Eagles have holes to fill on both sides

Hayden Boudreaux

The offseason is a trying time for every college program. Between coaching changes, disciplinary issues and academic problems, the Georgia Southern football team will have to rise above offseason troubles to be successful this season.

With at least five players sidelined for the contest next Saturday against North Carolina State, the Eagles had some holes to fill during the summer and fall camp. Neither side of the ball was immune to the offseason woes.

One of the most notable gaps in the offense is former All-American running back Dominic Swope. In 2012, Swope rushed for over 1,000 yards for the second season in a row and was named a second team All-American. He was only able to rush for 174 yards, averaging 5.4 yards a carry before being sidelined for the rest of the season by an injury. While the team filled his spot last season, his presence may have greatly benefited the Eagles.

With the new wide-open system installed by Head Coach Willie Fritz, Eagle senior receiver Kentrellis Showers was expected to play a huge role against the Wolf Pack. Last season, Showers played in all 11 games and managed four catches for 62 yards and a touchdown.

On defense, Tay Hicklin may not take the field for the first game. Hicklin played in all 11 contests last season and had 27 total tackles. NC State is expected to settle in the pocket and air the ball out against the Eagles. Hicklin’s coverage abilities could have been put to good use against their quick receivers.

Former sophomore defensive Rafael Hardee will not take the field this season. Hardee earned his starting job near midseason in 2013 and played in every game. Additionally, another rising defensive end Devonte Dempsey will not make an appearance.

To date, the team has gone 61 days without an incident. This has left plenty of time for Fritz and his staff to fill these positions and make the proper adjustments. The Eagles’ preparedness will be tested on Aug. 30 when they take the field in Raleigh, N.C.