Q&A with new football coordinators DeBesse and Sloan

Offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse is in his first year with the Eagles after spending the past six seasons with New Mexico. 

McClain Baxley

The Blue and White game on Saturday will be the first time on the sidelines in a gamelike situation for a lot of this year’s coaches.

I was able to sit down with the two new coordinators to talk spring ball and their expectations for not only the spring game, but the 2018 Georgia Southern football season.

Offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse

Has there been a quarterback battle between last year’s starter Shai and any of the other guys like Labaron or Kado?

It’s been a battle. If we were to play tomorrow, Shai would start. We made it clear to everybody in the room, not just quarterbacks, but everybody that everything was out in the open and there were no decisions made. At this point, Shai has moved ahead, but there’s a long way to go. He has some natural athleticism. He’s got some burst, he’s got some speed. This offense is predicated on speed and explosiveness and I think he can give us that.

Before spring training, you were adamant about implementing a new, improved option offense. How has that gone and will we be able to see that Saturday?

Not with the discipline, precision and the consistency that I would like to see. There’s a lot of moving parts right now. We’re still trying to identify who might be a part of the unit. As far as scheme is concerned, we’re improving on an upward trend. The triple option will be the bread and butter of who we are.

What has surprised you the most in working with the offense for the first time?

These guys are workers. They embrace the grind.

There’s a lot of talent at the wide receiver position both with guys returning and with new freshman. Will there be more of a focus in the passing game because of this?

We’ll do whatever it takes to win. Every year when they look at the final stats, the triple option teams are always in the top 10 in average per catch and explosiveness, so we have to have that. But I want to have a quick game too. We have to be as proficient when we want to throw it as we are when we want to run it and that’s one of the challenges of this offense.

Defensive coordinator Scot Sloan

What has surprised you most in working with the defense this spring?

I knew there were talented players with fast guys that played with a physical brand. That’s been a huge point for us this spring is playing fast and being relentless and creating turnovers.

Who has improved the most on the line since you first got here?

Several of them have had really really good springs, but as far as individual players Raymond Johnson has had a phenomenal spring. I’m really excited about him. Ian Bush and Quan Griffin have done really well adapting to the scheme. Their body types fit the scheme really well because it’s built on lateral movement.

The secondary was one of the weaker parts of the defense and team last season. What have you done to help improve this?

We’ve really tried to train their eyes well, from a secondary standpoint. We use the term “dirty eyes.” Don’t have dirty eyes looking at something you aren’t supposed to look at which usually is what gets you in trouble.

Any key players in the secondary that you’ve focused on?

All of them have made some strides. We are using a little more zone principles than main principles so it’s been a learning curve for all of them.

What can fans expect to see in the spring game on Saturday?

They’ll see guys playing fast and really chasing the ball. 11 guys straining themselves to get to the ball. We’ve been really preaching turnovers, so hopefully getting some strips and getting the ball on the ground. If a fan shows up to see us a play or an opponent is scouting us, that our identity is that we play extremely fast, we play a very physical brand of football and that we play smart, not beating ourselves.

McClain Baxley, The George-Anne Sports Editor, [email protected]