We’re a little over a week into fall practice. Camp officially ends with a scrimmage today at 6:00 PM. A new set of players and coaches were baptized in the magical waters of Beautiful Eagle Creek. The fall semester starts on Monday. The season is so close you can almost taste the cooked meat and cold beer being served at various tailgates in the Paulson Stadium parking lot on gameday. As usual for Chad Lunsford’s short tenure at the helm, it’s been an exciting week. Let’s dive into it.
Please Donate to Shai Werts and his Family
First things, first. On Wednesday, starting QB Shai Werts’s grandmother and aunt lost everything they own in a house fire. A pot of grease overheated while they were cooking dinner, and within an hour the whole house had burned to the ground. This is absolutely heart-wrenching news. One can only imagine what Werts and his family are going through. It’s time for Eagle nation to step up and help.
Two websites have been set up for donations. If you are a Georgia Southern booster, in accordance with NCAA rules, you MUST donate at this website:
For everyone else, a GoFundMe has been established here:
The Georgia Southern community looks out for and supports one another, especially in times of crisis. Let’s show Werts and his family what Eagle Nation is really made of, please donate whatever you can to help.
LaBaron Anthony and Drake Grall receive scholarships
Now for more positive news, the coaching staff pulled off a “P.J. Fleck” and awarded a pair of senior walk-ons, QB LaBaron Anthony and OL Drake Grall, with scholarships Friday. Congrats to both of them.
Eagle Creek Baptism
Earlier that day, the football team participated in the annual tradition of baptizing the seniors. The new members of the coaching staff and interim President Shelley Nickel joined in on the festivities. OL Coach Ron Hudson provided the cannonballs.
Tradition makes you do crazy things, and college football is nothing without tradition. It’ll even make you do a cannonball into murky, mosquito and gnat infested drainage ditch water. I can’t think of a better way to wash off the sins of the past two seasons than a dip in the waters of Beautiful Eagle Creek.
Afterward, the players participated in Operation Move-In, where they help the incoming freshman move all their stuff into their new dorms. Mid-August in Statesboro is brutal. It’s nice to have a 300 lb lineman help you carry all that furniture, electronics, and bags of Ramen noodles.
As for actual on-the-field news, in an interview this week, RB Coach Chris Foster gave us a glimpse into what we can expect out of that position:
Q: Who is your best …
Speed back: Monteo Garrett
Outside back: Wesley Fields
Inside back: Eric Montgomery
Power back: Logan Wright
Blocking back: Wesley Fields, but Logan has shown glimpses
Receiving back: Wesley Fields
Seeing Wesley Fields and Monteo Garrett’s names on that list is no surprise. The two seniors are projected to be the starters at runningback on opening day and should get the bulk of the carries. There’s a lot of talent at the position, as is usual at Georgia Southern, but there’s also a lot of inexperience. Somebody has to emerge out of this group and carry the torch going into 2018, 2019, and beyond.
Behind Fields and Garrett, the only other upperclassman on the roster is R-Jr. Eric Montgomery. I’m pleased to see Montgomery’s name on this list. He came to campus with high expectations as a part of the 2015 recruiting class but struggled to get on the field during the Tyson Summers administration. He had a good spring and has bulked to 205 lbs. It looks like he’s making the most out of a fresh opportunity.
Logan Wright’s name also caught my eye. Foster mentions that Wright put in a lot of work during the offseason and has looked good early on in camp. The redshirt freshman out of Jacksonville has the ideal size (6-0 225) for a short yardage/power back. Foster also mentioned Matt “Speedy” LaRoche, Grant Walker, and Andrew Cunningham’s names as being in the mix. LaRoche is expected to be Garrett’s primary backup (appropriate) and Walker is battling both Wright and Montgomery for playing time.
The true freshman Cunningham was one of the headliners of this year’s recruiting class. Problem is he’s 10 months removed from ACL surgery and is still getting up to speed. He’s talented enough to break into the two-deep, but he may need more time to recover. My guess is the coaching staff will take advantage of the new redshirt rule to get a further evaluation.
The Media has still has no idea what to make of the Eagles
Like I mentioned in my preview, there is a wide-range of opinion about how good Georgia Southern will be this season. I’ve seen us as high at top four in the conference (Phil Steele) and as low as 115th in the nation. That trend continued this week.
Bleacher Report called the Eagles “dead weight” along with South Alabama, Georgia State, Coastal Carolina, and Texas State. Harsh, dude. Goes to show you what can happen to your reputation after just two bad seasons.
On the flipside the bald guy that isn’t Scott Van Pelt had very nice things to say about the Eagles on Sportscenter. He said “Every game is winnable.”
Meanwhile Athlon Sports came out with this year’s version of their annual “Sun Belt Coaches Talk Anonymously” series. Opinion around the conference seems to be unanimous that last year’s debacle was more of a culture issue than a talent issue. Here is what they said.
It’s clear that the culture is different this year. Say what you want about Chad Lunsford, but he definitely brings the sauce. While Summers mumbled through just about every interview he ever did, Lunsford is out here hitting people with folding chairs. It’s a complete 180. We’ll see if this shot of adrenaline translates to success on the field.
As stated earlier, fall camp wraps up tonight with the first scrimmage at 6PM at Paulson, followed by Fan Fest. We should get a better picture of how the position battles are shaking out. Here is the schedule for the rest of fall practice.
Georgia Southern Preseason Football Schedule
Date (Time, Location)
Sat., Aug. 11 (6 PM, Paulson – Scrimmage #1; Fan Fest)
Sun., Aug. 12 (8:15-9:45 AM, Paulson)
Mon., Aug. 13 No Practice
Tues., Aug. 14 (4:30-6:30 PM; Eagle Creek)
Wed., Aug. 15 (4:30-6:30 PM; Eagle Creek)
Thurs., Aug. 16 (4:30-6:30 PM; Eagle Creek)
Fri., Aug. 17 (4:30-6:30 PM, Paulson – Scrimmage #2)
Sat., Aug. 18 (TBD, TBD)
Sun., Aug. 19 (7 PM, Paulson)
Mon., Aug. 20 No Practice
Tues., Aug. 21 (4:30-6:30 PM; Paulson)
Wed., Aug. 22 (4:30-6:30 PM; Paulson)
Thurs., Aug. 23 (4:30-6:30 PM; Paulson)
Fri., Aug. 24 (6-8 PM, Fan Fest to follow, Armstrong Campus – Savannah)
Sat., Aug. 25 (TBD, TBD)