Give this man the job.
Well, not yet, but soon: If Chad Lunsford wins next week against Coastal Carolina, he should become the next Georgia Southern Eagles head football coach. That’s all there is to it.
For all the talk about schemes and scholarships, and disregarding the obvious fact that they don’t play the game, college football is about the men on the sidelines. Head coaches make or break players, teams and programs.
Football remains a pretty simple game. It’s about remaining focused and, when the players all reside barely one step into adulthood, motivated. Erk Russell was a master motivator. I think Lunsford isn’t bad at it either:
There’s really no logic to describe how one man comes in and turns a losing program into a winner. Alabama was garbage for 15 years before Nick Saban showed up. Why?
I went on a Louisiana radio station ahead of the Cajuns game and was asked several questions on why Georgia Southern started playing better the last few weeks.
Was the offense simplified? Is the line playing better? Did quarterback Shai Werts start maturing with experience? Is the defense lining up differently?
I didn’t really have good answers for those. All I know is somebody else took over and all of a sudden this looks like a completely different football team. It worked for Dabo Swinney and Clemson. Maybe it can work here too.
Lunsford is showy and engaging the way you’d expect of a recruiting coordinator. The “Show up, show out” statement at his opening press conference already is the stuff of local legend. He made up his own cheer and paraded it around Greek row before his very first home game.
Who does that?
Even the pictures of Lunsford are awesome. I had to choose from like six more just like the one up top showing him absolutely fired up. Lunsford has been here through multiple coaching staffs, clearly loves Georgia Southern and clearly wants the job.
The question is can he get it done on the field. Energy and salesmanship are not the same thing as being the kind of organized leader who wins in college football. So far, Lunsford is passing that test with flying (Eagle) colors.
To recap: Georgia Southern began the 2017 season 0-6, capped off by a 55-20 blowout at the hands of 0-6 UMass.
That was it for Tyson Summers.
Lunsford took over and fell to a great Troy team 38-16 in his first game. Here’s what I wrote afterward:
Lunsford brings a ton of energy and swagger to the role and his loyalty to Georgia Southern is undoubtable, but getting the top gig on a full-time basis will be tough. Maybe winning four of the last five will be enough, or taking the last three in a row in resounding fashion.
He very nearly got that opportunity for four out of five. Should have really. If not for two fourth-quarter fumbles Georgia Southern would have notched a key victory over Georgia State AKA New Furman. OK, didn’t happen.
Boone was Boone, but even there GS hung close with Appalachian State until the fourth quarter.
Then the floodgates busted. Georgia Southern handed South Alabama a 52-0 embarrassment of a loss. It was so bad, USA coach Joey Jones promptly resigned afterward.
Then Saturday happened. Georgia Southern took on a consistently strong ULL team, on the road, and flew back home with a 34-24 victory. Before Lunsford took over the offense hadn’t scored more than 27 points all season, now they’ve done it two weeks in a row. He doesn’t seem to have a problem running the option either.
The defense wasn’t quite as strong this time around, but did what it had to in the end by forcing a turnover on downs and a Joshua Moon interception on Lafayette’s last two drives. This is the same unit that looked completely lost the first half of the season.
I know what some folks are thinking. This is too fast, too short of an audition. Chad Lunsford has never been a head coach before. We’ve seen teams turned over to popular assistants before and it doesn’t usually go well.
Those are all valid points. But, if Georgia Southern does take the last three in a row in resounding fashion, which it’s one win from doing, you just have to let this man try it full time.