What to look for on Saturday: Blue-White spring game will showcase new and old talent

Hayden Boudreaux

This Saturday the Georgia Southern football team will kick off the annual Blue-White Spring Game at Paulson Stadium where fans will get to evaluate the talent they expect for the upcoming season.

Whether you are a diehard Eagles fan or just joined the fandom last season, everyone is entering with similar expectations. Junior running back Matt Brieda will be expected to make a dazzling run that makes us salivate for the first game against West Virginia next season. Redshirt sophomore running back L.A. Ramsby will display his tough, between the tackles, running. Junior quarterback Kevin Ellison will show a mixture of running and passing, probably with a touchdown pass or two, to show us there will be more emphasis on diversifying the offense next season.

On defense, we will see senior defensive back Matt Dobson fly all over the field, knocking down passes and possibly picking up a turnover. The line backing core will work with the defensive line to form a nearly impenetrable wall that could seemingly only be broken by our talent in the backfield.

Overall, spring football games aren’t overly flashy. Though what I have described may seem flashy, it is really the making for a 14-7 or 21-14 finish. We won’t get the full onslaught of Brieda rushing for 200 yards and Dobson returning an interception the length of the field as we did last season. What we will see, if we look hard enough, will be the impact performances from the up –and-comers for next season.

To put things simply, we can’t run without an offensive line. The big guys up front rarely get the credit they deserve when fans think about the number one rushing team in the country. They still have a lot of time to develop before the beginning of the season, but there performances on Saturday will show who will be the leader(s) of the pack. Two transfers, senior Roscoe Byrd of UAB and Max Magana from a junior college, will likely step into that leadership role and have an immediate impact up front.

“We practice every day working with this new offensive line. We are trying to get them prepared to play with the big dogs and they are doing a great job. Coach Atkins is doing a great job and making sure there mind is on what we have going on,” Ellison said.

When we look into the backfield, we think of the three-headed monster that wreaked havoc on the nation through the rushing attack. With two quarterbacks who have shown the ability to compete at the division I level and two running backs that combined for over 2200 yards last season, the team seems to be stacked. It can be difficult improving on such an impressive season running the ball, and Ellison along with the coaching staff is working to do just that.

“In the meeting room the coaches are doing a great job of making sure our schemes are built for the quarterback to have an option to run every play. Favian [Upshaw], Monteo [Garrett] and I are all runners and they scramble through the playbook to make sure there are runs for the quarterback,” Ellison said.

There are still a few players that could make a difference in the future that fans should pay special attention to when they take the field. Redshirt quarterback Monteo Garrett is expected to see a significant amount of time on Saturday along with a talented backfield with redshirt freshman running back Thomas Banks and sophomore Chaz Thornton. Both running backs are hard runners and look to fit the scheme of the read option well. Garrett has a strong arm and looks comfortable in the pocket. We will probably get to see a lot of his running ability.

Shifting back to the defense, the fans should be looking for a leader to step up and take control of the team in place of graduated linebacker Edwin Jackson. We could see senior linebacker Deshawntee Gallon step up to this leadership role as he is expected to take on some additional responsibility in the defensive backfield. Senior linebacker Antonio Glover is another candidate as he is already considered the hardest hitter by some of the offensive players.

“[The hardest hitter is] Antonio Glover, he comes with steam. When you see him you know he is coming downhill fast,” Garrett said.

With a mostly veteran defense, we can expect them to be flying around and making a lot of plays to take advantage of the younger offensive line.

One question that at least half of the fans are wondering, is whether or not Dobson will be sporting his crop top for the last time as NCAA rules have no longer allowed for players to tuck their jerseys up into their pads.

@1peatfor7 on Twitter asked, “How will Dobson handle not being able to wear the crop top anymore?

“Definitely disappointed, but it’s NCAA rules and I understand that, but if I’m allowed in the Blue-White game I will,” Dobson responded.

The game is expected to kick off at 1p.m. on Saturday on a possibly rainy afternoon. If you have any questions you would like to ask the players or Head Coach Willie Fritz in the post-game interviews, tweet them to us @GeorgeAnneSport and we may reply with their answer!