The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Georgia Southern Eagles.
No. 113: Georgia Southern Eagles
Spring Practice Starts: March 8
Spring Game: April 14
Georgia Southern Spring Status
After a brutally disappointing start to last season, the Eagles turned it on over the second half of the season under Chad Lunsford, who took over late in the process.
All of a sudden, the option offense started to work, rolling up South Alabama 52-0 winning two of the last three games. And now there’s hope for a big bounceback year overall, with almost all the parts back on offense – especially up front – and with just about everyone returning on defense.
It’s a program just a few years removed from going to a bowl game, and was close in 2016. A few tweaks should turn this into one of the Sun Belt’s biggest players again.
Georgia Southern Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Punter. The Eagles have to find a new option at weakside linebacker for second-leading tackler Chris DeLaRosa, but there are options to try out. The punting game was among the worst in the country in net yards, but Matt Flynn wasn’t too bad – it was more about the coverage team – averaging over 40 yards per punt.
Either August Bowers or Magill Bauerle have to take over so placekicker Tyler Bass – a good one – doesn’t have to deal with the punting duties.
Georgia Southern Biggest Issue
Third down conversions. It all ties together. The option offense has to move the chains, and it has to control the clock to keep the defense off the field and control the game throughout. The Eagles were dominant on third downs in FBS play over a three-year stretch – converting well over 40% of their tries – but they struggled last year.
Things picked up over the second half of the year, but overall, the offense converted just 35% of their tries. They have to keep the chains moving for this to work.
Georgia Southern Biggest Positive
The rushing attack. Yeah, it’s what they do, but the Eagles should really rock again with all five starters returning on the offensive line and with five of the top six rushers back. Of course, in this offense, the quarterbacks count in that, but Shai Werts should be ready to roll after taking his lumps in a rough freshman season.
Really, Why Are The Georgia Southern Ranked Here?
Just how much of a difference will Lunsford make now that he’s had a full year to work? He’s got the O line, he’s got the backfield, and he’s got nine returning starters on defense. Everything is in place to turn this whole thing around in a big hurry, but now the rushing game has to revert back to its pre-2017 form.