Helton speaks for first time since hire

DJ Cadden, Sports Editor

On Thursday, Clay Helton held his first press conference as the head football coach at Georgia Southern University.

“There were so many things that excited me about this opportunity,” said Helton. “The good lord looked after me and said, ‘Coach, you get the opportunity to be in a special place with special people.’”

After spending 12 years in Los Angeles with the USC Trojans, Helton—a Florida native—returned to the southeast for the first time since the early days of his coaching career.

“To be back in an area which I called home for a long time is very special to me and my family and we’re so excited about it,” said Helton. “I can’t tell you the number of people that have reached out to me and said, ‘Coach, you are going to absolutely love Statesboro.’”

It was not very long before the press conference shifted to what everyone wanted to hear about: football.

One of the biggest question marks surrounding the hire was around the offensive philosophy.

Georgia Southern has a run a form of the option offense for virtually forever, however, Helton does not come to Statesboro with an option background.

“When looking at it, we discussed having the opportunity to take our personnel and to fit our personnel with what we want to do,” said Helton. “I don’t think anytime you come into a place you say, “Oh, we’re going to run this system.’”

“Obviously, we have a physical run game here with some talented backs, a really nasty offensive line and I’ll be honest with you, the quarterbacks that are here—Justin and Cam—are talented throwing the ball down the field,” continued Helton.

“It’s okay to run the ball extremely physically and then throw it over everyone’s head,” Helton elaborated. “That creates explosiveness. So, make the defense decide what they want to do”

Later in the afternoon, while on the Georgia Southern Sports Network’s weekly coaches show, Helton alluded to the fact that the Eagles will more than likely run a 60/40 run-pass attack offensively.

Helton also mentioned multiple times how excited he was to recruit within the football-rich state of Georgia.

“I can draw a 250 mile circle around this town and there are special people that are willing to help, but special players that love to be a part of this university,” said Helton. “We’ll recruit the best student-athletes that help us win championships.”

“This is an easy sell, when you talk about Georgia Southern,” Helton continued. “Like I said, it’s a proven commodity. It’s won championships, it’s been at the highest of highs.”