Georgia Southern’s scrimmage on Saturday at Paulson Stadium wasn’t about scoring, it was about filling out the depth chart on the final day of fall camp.
It’s a good thing, too, because nobody found the end zone.
Most of the focus, however, was put on the second- and third-string players looking for a spot on the depth chart.
“Last week it was the opposite,” GSU coach Jeff Monken said of the Eagles’ scrimmage Aug. 10. “Last week, the offense scored a bunch of touchdowns, so sometimes it depends on who’s in there, what group is in there. The ones got 25 or so plays, and it was probably the same with the twos. We just wanted to get them some work.”
One defensive lineman doing a lot of work was former Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jacket Jamal Johnson, a defensive end who redshirted in 2012. Johnson worked with the twos but faced all groups of offense. He hardly noticed who he was going against.
“There’s some difference, because the twos are a little bit smaller than the ones, but other than that, it’s the same tempo, the same speed,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t matter who’s (cut blocking) you. You’re getting cut regardless.”
The scrimmage also was the last chance for the freshmen to show off their abilities before the coaches start to decide who will sit out a year.
“Some of these true freshmen are slugging around and could possibly start at some point this year,” Monken said. “They’ve already climbed the depth chart enough to be a second-team guy, and they’re certainly going to play. It doesn’t matter how much depth there is. When they come in and they’re that ready, we’re going to play them, because they can help us win.”
Monken has been impressed with freshmen from the 2013 signing class on both sides of the ball.
Defensive tackle Jay Ellison, a 6-foot-2, 305-pound freshman from Hamilton, likely has earned some playing time, along with Camden County defensive lineman Rafael Hardee. In the defensive backfield, Darius Jones and Robert Brice have caught the coaches’ eyes.
Offensively, Andy Kwon, a 6-foot-2, 285-pound center from Sewanee, and running back Matthew Breida from Brooksville, Fla., have worked their way onto the depth chart.
The kicking battle remains wide open, with freshmen Younghoe Koo and Matt Flynn “kicking the ball really well,” Monken said. “Those are the guys right now who have found their way up the depth chart.”
Quarterback Jerick McKinnon was limited to fewer than 10 snaps, and fullback Dominique Swope, who had offseason shoulder surgery, did not participate.
Slotback Ezayi Youyoute has been sitting out of practice with a separated shoulder, but is expected to be ready when the season kicks off against Savannah State on Aug. 31 at Paulson Stadium. Freshman quarterback Alfred “LA” Ramsby had knee surgery Thursday and will miss the 2013 season.