It’s been a hell of a roller coaster since GS made the move up to FBS. Including interims, the team is now on its fifth head coach since the 2013 win over Florida, and that number will grow to six unless longtime assistant Chad Lunsford turns out something truly special over the next six weeks.
At Georgia Southern though, it’s never just “who’s gonna be the next coach?” Instead the question is, “will the next coach run the triple option?”
If you’re reading this I’m assuming you know the backstory, which is that all of the Eagles’ considerable success has come running some version of a run-heavy option attack. Like, all of it.
Nonetheless, every single time something bad happens in Statesboro, people emerge to blame the Option.
Georgia Southern’s problem is the fan base is so married to the triple option, and that inherently limits your pool. Tough spot.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) October 22, 2017
This is a ludicrous statement. Summers was not a triple option coach, had no previous experience with the offense and hired non-option coordinators until having his hand forced. Let’s repeat that: Summers was not a triple option coach. It makes zero sense to blame his failure on an offense he didn’t run and knew nothing about.
Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, why should we run the option? Glad you asked.
Another contradiction in Wolken’s tweet is that his premise works both ways. It limits your “pool” (although you’re only hiring one person) but also limits the number of schools willing to hire your coach away. Georgia Tech may very well have lost Paul Johnson after winning the Orange Bowl a few years back if he ran some more PR-friendly scheme.
Granted, that hasn’t stopped the revolving door for successful Southern coaches of late, but it can’t hurt.
I’ve been hearing for at least the last 15 years the option is outdated, and yet as I write this Army is 6-2, Navy is 5-2 and Georgia Tech is 4-2. Somebody needs to tell them they’re not allowed to win with those old-school schemes.
The biggest reason of all to hire an option coach is identity. The Triple Option IS Georgia Southern’s identity, known across the country among discerning college football fans. At this level of football you need to have something to hang your hat on or risk becoming part of the interchangeable list of random mid-majors. There’s no good reason to trade in that history and tradition.
Beyond that, the option provides real, major advantages in recruiting. You don’t need to compete with Georgia, Auburn, South Carolina or any other of the nearby big-timers for talent, since the option requires shorter, smaller, faster players from the offensive line all the way to the quarterback.
If you’re still not convinced, I’ve got one sentence guaranteed to change your mind: The last two Georgia Southern coaches to turn away from the option were Summers and He Who Shall Not Be Named.