Spring Football Practice Begins Monday
STATESBORO, Ga. Georgia Southern University Football kicks off the spring practice season Monday (March 10) at the practice fields. Monday will be the first of 15 scheduled practices.
Head coach Chris Hatcher opens his second year in charge of the Eagles. One of the biggest changes from last spring to this year is the practice times. Hatcher will work his team out mainly in the mornings and no weekends save for the Blue-White game. Coming off a 7-4 season, the second-best turnaround in Eagle Football history and having just missed on a playoffs berth, Hatcher said the players have been enthusiastic during their off-season workouts.
“We’ve had a great attitude. It’s been one of the better off-seasons I have been associated with. Our guys are really eager, they are excited about the upcoming season,” said Hatcher. “And I think they are excited about having the same coaching staff for two years in a row so spirits are very high.”
The Eagles lost several key starters off last year’s team, namely the entire offensive line and 2007 Walter Payton Award winning quarterback Jayson Foster. Also graduating were nearly 25 seniors and juniors. Hatcher enters this spring with specific goals in mind.
“First of all we want to make sure we’re a lot more fundamentally sound. We made way too many mistakes last year to be a championship caliber team. Second of all we need to find out what everyone can do. We are going to play some guys both ways and see where they can help the team the most. We don’t have a plethora of depth, that’s going to come with time with all the coaching changes and scholarship reductions,” stated Hatcher. “We have to make sure we have the best players on the field. We’ll do some experimentation throughout the spring. We have to come out of spring with guys we know we can count on come fall practice, especially at the quarterback position and the offensive line.”
Known for his passing game success in previous years as head coach, Hatcher adapted his system to suit the skills of Foster. The Eagles led the nation in rushing offense, and also ranked eighth nationally in total offense and scoring offense. This spring will give Hatcher and his staff a chance to experiment.
“We always experiment with different things, that’s still kind of up in the air. Offensively we’ll probably throw the ball a little more than we did last year. Defensively we’ll do what our talent allows us to, whether we run a 4-man or a 3-man scheme, or whether we play more zone or blitz a little more. A lot of that will be determined by the type of spring practice we have. We have both packages always available on both sides of the ball, whether we are an option team or whether we are more a throwing team,” said Hatcher. “That’s the best thing about spring, you’re not having to prepare for an opponent. You gotta come out of spring ball knowing what your guys are going to be able to do the best and that’s up to the coaches to find that out. So there will be a lot of experimentation on both sides of the football until we find out what we do the best.
“We have to find some guys that will step up when we put the pads on. That’s one thing we are looking for during spring practice. We lost a lot of good seniors, a lot of good players. Of course we always wish they were back. But we have some good young players,” said Hatcher. “They are going to have to play whether they are ready or not this season. That is what this spring ball is all about, getting those guys more acclimated to the college game.”
When Hatcher was hired in January 2007 he and his staff had little time to prepare not only for signing day but for spring ball as well. This year Hatcher and his staff had a full off-season to take care of recruiting and make preparations for spring.
“We’re light years ahead of the game. We’re actually starting to recruit for next season. We have got a good plan, we all worked together for a year and our players are more comfortable with the way we do things. We are not just flying by the seat of our pants doing things day by day. We are way ahead of the game, and that comes with time. This time next year we will be more ahead than we are this year. After a few years of doing it together at Georgia Southern you can pretty much let it run on auto pilot and everyone knows what is expected of them.”
SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE
(dates/times subject to change... all times at 8 a.m. unless otherwise noted)
Monday, March 10
Tuesday, March 11
Thursday, March 13
Friday, March 14
Tuesday, March 25
Thursday, March 27
Friday, March 28 (2:30 p.m.)
Monday, March 31
Tuesday, April 1
Thursday, April 3
Friday, April 4
Tuesday, April 8
Thursday, April 10
Friday, April 11
Saturday, April 12... Blue-White Game at 1 p.m.
- Category: Football
- Published on Friday, 07 March 2008 00:08