Eagles Use Spring to Develop Veteran Depth
STATESBORO, Ga. - With 10 practices now in the books, three practices and two scrimmages remain before Georgia Southern Football wraps up spring 2011. After Georgia Southern battled through last fall with injuries and having to play true freshmen and several inexperienced players, one of the priorities for this spring was to develop depth -- experienced depth -- at all positions. When injuries prevented several Eagles from participating in spring ball, the silver lining was that other players would get more reps.
Building that experienced depth is paramount for Georgia Southern, not only to run efficient and productive practices, but also for players to learn before having to execute in a critical situation.
"You find yourself, like we did a year ago, starting true freshmen in some very important positions," said Eagles Head Coach Jeff Monken. "That is a lot to ask of a true freshman. We were just really down (with injuries). So it is important to develop some depth, develop some veteran depth, guys who are older and who have played, and (then) those young guys can come up behind them."
The Eagles started 11 different true freshmen at various times during the regular season and the playoff run to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision semifinals a year ago. What could hardly be described as an ideal situation at the time provided those players with game experience that benefits the Eagles now. Those trials by fire and extra playoff practices helped and with more maturity, both in terms of the physical and mental aspects of the game, it can only get better.
"You would like to not to have to play true freshmen," Monken said. "The game is a lot faster and a lot more violent and you want them to be physically ready. Some of them are physically ready, but along with that, they have to be mentally ready and know their assignments. It's a real challenge to play those young guys. This helps. It helps to get these young guys some reps and they will be ready to at least get in the game and keep the game going if they are not the starters next year."
The effort and competition level on the practice fields provides Monken with a good indication of how his team continues to improve. So far, the Eagles are practicing and playing to the expectations of the coaching staff.
"I hope the people who watch our spring game, who watch our practice and who watch our games on Saturday afternoons will always say 'I've never seen a team play harder than that team," Monken said. "When the ball is snapped in the spring game, you'll see 22 guys playing as fast as they can play and they won't stop until the whistle blows. That is our expectation and that is the standard we set for these guys and it's hard to do. You don't just get that by telling them that. You really have to be demanding and have to coach it and encourage it, and we do. I am pleased with our effort. I think our guys do play hard in practice. We are going to need to continue to do that if we have a chance."
ROSTER TRANSACTION: Freshman fullback Aaron Fisher (Tulsa, Okla.) decided to leave the team Wednesday.
SPRING FOOTBALL PRACTICE SCHEDULE
Practices are open to the public but any filming, recording or photography is limited to members of the media only.
2011 SPRING PRACTICE DATES
Friday, April 8
Saturday, April 9 (scrimmage - Paulson Stadium)
Tuesday, April 12
Thursday, April 14
Friday, April 15 (Spring Game - Paulson Stadium), 7 p.m.
KISS-A-PIG "PORKER" RUN SET FOR SATURDAY
A"Porker" Run to benefit the Kiss-a-Pig campaign for the Bulloch County team of Bubba Hunt and Eagles Head Coach Jeff Monken rolls out Saturday, April 9th from Sinkhole Customs at 11 a.m. The last bike will finish at 2 p.m. at Locos Grill & Pub in Statesboro. All proceeds will go to raising awareness and promoting research for diabetes through the American Diabetes Association's annual Kiss-A-Pig campaign. This event is sponsored by J'dore Bridal and Formal Wear and the Sugarland Candy Shoppe.
Individuals may sign up from 10-11 a.m. Saturday morning at Sinkhole Customs at 9433 US Highway 301 South in Statesboro. Registration is $20 for first hand and $5 for each additional hand. Prizes include $200 for best hand, $50 for second best hand, and $50 for worst hand. The first 100 paid participants will receive a free T-shirt.
The Kiss-a-Pig fundraising effort pays homage to the pig as insulin was originally derived from the pancreas of the animal. The life-saving and life-sustaining discovery of insulin in 1921 has provided effective treatment for millions of diabetics who are insulin dependent.
Contributions are accepted through the area website at www.diabetes.org/SavannahKAP or by calling 912-353-8110, ext. 3091 or 3093, with the designation to the Bulloch County team of Hunt and Monken. When donations are received by the Bulloch County team, the names of the contributors will be posted on the website's honor roll list.
All funds raised during the Kiss-a-Pig campaign benefit the American Diabetes Association, the nation's leading organization dedicated to curing diabetes and improving the lives of all people affected by diabetes. Diabetes is the nation's fifth deadliest disease, killing more than 220,000 Americans each year. It is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke, adult blindness, kidney failure and non-traumatic amputations.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
The annual Blue-White game will be held on Friday, April 15th at 7 p.m. as the final scrimmage of the spring. Admission is free. Special events leading up to the game include a tailgate in support of the ADA "Kiss a Pig" fundraising campaign for the Statesboro/Bulloch County team of Bubba Hunt and Coach Monken, a Little Eagles Football Skills Clinic from 5-6 p.m. and the Blue-White Eagle Rally immediately following the clinic.
EFFA REVERSE RAFFLE & AUCTION
The fourth annual Eagle Football Assistance Association (EFAA) Reverse Raffle and Auction is scheduled for Saturday, April 16th, the night after the Blue-White Spring Game. The evening of great live entertainment, food and opportunity to spend time with the Georgia Southern Football coaching staff and former Eagle players also features the opportunity to win $10,000.
The social hour, ticket check-in and silent auction begins at 6 p.m. at the Gene Bishop Field House. Items for the silent auction include Georgia Southern game day experiences, memorabilia, a round of golf with former Eagle football legends and other packages.
Reverse Raffle tickets can be purchased from the Georgia Southern Athletic Foundation for $100 each and each ticket covers food, beverages for the ticket purchaser and a guest. Reverse Raffle ticket purchasers need not be present at the event to win the grand prize.
Created to assist former Eagles in need of financial help, the EFAA invites all former football players, coaches and athletics staff to support the association through annual membership and fundraising efforts. Proceeds from the Reverse Raffle event benefit perennial EFAA projects including the Erk Russell Memorial Scholarship, the Eagle Fund, the GSU Athletic Foundation and Georgia Southern Football.
For more information about the event or to purchase tickets for the Reverse Raffle, contact the Georgia Southern University Athletic Foundation at (912) 478-5520.
- Category: Football
- Published on Thursday, 07 April 2011 22:37