After the 37-24 loss to Louisiana on Saturday, fans of the Georgia Southern football team are rightfully upset about the 1-3 record.
Compared to last season’s 3-1 start and triumphant 10-3 overall record, the team is on the other side of the spectrum. Many starters have returned but the team has not been able to find a rhythm in the past few weeks.
It has been a whirlwind two months for the team, with the temporary suspension of redshirt-junior starting quarterback Shai Werts and his injury in the second quarter of the season opener, the four game suspension of redshirt-senior running back Wesley Kennedy III due to academics, and the injury of starting offensive lineman Jakob Cooper among other obstacles.
When GS beat Maine at the last home game, things were looking up. Part of the record can be attributed to a tough schedule, but part of it has been chopped up to an inconsistent offense.
“We gotta learn to score in the red zone,” Head Coach Chad Lunsford said. “Score touchdowns, not just field goals.”
Redshirt freshman Justin Tomlin stepped in for Werts for three games and had a successful showing where he passed for 162 yards and ran for 193. Before Thursday’s match against South Alabama, Lunsford said that there was no plan to rotate the two during game time.
Even though the season is off to a rough start, the team has maintained a positive attitude. The upperclassmen on the team are no strangers to adversity. Two years ago, the team was 0-4 at this point.
A common phrase brought up by Lunsford after games seems to be that we “don’t need to press the panic button” on the team because of the slow start. He urges Eagle Nation to bare with the team and continue to encourage them through the lows.
Redshirt-senior kicker Tyler Bass has been the most consistent player on the team this season, and hit a 44-yard field goal against UL to set another school record. He has been named as a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy, given to a collegiate athlete with exemplary academic success and strong football performances.
“This is not the end of the world as far as I’m concerned,” Bass said. “We can still control our destiny…It’s not the situation we want to be in but we’re more comfortable in this situation than other teams.”
GS was predicted to finish third in the Sun Belt eastern division and will soon take on key conference opponents. The team hopes to figure out the issues sooner rather than later with consistency and strategic planning from both the players and coaches alike.
“We’re 1-3 and that’s not good enough,” Lunsford said. “We’re gonna have to coach them harder and coach them better…The worst thing we can do is scrap everything..Let’s continue to build on what we got.”
Amanda Arnold, The George-Anne Sports Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org