Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It would seem Georgia Southern's chief
concern is getting over the hump of three straight losses in the FCS national
Hey, there's too much for the Eagles to first be worried about in the Southern
Coach Jeff Monken might have the most successful SoCon program right now, but
the margin for error has gotten a little smaller across the Land of the Triple
Up top, Appalachian State and Wofford have as many SoCon titles - two - as GSU
during Monken's first three seasons.
And right below, Chattanooga, The Citadel and Samford are knocking at the door
of title contention. In fact, The Citadel beat both Appalachian State and
Georgia Southern last season.
No FCS news has been bigger in the offseason than Appalachian State not
bringing back coach Jerry Moore after 24 seasons. His successor, Scott
Satterfield, just wants to live up to his Twitter handle: @winthegame.
Don't overlook what Georgia Southern lost on defense, including nose tackle
Brent Russell, linebacker and leading tackler John Stevenson and NFL-bound
safety J.J. Wilcox.
Life after Eric Breitenstein isn't all bad for Wofford despite the loss of his
5,730 rushing yards and 65 touchdowns in his career. The Terriers have depth
in their triple option, and Donovan Johnson has rushed for 1,793 yards in his
first three seasons.
Fifth-year coach Russ Huesman faces a lot of pressure to get Chattanooga into
the FCS playoffs. He has the SoCon's best defense with the return of nine
starters, including five coming off all-conference seasons: defensive end
Davis Tull, the co-defensive player of the year; linebacker Wes Dothard;
defensive tackle Derrick Lott; safety D.J. Key; and cornerback Kadeem Wise
There was a drop-off after last year's top six teams, which all finished
within one game of each other, to Furman, Elon and Western Carolina. It
doesn't seem any of the bottom three is ready for a big step.
OH, YES, THEM AGAIN
Had Georgia Southern gotten past the national semifinals with one more game,
quarterback Jerick McKinnon (1,817 yards) might have reached the 2,000-yard
The Citadel coaches are salivating over a full season out of 2011 team MVP
Derek Douglas, the defensive tackle who missed time last season because of a
Samford's All-American safety Jaquiski Tartt was a terrific playmaker last
season. He may have to do even more this season considering the Tigers' losses
on the defensive line and at linebacker.
Samford's Fabian Truss finished third in the FCS with 179.8 all-purpose yards
per game. He's a threat as a rusher, pass catcher and kickoff returner.
Furman third-year coach Bruce Fowler has been trying to restock the young
talent in his program. He has a good one in sophomore linebacker Carl Rider.
Elon is desperate to replace the production of All-America wide receiver Aaron
Mellette. While Kierre Brown is the top returning receiver, the Phoenix hope
to get a lot more out of senior Rasaun Rorie.
There's not a lot of rushing yards to go around with McKinnon and fullback
Dominique Swope returning at Georgia Southern, but bruiser Lanard Govan is
anxious to get some.
Of course, for Elon it starts with the quarterback getting the ball to the
receivers, and junior Mike Quinn, redshirt freshman John Loughery and junior
college transfer Trevor Vassey each hopes to win the starting spot.
The Citadel is still reeling from the loss of All-America center Mike Sellers,
reportedly for violating the school's honor code. Sam Frye was the backup as a
true freshman last season.
It will be hard for Appalachian State to replace running back Steven Miller.
It's pivotal that redshirt freshman Tysean Holloway, sophomore Ricky Fergerson
or Utah transfer Eric Davidson solidify the position and take pressure off
quarterback Jamal Jackson.
On Western Carolina's exceptionally young squad, quarterback Troy Mitchell
took over the starting role as a true freshman. Eddie Sullivan, who will be a
redshirt sophomore this season, wants the job back.
SPRING PRACTICE DATES
Appalachian State: March 22-April 20
Chattanooga: March 22-April 20
The Citadel: Feb. 9-March 9
Elon: April 4-May 3
Furman: March 11-April 6
Georgia Southern: March 13-April 13
Samford: March 13-April 19
Western Carolina: March 13-April 20
Wofford: March 4-27
The Sports Network