Most coaches and football programs have a different preference on how to handle their spring game, and Georgia Southern is no exception.
Last year, Willie Fritz had the team run full speed in a 30-play live session at the annual contest. The rest of the time was spent working on the offense and defense schemes and formations with a mix of starters and subs.
This year, Eagle head coach Tyson Summers will have the team compete in a 100-play live scrimmage. The roster will be split as equally as possible to help create a competitive and evenly matched game.
“We’re gonna play a game,” Summers said. That’s been the theme of our spring, to try and do a better job of creating competition.”
The full playbook hasn’t been installed yet, as both players and coaches are still learning the language and technique on both sides of the ball. The game will be about honing those base formations in a live situation at full speed rather than working on specific schemes and packages.
“We’re not going to try and put anything in particular in for the game,” Summers said. “We’ve tried to take our base offense and our base defense and get those things (installed) in 10 days. It’s not a game plan mentality, or trying to scheme against each other.”
Anytime there are changes in a coaching staff, there will be a learning period where players and coaches will have to adjust. According to Summers, the team’s biggest focus for the spring has been the installation of the new sets, formations and calls. He thinks the team has learned a lot in the 10 practices they’ve had.
“I think our players have done a nice job,” Summers said. “The intent (of this spring) is to get good against what we’re gonna see, what we’re gonna face. We’ve got to do a better job finishing with some things on both sides of the ball, but I think we’ve come a long way.”
Summers and his staff are making a push to get students to the game this Saturday. It will be the first chance for the students to see the Eagles in action in 2016, and he hopes that they will see an energetic and physical game.
“We wanna take care of our players. There’s an awful amount of work that goes into spring practice, and we wanna make it a game-like atmosphere,” Summers said. “When I ask the team what gets them motivated for game day, (the answer) is ‘students.’ The guys like to feel that whenever there’s a big play in the game, it’s the students who created it as much as anything. I hope our students understand what a big part of our program they serve.”
Festivities will begin at 10:30 with the Tailgate Cook-Off. Students can get free pizza and participate in a Q&A with Summers in the North concourse club level, section 106 before the game. Pizza will be served at 11:15.