Q&A with Tyson Summers

Robert George

Q: Recruiting season just finished up. What can you say about the class and how that process was?

A: I think the big thing that stands out is how our assistant coaches and our staff did. We had three and a half weeks to try and get together a class. We feel good about the players coming in. Not just as football players, but as students and as people too. And that was two of the top criteria: the type of students they were and the kind of people that they are. We felt like we were able to hit those goals and those needs and then hit the position areas that we need. I thought our assistant coaches did an excellent job and our staff of putting together what a lot of people believe is the top one in the Sun Belt Conference.

Q: Coach Lunsford was named Sun Belt Recruiter of the Year. How important was he to the process?

A: Well Coach Lunsford has been vital to the transition in all aspects, not just recruiting, but he certainly was a big part of that. But again, I think with the job we were able to do in recruiting, I think you’ll look and see that it was our entire staff that was able to do it. I don’t think that any one person stood out more than anybody else. It’s an awesome thing for our staff and for Chad to get the recognition that he so much deserves. But I think it’s a good example of what everybody was able to do with the amount of time that we had.

Q: You’ve mentioned meeting the players. Have you gotten a chance to get to know the guys coming back and what’s their reaction been to the new staff?

A: We have gotten a chance. We’ve gotten to spend 4 or 5 different opportunities with some of the agilities that we’re doing. We’ve started our Character Ed meetings on Wednesday, those things have helped. So I certainly think we’re building towards that. But like anything else, relationships are individual-based. So we’re trying to build as many good relationships as we can with each individual kid.

Q: You described this as a dream job. What does that mean to you?

A: I think the big thing is, for me, and the things that are important is my family. And having an opportunity to have grown up in South Georgia. My wife grew up in South Georgia as well. That’s really how we wanted to raise our three sons. We have three little boys: Jake, Walker and Anderson and my wife Beth. And we wanted to be back here. We certainly felt like this was a fantastic institution with great leadership in our athletic department and in our university as well. Being able to come back here to a place where football is important and where culture is important. Those things are important to us. That’s why this all fit for me.

Q: Do you have thoughts about playing on a turf field and is the team going to be practicing on a turf field?

A: I think the big thing you’re always looking for is safety. Any decision you’re making as a head coach or in a leadership position is what’s gonna be best for our players. And safety is first and foremost with any of those things. Obviously we feel like one of the things that can help us certainly are the ideas that when there is rain or is moisture that the turf can protect us with that and protect the grass fields that we have. We certainly don’t want to take away from the culture and the background and the history that we have with Eagle Creek, but we certainly feel like having the turf will give us a better chance on those days to use this and it will be advantageous for us.

Q: You’ve said that the offense will look similar to how’s it been. What about Georgia Southern’s option offense is so hard to defend?

A: I think the option is certainly a big part of it, but it’s really more of what the option brings you. It’s the mentality, the toughness and the focus that it brings. It is a little bit of a different type of offense than what you see week-in and week-out for defenses so obviously trying to get prepared for it makes it more difficult. You know, I think it’s all the intangibles the option brings. Like I’ve said the toughness, the mentality and the competition that comes with it.

Q: One big topic in football right now is tackling. What fundamentals of tackling are you and the staff going to teach here?

A: The one that gets them to the ground.

Q: Spring season is coming up. What are some things you want to get done in this first spring?

A: I think the implementation of both offense and defense. There will be pieces that will look similar to the past, but there will be verbiage, new language. So trying to make sure that piece of it is taken care of when we get done with our 15 days of spring practice. That we walk out of here on each side of the ball as a staff and with our players to be able to feel like we have a good basis and a good ground to where want to be and what we’re going to be. We want to be able to come out of the 15 days with a strong leadership group. Guys that, when the rubber hits the road and when there is tough things going on that we find out who can stand up and who can make plays for us. That’s what we’re looking for. The competition part and the leadership part.