Defense shines in Blue and White spring football game

The Eagles’ offense was led by young running backs in the spring game Saturday. 

McClain Baxley

The 2018 Blue and White spring football game was one of the most anticipated spring games in a while for Georgia Southern.

With about 1000 fans in attendance, the Blue team (defense) was victorious over the White team (offense) with a score of 47-38.

The three big takeaways from the afternoon were the emergence of the young run game, the strength of the defensive line and the gap of development between Shai Werts and the other quarterbacks.

Young running backs

With Monteo Garrett and Wesley Fields sitting out for the day with injury and L.A. Rambsy graduating, several redshirt underclassmen had the opportunity to take over.

Jared Daniels led the Eagles in yards with 72 rushing yards on 12 attempts and one touchdown and made it look easy.

Daniels was redshirted this past season, but had no problem finding the holes in the offensive line Saturday.

Another young redshirt was Eric Montgomery who had 48 yards and one touchdown on just four attempts. Montgomery only touched the ball for times, but made the most of his attempts in the first “half” turning a little room into big plays.

While the Eagles should have Garrett and Fields back come September 1, it was nice to see solid production from the inexperienced backfield.

Improved defensive line

Last season, the GS defense only picked up 22 sacks and in Saturday’s game the defense was incredibly quick in attacking the edge and getting to the quarterback.

Led by linebacker Rashad Byrd, the defensive line caused problems for the offensive line all day.

Defensive end Raymond Johnson III was another player who impressed Lunsford not only on Saturday, but throughout spring practices.

“Raymond Johnson is a guy that can be a dude for us in the fall,” head coach Chad Lunsford said.

If the defensive line can stay quick and get in the backfield like they did saturday, then fans can expect more than just 22 sacks in a 12 game season.

King of the quarterbacks

The final big thing in the spring game can be taken two different ways and that was how much better Shai Werts is than the other three quarterbacks.

Last season, Werts gave fans reasons to doubt, especially after four seasons with Kevin Ellison and Favian Upshaw.

Throughout spring, Werts has shown signs of improvement and Saturday he didn’t hold anything back.

“You never want to get complacent,” Werts said. “I’m always looking to get better.”

He was accurate in his throws even if his 50 percent day did not show that as most of his throws were dropped by the receiver. He was quick when he was flushed out of the pocket.

Shai did great which may have made the other quarterbacks look poor.

“We still have a lot to work on and at the end of spring you want to be hitting on everything,” Werts said. “But today I don’t think we did.”

LaBaron Anthony could not throw whatsoever, Jaalon Frazier was so timid in the pocket and last year’s backup Kado Brown was just average.

So either Werts was super good and the others didn’t compare or Werts is decent and the others are really bad. We’ll know more come Sept. 1.

Wes is best

The MVP of the spring game was probably Wes Kennedy III who had eight receptions for 66 yards and returned punts for the Eagles. Kennedy was just a freshman this past season, but has already stepped into a leadership position.

“Myles (Campbell) taught me a lot so just learning from him and having to step up and become a leader,” Kennedy said. “Just have to play with speed and be focused.”

McClain Baxley, The George-Anne Sports Editor,