STATESBORO — With their first win of the season under their belt, Georgia Southern football is preparing to travel to take on a Power 5 school in Minnesota this week. Head Coach Chad Lunsford took the podium for the team’s weekly press conference.
Here are some of the highlights:
On what needs to be fixed based on the team’s last performance:
“We have whole segments of practices dedicated to ball security and we’ll over emphasize it this week. We’ve got to clean that up. The other thing is getting into the redzone. We’ve got to make sure to get touchdowns on the board. Defense, I’m very proud of them when you start looking at what they did throughout the game. Unfortunate part, we had talked all year about finishing whole games and for us to give up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter that was disappointing.”
On the positive take-aways from their recent victory:
“There was a lot of adversity in that football game. Our guys never wavered, they continued to go and play, and they went ahead and got the victory. Offensively, 395 yards rushing and three 100-yard rushers and really and truly if we didn’t have the self inflicted wounds we were well over 400. So there’s some positives there, but you know again there’s no such thing as moral victories. We did get a W and that’s what mattered.”
On back-up quarterback Justin Tomlin:
“When you start talking about next man up, that was the true definition of it last week. You know we talk about next man up here all the time, but what it really means is next man up he steps up he’s prepared, and then he exceeds the standard that was set for him. And you know we told him to relax and trust his instincts and you know just go run the offense, but the kid went in and did even better than that. So, excited about JT, we’ll clean up his ball security stuff and we’ll be better fundamentally when he comes to bat.”
On preparing for Minnesota:
“Well anytime you go up against a Power 5 school you know you worry about depth, you worry about them having a little bit more resources than you have and that type of stuff. But when it comes down to it, we’ve had a lot of guys play in Power 5 games. Majority of our team played against Auburn in 2017, obviously playing Clemson in 18 and playing LSU at the start of the season. I don’t really get worried about our guys about the environment, we’ve just gotta go play Georgia Southern football and we’ve yet to do that this season. And if we can go do that, you know anything can happen. Minnesota is a great team with great players. Obviously a bowl team from last year. We’ve got our work cut out for us but we need to go play Georgia Southern football and see what we can do.”
On who to watch for Minnesota:
“The quarterback continues to grow and get better. He’s pretty impressive. The two running backs, those guys they’re real deal. They also have a couple of receivers I think there will definitely be challenges. You know one kid is actually from the state of Georgia. He was a kid that was committed here, and decided to go to Minnesota later. Those guys are dynamic, they make plays. The offensive line, big strong guys that really can hold that football. Great challenge for us.
“Defense you know, several guys. They really play sound defense, they really run to the ball. Aggressive, free safety is really good. There’s a couple linebackers that have really jumped out on tape. One of their defensive ends is definitely people we go to make sure we’re aware of.”
On Shai Werts’ health:
“Well first and foremost, when we make a decision on a kid and it’s about his health and about his safety, If we don’t feel like it’s good for him and his career and his life and his whole outlook we’re not going to play him. If the trainers feel good about him and the kid feels good about him, if Shai on top of things and he’s like ‘yeah I’m ready to play’, we’ll let him play. We’re not going to hinder him from playing if he’s ready to go. We take every game seriously, we’re going to play our best players. If he’s ready we’ll play him. If he’s not, if it’s not safe, we’re not going to. We’re going to be smart, we’re going to be cautious, we’re going to make sure he’s ready to go if we do play him.”
Kaitlin Sells, The George-Anne Managing Sports Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org