Monday, March 28, 2011

Georgia Southern Eagles 2010 Review

2010 Record: 10-5 (5-3), Tied 3rd Southern
2010 Postseason: FCS Semi-Finals, Lost to Delaware 27-10
2010 Schedule/Results: Savannah State, W 48-3, @ Navy, L 13-7, @ Coastal Carolina, W 43-26, Elon, W 38-21, Wofford, L 33-31, @ Chattanooga, L 35-27, @ Citadel, W 20-0, Samford, L 20-13, Appalachian State, W 21-14, @ Western Carolina, W 28-6, @ Furman, W 32-28, South Carolina State, W 41-16, @ William & Mary, W 31-15, @ Wofford, W 23-20, @ Delaware, L 27-10


     The Eagles were sitting there at the end of October with a 4-4 record. I was being asked by some very hardcore Eagle fans about what I thought of the Eagles and their playoff chances. I had to pull a Jim Mora on them at the time. Playoffs? You wanna talk about playoffs? You'll be lucky to break .500 with games coming up against App. State and Furman. You wanna talk about playoffs? The Eagles went on a 3 game tear after that to finish at 7-4. If GSU had been in most conferences, that would not have been enough to break through. I still argue, even after the Eagles made it to the semis before falling to Delaware, that maybe Jacksonville would have been a better selection at 10-1. Membership in the SoCon has its uses, and GSU made the league proud, avenging an in-season loss to Wofford in the process.
     GSU has had some very good QBs passing through Statesboro in years past, dating all the way back to Tracy Ham. Jaybo Shaw did his best to mimic those past successes, and at times, he did his predecesors proud. Shaw rushed for 16 TDs on the season, but only averaged 1.5 yards per carry on the season, and errors made cost the Eagles a shot at upsetting Navy earlier in the season. Shaw did pass for 1233 yards as well, but his 5/5 TD to pick ratio was not great. Shaw did, however, find ways to win games when it mattered, in the second half of the season.
      Robert Brown was the leading rusher despite missing two games in 2010, as he rushed for 989 yards during the season. He also collected 7 TDs while averaging a very good 4.6 yards per carry. JJ Wilcox, Darreion Robinson, and Jerick McKinnon were all highly productive when called on. They combined for a line of 255-1349-12. Brown, who I spoke of seperately from the group, carried the ball 213 times all by himself.
     Wilcox was the leading receiver for the Eagles, as he caught 22 passes for 551 yards as the primary receiver in the option offense that GSU has run since the begginning of time. Nobody else on the team registered 20 receptions due to the ground game nature of the offense.
     The Eagles were insane on defense. They only allowed 159.9 yards passing and 127 yards rushing per game. They held 10 teams to 21 points or less, including a 13 point effort against FBS Navy.
     Derek Heyden, a DB, was the leading tackler with 98 on the season. Not ususally comfortable with a DB leading my team in tackles, but in this case, the Eagles were so good defensively that it enabled them to play up tight to the line, including the DBs, and this was the result. DL Brent Russell had a very nice season up front, as he finished with 71 tackles.
     Russell's specialty was getting into the backfield. He finished 4th in the SoCon with 21 TFLs on the year. He was joined in the backfield by fellow D lineman Roderick Tinsley, who totalled up 17 TFLs on the season. Sophomore LB Josh Rowe added to the fun with 11 TFLs on the season. Russell also led the team with 9 sacks on the season.
     Laron Scott led the SoCon in total passes defended with 10 on the season, which put him amongst the national leaders in the FCS. Heyden had a very good effort with 5 on the season. Scott also had 6 picks on the season, and he returned one of those picks to the house for a score.
     Adrian Mora was incredible at PK for the Eagles. Mora hit 19 of his 21 FGs on the year, and those 19 hits led the conference. mora is a key piece that will be returning in 2011. Punter Charlie Edwards led the conference in punters, as he averaged 41.04 yards per punt on 56 kicks for the season. He too will return in 2011 to give the Eagles one of the more complete secial teams units in the nation.


The Eagles snuck their way in to the playoffs in 2010, but they made the most of their trip by making it to the final 4 before bowing out to power house Delaware. GSU is one of the more recognizable names in FCS football, and nothing has changed about that. They are still as competitive as ever, and this season was no different. My only critique overall is that the Eagles need someone to become a major playmaker on the offensive side of the ball, someone that they can focus the offense through other than Shaw. If they can find that big play specialist, they may be a surprise conference title holder, as they already proved in 2010 that they have what it takes to defeat App. State.

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