Calvary Grad Williams and MCA Grad Riley Flying with the Eagles

Calvary Grad Williams and MCA Grad Riley Flying with the Eagles (Image 1)

Georgia Southern Eagles run nearly 75 plays in teams' first scrimmage of Spring Camp.



(Statesboro) – A couple of local high school grads chat with WSAV after the Eagles scrimmage at Paulson Stadium Saturday morning.



Eagle Football Continues Work in Progress at First Spring Scrimmage
Four Practices, Saturday Scrimmage on the Schedule for Next Week

STATESBORO, Ga. – After the scrimmage, fourth-year Georgia Southern Football Coach Jeff Monken headed straight back to the office to watch film. It wouldn't be a long review as the Eagles scrimmaged for only about 75 plays when Monken wished they could have been able to go for 100. Injuries have sidelined a number of Eagles, so there were some unfamiliar faces lining up with the ones and twos Saturday at Paulson Stadium.

“This gives us the opportunity for those guys to get some work, and the more reps, the more plays we can get with those young guys, the better we are going to get, but I'd prefer our starters healthy and be out there,” said Coach Monken. “In a scrimmage like today, we ran 75 plays, but with the starters healthy, we could do 100 plays, get more reps and have three groups to send out there. We don't have that luxury right now, we are working with two groups and are lucky to sprinkle some guys in.”

Freshmen quarterbacks Vegas Harley and Kevin Ellison trotted out, responsible for their first full scrimmage at Paulson Stadium with Harley guiding the first team and Ellison the second. Thin in some positions, Eagle personnel mixed into both lineups.  Freshman running back Irving Huggins crossed the goal line, with the scoring drive benefitting from two runs by Ellison, one of 17 yards and one of 20.

 Huggins picked up 19 yards on third-and-seven later during the scrimmage leading to a William Banks' TD. Harley started with a six-yard run on the ones' final drive and ended it with his TD run up the middle.  Both quarterbacks faced new situations and challenges in mixing the run game with some pass attempts.  Ellison completed a nice 15-yard pass to B.J. Johnson, but wasn't able to pick up the first down.

Even with the quarterbacks protected in red jerseys, the defenses didn't make things any easier. Big hits by Kyle Oehlbeck and Steve Williams made statements and a fumble recovery by Dylan Turner gave the defense some confidence in the early going.

Today's scrimmage, with the good and the bad, gives the coaching staff the best opportunity to see the progress and make corrections.

“Any time we are able to put the team out there in that type (game-llke) of situation, I think that is the best opportunity for us to really evaluate what they know, and their effort,” Monken said. “When coaches aren't out there (on the field) telling them where to line up, or if they forget their play or assignment, there isn't anyone out there to remind them. They have to rely on each other. They have to do that on their own and those are all things we evaluate.”

Even after Wednesday's exciting announcement of Georgia Southern's move to the Sun Belt Conference and FBS in 2014, Monken and the Eagles are keeping everything, “business as usual.”

“We are concerned only with the 2013 season and getting this team ready,” Monken said. “Every day our coaches recruit, that doesn't change, that hasn't changed because we're moving from FCS to FBS. We've always spent time recruiting every day. We'll continue to do that. There will be some changes in terms of the numbers of scholarships we'll have to deal with, but other than that, it's business as usual to try and prepare our team to be the best in the country.”

Georgia Southern returns to the practice fields on Monday at 3:45 p.m. for the first of four practices next week. The Eagles will hold their second scrimmage Saturday morning.  The Blue-White Spring Game is two weeks from today at Paulson Stadium with a scheduled kickoff time of with 1 p.m.

Next Friday, coaches from across the state and region will join the Georgia Southern Football team at its practice as part of the Option U Coaches Clinic along with the scheduled chalk talks and coaching sessions. The Option U Coaches Clinic starts Friday afternoon at the Parrish Football Center and ends Saturday morning following the Eagles' scrimmage at Paulson Stadium.

The Option U Coaches Clinic is $30 for advance registration or $40 for day-of registration.

The Option U Coaches Clinic brochure and the full schedule of events are available on the official camps and clinics website at with convenient online advance registration. For more information, contact Vic Cabral at (912) 478-5522, by fax at (912) 478-5059 or e-mail at

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