On Sunday, it was official: Colorado State defensive coordinator Tyson Summers was named the 10th head coach in the history of Georgia Southern Eagles football. Many Eagle fans prepared themselves for a Brent Pry or a Dell McGee to be named the new ball coach, so what does a defensive-minded coach like Summers bring to the program?
Namely, the 20th-ranked passing defense in all of college football. Colorado State allowed an average of only 186.3 yards per game through the air this season. For reference, the Eagles currently sport the 39th-ranked pass D, with 203.9 yards per game. Those who have watched GS this season may have noticed that in its four losses, the Eagles have allowed an average of 272.5 passing yards and two passing touchdowns per contest. The entire secondary has room for improvement, and it needs to improve quickly with other teams in the Sun Belt realizing Georgia Southern's achilles' heel.
It is here that we come back down to Earth. Colorado State sported both one of the worst run defenses in the country (208.5 yards per game, ranked 106th nationally) and a scoring defense that ranked in the bottom half of teams (27.2 points allowed per game, tied for 66th). I will add the caveat that this was Summers' first and only season as the defensive coordinator for the Rams, so it was not like Summers had much time to put his stamp on this defense before he accepted the Georgia Southern job.
UCF's Dominant Defense
In 2014, Summers was named the UCF defensive coordinator, after two seasons as the linebackers coach. While the offense tried to cope with the loss of quarterback Blake Bortles, the Knights went 9-4, finishing in a three-way tie for the American Athletic Conference championship.
Why am I telling you all this? Because UCF's defense was a downright monster that season. The Knights finished the 2014 season ranked 21st or higher in all of the following categories: Points per game allowed (19.2, tied for 9th), rushing yards allowed per game (104.31, 6th) and passing yards allowed per game (194.2, 21st). In addition, Summers had three defenders named first team all-conference, including AAC co-defensive player of the year, Jacoby Glenn.
Summers has moved around a great deal as a coach, but Georgia Southern has a solid track record with bald, defensive-minded head coaches.