2018 Georgia Southern Eagles Preview – Part 2

Part 1

Defense

If you can’t beat ’em, steal their coaches. That’s what Georgia Southern did when it brought over Scot Sloan and Matt Greenhalgh from App State. Sloan was the co-defensive coordinator/recruiting coordinator/secondary coach at App State last season. He had worked in Boone in various capacities since 2010.

Sloan brings with him App State’s signature 3-4 defense. Georgia Southern has run a 4-3 for much of its history aside from the dreadful Ashley Anders 3-3-5 era. The 3-4 defense has produced impressive results for the Mountaineers the last few years that the Eagles would like to replicate.

I believe Southern has the guys in the front-7 to make this transition smooth. Logan Hunt and Raymond Johnson Jr. are among the best defensive linemen in the conference. They will man the DE spots in the three-man front, with Traver Vliem, Deshon Cooper, and Quan Griffin as quality backups.

The big question mark is in the middle at NT, Ian Bush and Ty Phillips are the only guys listed there for now. Hunt and true freshman C.J. Wright could end up seeing some playing time there.

Despite the loss of MLB Chris DeLaRosa, the inside linebacker spots are set with Tomarcio Reese and Todd Bradley. Rashad Byrd and Chris Harris Jr. provide quality depth behind those two. The outside linebacker spots are split up between the “anchor” and “dog” responsibilities. The anchor spot is more of an LB/Safety/Nickel hybrid (think Ironhead Gallon).

Due to the depth at safety, Jay Bowdry was moved down to linebacker in the spring and locked down the job. The dog position is more of the pass rusher. Alvin Ward Jr., Randy Wade Jr., and Demetrice Lofton were all highly touted recruits and will get a chance to show what they can do. True freshman Quin Williams could end up being a factor here.

The secondary is deep, particularly at the safety position. While the corners, Monquavion Brinson and Kindle Vildor, get most of the hype, the safeties are just as good. Josh Moon, Sean Freeman, RJ Murray, and Jessie Liptrot are all capable of starting. Martial Washington and Kenderick Duncan have the size to be linebackers.

Amari Thompson, Darrell Baker, and Javon Reid are also in the mix. My biggest question mark for a loaded and experienced secondary will be the depth behind Brinson and Vildor. Christian Matthew is gone, highly touted true freshmen Justin Birdsong and Brandon Cross could end up on the 2-deep at the end of fall camp,

Here is a sneak peek at what a Scot Sloan-led defense could look like:

Defensive starters returning: 9

Defensive starters lost: 2

Key losses:
LB Chris DeLaRosa, DT Darrius Sapp

Key returnees: 
DE Logan Hunt, preseason 1st team all-conference, 11 TFLs, 5 sacks, 32 tackles
CB Monquavion Brinson, 1st team all-conference, 5 INTs, 11 PDs, 34 tackles
DE Raymond Johnson III, 6 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, 35 tackles
LB Tomarcio Reese, 45 tackles, 2.5 TFLs
CB Kindle Vildor, 3 INTs, 7 PDs
S Joshua Moon, 45 tackles, 5 TFLs

DE
Raymond Johnson III (6-3, 240, So.)
Quan Griffin (6-3, 270, So.)
Traver Vliem (6-4, 255, r-So.)

NT
Ian Bush (6-0, 275, r-Sr.)
Ty Phillips (6-3, 290, Jr.)

DE
Logan Hunt (6-2, 270, Sr.)
Josh Johnson (6-5, 240, r-Fr.)
Deshon Cooper (6-3, 250, r-Sr.)

MLB
Todd Bradley (6-0, 230, r-So.)
Chris Harris Jr. (6-1, 245, So.)
Tré Allen (6-1, 230, r-Fr.)

WLB
Tomarcio Reese (5-11, 230, Sr.)
Rashad Byrd (6-0, 230, r-So.)

Anchor
Jay Bowdry (6-0, 200, r-Jr.)
Lane Ecton (5-11, 195, r-Jr.)
Benz Josue (6-0, 210, r-Fr.)

Dog
Randy Wade Jr. (6-2, 250, r-So.)
Alvin Ward Jr. (6-4, 230, r-So.)
Demetrice Lofton (6-5, 240, So.)
Benz Josue (6-0, 210, r-Fr.)

CB
Monquavion Brinson (5-11, 180, Jr.)
Jaden Garrett (5-11 180. r-Fr.)

