. He’s a walking quote machine and has quickly become a folk hero on Georgia Southern Twitter. I swear he sweats out Eagle Creek Water. His passion for this job is contagious. He even drops the People’s Elbow (AKA Eagles Elbow) like a damn champ.

***CAUTION FOLDING CHAIRS WERE IN FACT HURT IN THE FOLLOWING PRODUCTION, VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED***

WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! (In Rick Flair)

I’m a sap for this sort of stuff so you’ll have to excuse while I gush. Lunsford knows how to motivate, he knows how to recruit, and after the past two games, it looks like he can gameplan and make in-game adjustments. This has been his dream job for a while, and he’s getting to live his best life right now. You can see it in his eyes. It’s pure joy.

College football is in my opinion, the best sports product on the planet. I love me some Champions League, NBA, NFL, MLB, World Cup, EPL, etc..etc. But none of those cram as much passion into such a small time frame, in a model where every game matters. Maybe its because I grew up in the South, but not a lot beats the feeling you get after your school wins a game on a Saturday night. It just matters more. You almost need the vapid nothingness of bowl season as sort of a “cool down lap” after three months of passionate se…..I mean football.

College football is also peculiar because we’re dealing with 18-22-year-old college kids. You get a new set of them every four years and limited time to mold them. As someone who deals with kids on a daily basis, capturing their attention is not always easy. They have way more distractions than you had when you were a kid.

Look at how those kids looked at Lunsford in that video. Look at how they react to him. You can’t tell me that, that doesn’t matter. Those kids would not only run through a wall for him; they’d build it back up and run through it again for him. They’re eating out of the palm of his hand. As much as I like and respect the heck out of the other supposed head coaching finalists (Brent Davis and Brian Bohannon); I just don’t want to mess this up. Once the thing is fixed, leave it alone.

Tom Kleinlein stumbled bass-ackwards into a pink diamond. DO NOT MISS ANOTHER LAYUP. If he had just promoted Dell McGee internally after the Fritz departure, the past two years might have been different. Hell, if he had replaced Summers with Lunsford back in December, I guaran-damn-tee you they would be bowling. Hindsight is 20/20.

But something tells me that TK has caught a case of the Lunsford Syndrome (consult your doctor, or elbow-drop a piece of furniture, your choice). He ran up and hugged Chad “The Elbow” Lunsford after the game. Me thinks this coaching search might be over.

Don’t take my word for it. The data is there to support the turnaround. The Eagles are better in every category that matters:

Points Per Game
First 6 games:
108 points scored (18.0/gm)
248 points allowed (41.3/gm)

Last 5 games:
125 points scored (25.0/gm) (+7.0)
110 points allowed (22.0/gm) (-19.3)

Yards Per Play:
Rush: 3.89 -> 4.53 (+0.64)
Pass: 6.76 -> 7.10 (+0.34)
Overall: 4.55 -> 5.13 (+0.58)

3rd Down Conversions: 
First 6 games: 20-90 (0.222)
Last 5 games: 36-83 (0.434) (+0.212)

Defense

Yards per Play:

Rush: 5.30 -> 5.36 (+0.06)
Pass: 8.83 -> 7.38 (-1.45)
Overall: 6.81 -> 6.38 (-0.43)

Turnovers:
First 6 games: -2, 14 given up, 12 forced
Last 5 games: +3, 7 forced, 4 given up

3rd Down Defense:
First 6 games: 37-78 (0.474)
Last 5 games: 17-59 (0.288) (-0.186)

Penalties

First 6 games:
45 penalties for 411 yards (7.5/game for 68.5 yards/game)

Last 5 games:
27 penalties for 217 yards (5.4/game for 43.4 yards/game) (-2.1/gm || -25.1 yds/gm)

 

This isn’t pro sports; you can’t just trade players when you lose, you’re stuck with the guys you got. These are the same guys that started the season 0-9. They’ve outscored their opponents 86-24 in the past two weeks. South Alabama and Louisiana-Lafayette are no world beaters by any means, but they were both playing for bowl eligibility when they faced Georgia Southern, and Lunsford’s boys swatted them away like gnats.

You remove this guy and how would the players react? Or more importantly, how would Lunsford respond if the rug is pulled out from under his feet? There are a half dozen FCS programs that love to have him; heck South Alabama could give him an interview. Now, I could see a world where Brent Davis or Brian Bohannon could keep Chad Lunsford on as a defensive coordinator or something and give him a pay raise, after all, they are all Paul Johnson/Jeff Monken guys.

But who do you think the players will listen to in the locker room? Chad Lunsford, a man that has earned their trust and has met their family members on recruiting trips, or some new guy?

I think I know the answer to that.

Pay the Man.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s