Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Bilo's 2017 College Football Previews: Georgia Southern Eagles

Georgia Southern Eagles
A 5-7 record for the Eagles is never an acceptable thing, and such was the case last season. Tyson Summers comes into the season on a both of a hot seat, as the only thing that works in this program is winning. The Eagles always do well when they run the football and play effective defense. The problem they had last season is that they allowed just as many points per game as they scored, and that is a major problem that needs to be rectified. Do they have the tools to do so this fall?

What To Be Excited About: Offense
Myles Campbell led the team with 42 receptions last season, and will return to give the Eagles a dependable weapon in the passing game.

Four starters return on the line. Ryan Northrup (LG), Jeremiah Culbreth (C), Curtis Rainey (RG), and Drew Wilson (RT) all return, which will help the run game, which will need some help this fall.

What To Be Concerned About: Offense
The QB situation will need to sort out in fall camp, as the Eagles attempt to replace the departed Kevin Ellison. Seth Shuman played a bit last fall, but was not a successful passer, completing just 47.2% of his pass attempts, while tossing just one TD to three INTs. He carried eight times for 39 yards in limited action. Shai Werts is a solid runner, but his passing game is suspect as well.

The Eagles, who will be returning to a power option run game this fall, will need to find some new backs to carry the load. Wesley Fields and LA Ramsby are slated to start. Ramsby ran for eight scores, while Fields averaged 5.23 yards per carry.

Malik Henry is slated to be the second starting receiver, but caught just two passes last season, as did starting TE Ross Alexander.

The PK position is in a reboot, and sophomore Tyler Bass is slated to win the job.

What To Be Excited About: Defense
Not much. There are several holes to fill, and not much coming back to fill them with. FS Joshua Moon is back after picking up 72 tackles last season, but he is not much in pass defense.

What To Be Concerned About: Defense
There are issues everywhere. The line has some production issues, as DE Logan Hunt and DT Darrius Sapp return after combining for just five TFLs between them last fall. JB Kouassi is expected to start at the open DE spot, while Chris Washington steps in at NT. Depth is a major issue.

Chris DeLaRosa has potential at LB, but must prove that he can stay healthy after missing the final five games of last season. If he can, then this position gets upgraded immediately. The major problem after his health is that he has two new starters flanking him in Jacorey Belvin and Brandon Holley.

CB Jessie Liptrot is back at CB after an underwhelming freshman season. He was in way over his head a year ago. Sean Freeman is projected to start next to him as a junior. Jay Bowdry returns at SS, but again, did not do much as a freshman last fall.

Punter Matt Flynn is back, but averaged just 39 yards per punt last season.

2017 Schedule
9/2 at Auburn, 9/9 New Hampshire, 9/23 at Indiana, 10/4 Arkansas State, 10/14 New Mexico State, 10/21 at U Mass, 10/28 at Troy, 11/4 Georgia State, 11/9 at Appalachian State, 11/18 South Alabama, 11/25 at UL-Lafayette, 12/2 at Coastal Carolina

Final Overview
If Tyson Summers was in trouble after just one season as head coach, nobody is going to like what may happen this season. There just are not enough pieces to fix what ailed the program, and Summers already virtually wiped out his offensive staff after year one. That's not a great start. The one thing that the Eagles do have is a solid offensive line, and that is probably the best place to start for a rebuild, which is basically what this is at this point.

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