Georgia Southern’s 2017 football season unofficially kicks off on Saturday for the annual spring football game, and questions abound about how the team will both look and perform moving forward into the summer.
I took to Twitter on Wednesday to ask fans what they will be keeping their eye on most in this weekend’s contest, and the answers were pretty great.
@WatchTheStone How the QB situation unfolds (or doesn't) with the new offensive scheme.— Will Cheney (@CheneyLWOS) March 27, 2017
@WatchTheStone I want our offense back and I want a staff that looks like they know what they are doing in times of crisis.— Ryan Duke (@dukegsu) March 27, 2017
@WatchTheStone Watchability and hopefully the absence of the pure, unadulterated dread that was 2016— Good Tweets Below (@TChitester) March 27, 2017
After last season’s offensive debacle, it is understandable that many around the fan base are wondering about the state of the offense and how the quarterback position will translate.
It’s a strange situation for Eagle fans who have pretty much had an entrenched starter at the QB position heading into a season since Jerick McKinnon, and maybe even as far back as Jaybo Shaw.
We have no idea who will be running which offense moving forward, but personally I hope new offensive coordinator Bryan Cook shows us a sense of what the team is to look like in the fall.
While situational coaching may not be something necessarily utilized in Tyson Summers’ second spring game, it will need vast improvement with the level of talent that left after 2016. If the Eagles want to be competitive this coming season, everyone will have to outplay and out-coach their standing from last year, or it will be another grueling season in Statesboro.
Then the jokes came, and rightfully so.
@WatchTheStone @underdogdynasty blocking from the oline that is better than the blocking ability of our Staff on twitter.— Tim Buffkin (@gseagle08) March 27, 2017
@gseagle08 @WatchTheStone @underdogdynasty don't know if that's possible. Blocking was pretty stout in that category.— GeorgiaSouthernEagle (@GASOUEagle) March 27, 2017
Last season was not just a calamity on the field or on the sidelines, but in the public relations aspect as well. After blowing several winnable games, we were treated to athletic director Tom Kleinlein making his Twitter account private for a long period of time (presumably to deflect criticism) and Summers going on a block spree to both fans and donors on the website.
Judging by Summers answers in a press conference toward the end of the season, Summers was clearly not prepared for the type of backlash that would come from a losing season at GS. I think he underestimated how Eagle fans have come to expect a winner on the field, and with a year under his belt I hope he learns how to communicate in post-game interviews instead of giving canned answers.
If you try to emulate Bill Belichick without the winning pedigree that comes with it, that lack of solid answers just comes off as the coach not being able to identify problems surrounding the team or how to fix them. Even if 2017 is a growing year for a young Southern team, a solid line of communication between the coach and the fan base will go a long way in rebuilding some of the bridges that were burned last season.
@WatchTheStone That "W"— Kevin (@Eagle24_7_365) March 27, 2017
@WatchTheStone Hope.— The Dream (@_Shakeem) March 27, 2017
Here’s a confession of mine: I don’t put a lot of stock into spring games. I think they are a nice cup of water in the football desert that is the spring and summer months, but with a team scrimmaging itself both sides of the ball can look inconsistent as players know their own teammates’ tendencies too well.
But hopefully we see a semblance of the offense we’ve come to know and expect wins from, along with improved play of both lines and in the secondary.
All three units underachieved last season, and Saturday could show some of those strides they have been making in practices.