What Chad Lunsford said about the bowl game in Sunday’s press conference

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  • In his first full season as head coach of the Georgia Southern Eagles, Chad Lunsford has led the team to a bowl game. 

McClain Baxley

Georgia Southern’s bowl destination and opponent was finally confirmed Sunday—Camellia bowl against Eastern Michigan. Just minutes after learning the details of his program’s second bowl appearance, head coach Chad Lunsford faced the media to talk the Eagles’ opponent, recruiting and more.

Here are the highlights from what Lunsford said:

Opening statement

“First off, very excited about this opportunity for Georgia Southern and our football team to be able to go to the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl down in Montgomery, Alabama. We’re very excited about that. This opportunity is something we don’t take lightly. Being able to do it in 2015 and go to Mobile that was something that was very special for Georgia Southern. Two years of not being able to go, we’re excited about a great opponent in Eastern Michigan. Just excited that we’re able to go down and show what Georgia Southern football is about.”

What do you know about Eastern Michigan?

“What’s really impressive is that they’ve won their last three games, actually they’ve won five of their last six. One of those losses coming to a Top 25 team in Army. Then also they’ve beaten Purdue who beat Ohio State, so obviously a really good opponent a really good football team.”

How much easier is it recruiting this year with a staff in place and a bowl game to point at?

“Recruiting is obviously different for us this year because we did have a staff in place. We’ve been able to get out and do a lot more leg work and book work to get guys on campus. I think things are coming along pretty good in that situation in that we’re getting guys that fit our schemes and fit what we want to do with the Georgia Southern man here at Georgia Southern. Obviously, winning, getting some wins this year, having a good season, that’s been very important because it’s gotten recruits excited about us. Being able to go down to a bowl, being able to be on TV, I think that’s very big for us when it comes to recruiting.”

What did you learn from the first bowl that can help this time around?

“This time, we have some players that made that trip and I think that helps the young guys that haven’t been there before. Our guys are a tight knit group and they really listen to each other and the leaders of this team do a really good job with them. I think that’s an advantage. Having the opportunity to go earlier, that allows me to change some things up that didn’t work out when we went down there.”

How vital was it to give guys rest this week with no game?

“I think it was really big because we had a bye week early. It was a long stretch, a long run and the guys did a really good job with that. That week was much needed. We did get a couple practices in, but it also allowed them to focus in on their academics and be able to finish this week with finals. I think it was a plus, but we have to get back into a routine to get done what we need to get done.”

How big of an advantage is it to have a lot of fans at the game?

“Lots of times we talked about the “Power of Paulson” and our ability to play at home. We struggled a little bit on the road and towards the end of the season, we quit talking about the “Power of Paulson” and more about the “Power of Eagle Nation.” Coastal we had a great crowd show up and then at Georgia State we had an unbelievable crowd show up in Atlanta and really take over. We were able to really feed off that energy. Us being in Montgomery, an hour and half from Atlanta, really easy for our alumni base and our fans to make it out there. We’re expecting a big crowd and feed off of it.”

How much hunger does the team have for this game?

“I think that’s something that our guys have been really good about all offseason and all season is trying to stay hungry. They had something to prove coming off of last year and they better be really hungry. Anytime you have an opportunity to finish your season, you want to finish it on a high note. If you don’t, you’re going to have to go back to the drawing board. You’re only as good as your last game so I know the guys are really fired up about this.”

McClain Baxley, The George-Anne Sports Editor, gasports@georgiasouthern.edu