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Questions remain after spring game


April 15, 2014

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    I have never been one to put much stock in what I see in the Blue-White Spring Game. It’s not that it isn’t nice to check out the team and try to figure out what new faces are going to step up and contribute in the upcoming season, but it’s hard to tell how good the team is when they are playing against each other.
    For the better part of the afternoon, it looked like the defense had the upper hand — but there were several drives that probably would have turned out differently in a live game, so the offense didn’t look bad by any means. The quarterbacks were wearing non-contact jerseys, so they were ruled down as soon as a defender touched them. I am certain several of those runs would have broken for big plays.
    The offense did manage to find the end zone three times in the 100 or so plays that were run. Four quarterbacks — Kevin Ellison, Vegas Harley, Favian Upshaw and L.A. Ramsby — rotated throughout the day, each receiving about the same amount of playing time. Upshaw and Harley each had a touchdown pass.
    Several running backs got a shot at carrying the ball. Kenny Foster scored on a short touchdown run, and Dennis Pritchard, Antonio Williams and Devin Scott all looked pretty solid. Zach Walker and James Dean had touchdown receptions, but the play calling was definitely run-heavy.
    The Eagles have two more practices this week to wrap up the spring, and there are still plenty of questions to be answered before Georgia Southern takes the field against North Carolina State on Aug. 30. At this point, the biggest question is, who will take the first snap in Raleigh? I’m definitely not a coach, but from what I saw Saturday, there is not a whole lot of separation between the four quarterbacks — and they are all pretty darn good. It will be interesting to see how that race shakes out.
    One other observation I made Saturday afternoon was that Georgia Southern has one heck of a facility in Paulson Stadium. If you haven’t seen it in person, do yourself a favor and go check it out. The expansion and construction of the Football Operations Center truly make it, in Erk’s words, “The Prettiest (not quite so) Little Stadium in America.” It really is impressive.
    Switching gears to baseball: It wasn’t the weekend the Eagles had hoped for. UNC Greensboro came to town and took two out of three, leaving Georgia Southern hovering around the .500 mark in conference play and sitting in the middle of the SoCon pack.
    The Spartans won by a score of 6-2 Friday night with the help of two home runs by catcher Jake Hall. Sam Howard took the loss, giving up three runs in five innings of work. The Eagles bounced back with a 10-6 win Saturday on the strength of a 3-for-3, three RBI day from Garren Palmer. Josh Wirsu picked up his seventh win of the season.
    Sunday’s rubber game was a wild one. UNCG struck for one run in the top of the first, but Southern answered with four in the bottom of the frame. The Eagles’ lead was short lived, because the Spartans posted a six spot in the top of the second. Southern then tied the game at seven with three runs in the third inning. After that, the scoring finally settled down, but Greensboro pushed across the game-winning run in the fifth inning and held on for an 8-7 win.
    Georgia Southern is now 25-13 overall and 8-7 in SoCon play. The Eagles host Mercer Tuesday night before traveling to the College of Charleston on Wednesday. Southern then welcomes Samford to town over the weekend and will have a chance to improve its position in the standings, as the Bulldogs are a half game ahead of the Eagles.
    It’s hard to believe, but there are only four conference series and 18 games left in the regular season. I would love for this team to get hot now and go into the tournament on a roll.

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