CB
Kindle Vildor (5-11, 180, Jr.)
Bryce Cross (5-11, 180, r-Fr.)

FS
Joshua Moon (6-0, 200, Sr.)
RJ Murray (6-0, 205, r-Sr.)
Martial Washington (6-3, 210, r-So.)
Kenderick Duncan Jr. (6-3, 205, r-Fr.)

SS
Sean Freeman (6-0, 190, Sr.)
Jessie Liptrot (6-0, 190, r-Jr.)
Darrell Baker Jr. (6-1, 190, r-So.)

Special Teams

Tyler Bass was named to the Lou Groza watchlist on Wednesday. There hasn’t been much of a drop off since Younghoe Koo graduated. Lunsford used to be a special teams coach, so you better believe there’s going to be an emphasis placed on it in 2018. Georgia Southern will have to replace punter, Matt Flynn. There’s a trio of guys competing to replace Flynn, Magill Buerle, Bryce Christensen, and Anthony Beck II. Buerle came out of spring practice on top for now.

Wesley Kennedy II will most likely take over Myles Campbell’s return duties. One of the most exciting things I saw at the Blue-White game in April was Monquavion Brinson returning punts. He broke one for a long return in the first half of the game. His speed in the return game could be deadly.

Key losses:
P Matt Flynn, KR Myles Campbell

Key Returnees: 
PK Tyler Bass, preseason 2nd team all-conference. 

PK
Tyler Bass (5-10, 180, r-Jr.)

P
Magill Bauerle (6-1, 200, r-So.)

KO
Tyler Bass (5-10, 180, r-Jr.)

SN
Ryan Langan (6-1, 210, So.)

HOLD
Ellis Richardson (6-3, 240, r-Sr.)

KOR
Wesley Kennedy III (5-10, 175, So.)
Dexter Carter Jr. (6-0 190, r-So.)

PR
Wesley Kennedy III (5-10, 175, So.)
Monquavion Brinson (5-11, 180, Jr.)

Schedule & Predictions

Sep 1, 2018 6:00 PM Sat South Carolina State – W
Sep 8, 2018 6:00 PM Sat Massachusetts – W
Sep 15, 2018 3:30 PM Sat @ Clemson – L
Sep 29, 2018 12:00 PM Sat Arkansas State – L
Oct 6, 2018 12:00 PM Sat South Alabama – W
Oct 11, 2018 7:30 PM Thu @ Texas State – W
Oct 20, 2018 12:00 PM Sat @ New Mexico State – L
Oct 25, 2018 12:00 PM Thu Appalachian State – W
Nov 3, 2018 12:00 PM Sat @ Louisiana-Monroe – L
Nov 10, 2018 12:00 PM Sat Troy – L
Nov 17, 2018 12:00 PM Sat @ Coastal Carolina – W
Nov 24, 2018 12:00 PM Sat @ Georgia State – W

Prediction: 7-5 with a birth in the Cure Bowl, 2nd in the SBC East

I like the schedule. Four of the first five games are at home. The three toughest conference games: Arkansas State, App State, and Troy are all at home. The fans will enjoy having six home games for the first time in a while. SC State will give Lunsford a chance to work out the kinks and figure out what works.

To me, the UMass game is the swing game. The Minutemen beat the Eagles 55-20 last fall in Amherst, the loss that got Tyson Summers fired. Are the Eagles a full 35 points better than they were last October? We’ll find out. Perhaps the Statesboro heat and gnats will take their toll on the New Englanders.

If Southern beats UMass and survives the trip to Death Valley to play Clemson, then the team could pick up momentum. Arkansas State is their second big measuring stick of the season. The Red Wolves are the favorites to win the conference and were even ranked #24 by Phil Steele.

If the Eagles can hang with the Red Wolves, or even win that game, then this team could roll through South Alabama, Texas State, and New Mexico State on its way to bowl eligibility. If Arkansas State mops the floor with them, it could be another long season.

There’s a lot of evidence on paper that this team is poised for a turnaround. But can Chad Lunsford, a man with only six games of head coaching experience, pull it off? We shall see.

Part 1

2 thoughts on “2018 Georgia Southern Eagles Preview – Part 2

    1. But is it though? This team did nothing but replace Summers with Lunsford and improved from an 0-12 pace to a 4-8 pace, so unless his success last season was a complete fluke and/or the roster itself isn’t any better this season, it’s really only a three-game improvement.

      Not saying that’s significantly more likely, as I personally have them going 5-7, but just for perspective.

      Like

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