Spring Football Practice Begins Monday
STATESBORO, Ga. The Georgia Southern Football team returns to the practice fields on Monday (March 2) as the Eagles officially begin spring drills. Monday will be the first of 15 scheduled sessions, capped by the annual Blue-White game on Saturday, April 4.
The team will practice from 7:45-10 a.m. save for the 1 p.m. kickoff on April 4.
As head coach Chris Hatcher enters his third spring practice, he has been pleased with the off-season workouts.
“Our off-season has been really good. I’ve been really pleased with all the effort from the players and staff. Our attitude is great and I think it’s really been an eye-opening experience for all the freshmen that came in and played last year, and now getting their first taste of what a college off-season is all about.
The Eagles return 48 letterwinners, including: seven starters on offense, seven on defense and three on special teams. However, like last year the 2009 Eagles will be made up of predominantly freshmen and sophomores. That was evident last year as seven Eagles were named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman Team. The team’s youth will not change how Hatcher and his staff will approach this spring.
“We are a very young team, but we’ll still coach them up as hard as we can and expect a lot out of them. A lot of these guys would have benefitted from having a spring (season) under their belt going into last year, but that was not a luxury afforded to us,” said Hatcher. “Three-quarters of our team will be freshmen and sophomores. So again, a lot of our team will not be here this spring and as far as making sure you have those guys in the right positions will be very difficult. Hopefully we’ll break that cycle after this upcoming freshmen class enrolls in August.”
Hatcher said three players will be out this spring due to injuries. Sophomore offensive lineman William Maxwell will be out while senior defensive end Kerry Bonds and freshman Brent Russell, who played in the season-opener before suffering a season-ending knee injury, could see very limited action. Hatcher also noted Chris Ashkouti has been deemed medically disqualified and will miss the year.
“(William) Maxwell has been getting better, but I would expect all three of them to see little to no action during spring practice. They have been working hard and we expect them by summer to be at full strength,” noted Hatcher. “(Chris) Teal and (Adam) Urbano will be at full go.”
Heading into spring drills Hatcher stated that sophomore Lee Chapple, who finished the 2008 season as the starter, remains number one with junior Kyle Collins the back-up.
“Lee is the clear cut number one and Kyle will be his back-up. We’ll see what Billy Lowe is capable of doing coming off his injury. Those will be the guys that are battling primarily during the course of spring,” said Hatcher. “Lee is a great leader. He was ready to go last season, we just went in a different direction with Antonio Henton in a couple of games. Lee really caught his groove, got hurt then came back at the end of the year and had a great game at Furman. It’s always a wide-open battle in the spring but he’s going to be tough to beat.”
Two of the biggest areas Georgia Southern needs to fill are at wide receiver and along the defensive line, losing three starters each.
“There are more unknowns there (wide receiver) than any other position. We moved Leander Barney out to wide receiver, hopefully he can do it for us. We moved Chris Rogers from defense back to play Tim Camp’s position and he looked really good in preseason drills. We’re really high on Jonathan Bryant, who we gray-shirted out of Cairo,” said Hatcher. “Towards the latter part of the season Garryon Taylor made some big catches for us. He and Rogers are the lone seniors (at WR), hopefully they’ll be able to make some headway. One guy we think has great talent is Nick Kyles. He looked good on the scout team last year, so hopefully he’ll have a good spring and can provide us with some play makers out wide.
“Defensive line is the position that will make or break you. Roderick Tinsley came on throughout the season and he’s going to be relied on heavily. Brent Russell and Kerry Bonds both battled injury, so what they do in the spring will be limited but both of those guys are projected starters along with Markeith Wylie,” stated Hatcher. “We got him out of GMC last year and he played sparingly for us. We need him to really come along. There are other names that you’ve never heard of that we are going to throw out there and see what they can do.”
2009 Spring Practice Schedule
Monday, March 2
Tuesday, March 3
Thursday, March 5
Friday, March 6
Monday, March 9
Tuesday, March 10
Thursday, March 12
Friday, March 13
Tuesday, March 24
Thursday, March 26
Friday, March 27
Tuesday, March 31
Thursday, April 2
Friday, April 3
Saturday, April 4 Annual Blue-White Game, 1 p.m.
- Category: Football
- Published on Friday, 27 February 2009 00:11