The Georgia Southern Eagles on Saturday spent the last scrimmage of fall camp at Paulson Stadium simulating gameday scenarios — crowd noise pumped over the speaker system included — and left the hundreds of fans in attendance, the coaching staff and the players feeling pretty good overall.
“We’re as ready as we can get,” senior linebacker Edwin Jackson said. “We’re excited, we’re anxious, and every day we’re doing the things we need to do to get started. We emphasize a championship effort.”
Most of the snaps from the scrimmage went to first- and second-team players, and the team worked on a two-minute drill, overtime, a four-minute clock-eating scenario and regular, in-game scenarios, too.
Alex Hanks and Younghoe Koo each made a field goal, and the offense and defensive sides were mostly penalty free.
“It was a pretty clean ballgame,” head coach Willie Fritz said.
Offensive coordinator Doug Ruse got a different look at the team as it scrimmaged.
“We did a decent job of throwing and catching, and there were some receivers running open, especially off the play action, so that was encouraging,” he said. “It was my first time up there in the press box in a while. When you’re used to watching from the sideline, it all looks slow. I’m hoping when we watch on film it all looks fast.”
Ruse liked what he saw from No. 1 quarterback Kevin Ellison and No. 2 Favian Upshaw.
“They’re about where I hoped they would be,” he said, “but we’re not game ready by any means.”
QB platoon a possibility
Ellison’s command of the offense and his experience have him as the clear-cut starter when the Eagles open the season Aug. 30 at North Carolina State in Raleigh, but Upshaw’s running ability and even Ezayi Youyoute’s skill set have Fritz considering the possibility of using multiple quarterbacks.
“I’ve done it a lot of different ways,” said Fritz, who has 21 years of experience as a head coach. “I’ve rotated quarterbacks every play. I’ve rotated quarterbacks every series. I’ve had the second-team quarterback maybe play the first series of the second quarter and the fourth quarter just to get him experience. And I’ve just played one the whole time. I have to talk to coach Ruse and we’ll figure out exactly how we want to approach it.”
It’s the kind of decision that really can’t be made until game time.
“We’ve thought about (using two quarterbacks),” Fritz said. “We definitely want to have an opportunity to play them both. It’s something we’ll talk about the next couple of weeks. …
“Ellison’s our starter. He’s been our starter since we took over and I like what I see out of him. He’s done a really nice job, and I feel good about (Ellison and Upshaw). Ezayi isn’t getting as many reps as those two guys, and it’s hard to get work for three guys, but we have confidence in him as well.”