#103 Georgia Southern 2018 Football Preview

Georgia Southern Eagles

Overall Rank: #103

#4 Sun Belt

 Georgia Southern Logo
Georgia Southern only won two games last year, but those did come late in the season after the Eagles promoted Chad Lunsford to the head coaching position. Coach Lunsford now enters his first full season as head coach and there is good reason to expect the win total to dramatically increase in 2018.
2017 Record: 2-10, 2-6
2017 Bowl: None
Coach: Chad Lunsford (2-4 at Georgia Southern, 2-4 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Bob DeBessee
Defensive Coordinator: Scot Sloan
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Wesley Fields, RB, 811 yards
Passing: Shai Werts, QB, 929 yards
Receiving: Malik Henry, WR, 268 yards
Tackles: RJ Murray, S, 60
Sacks: Logan Hunt, DE, 5.0
Interceptions: Monquavion Brinson, CB, 5
Other Key Returnees: LB Tomarcio Reese, LB Jay Bowdry, DE Raymond Johnson III, K Tyler Bass, OL Curtis Rainey
Key Losses: RB L.A. Ramsby, Chris DeLaRosa
The option offense should run smoothly with an experienced group running the show. Quarterback Shai Werts had his ups and downs as a freshman, but now has a year of experience under his belt. With a very talented and experienced line to work with, Coach Lunsford should be able to transition smoothly to the shotgun triple-option offense that they ran a few years back. Werts rushed for 722 yards in 2017, ranking second only to Wesley Fields, who is back after rushing for 811 yards. Monteo Garrett should get plenty of carries as well. When the Eagles look to the air, they do have a decent crop of receivers, led by Malik Henry, Wesley Kennedy and Ellis Richardson. 
The move to a 3-4 defense could help improve the Eagles defense if new coordinator Scot Sloan can find enough linebackers to fill the outside spots. Tomarcio Reese and Todd Bradley are fine interior linebackers, but there are not many proven options to fill in on the outside and that could hinder a pass rush that was not all that impressive to begin with. Logan Hunt, Raymond Johnson and Deshon Cooper are experienced defensive ends though and if the new scheme goes over well, they could all have productive seasons. The strength of the defense though is in the secondary. Cornerbacks Monquavion Brinson and Kindle Vildor are among the best in the Sun Belt and safety RJ Murray led the team with 60 tackles.
The Bottom Line:
Georgia Southern has the potential for a big turnaround in 2018. This was a young team in 2017 and it showed. With a fresh start and plenty of experience, the offense will be dangerous. And the defense should continue to be very strong against the pass and, potentially with the new scheme, much better against the run. This may not be a group that seriously competes for a conference title, but Coach Lunsford has the talent around him to get to a bowl game during his first full season leading Georgia Southern.
Projected Bowl: Cure Bowl
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 222.3 (24th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 110.0 (126, 11)
Total Offense: 332.3 (113, 11)
Scoring Offense: 20.8 (112, 8)
Rushing Defense: 180.3 (82, 9)
Pass Defense: 230.1 (73, 3)
Total Defense: 410.4 (80, 7)
Scoring Defense: 32.2 (98, 8)
Turnover Margin: 0.00 (64, 5)
Sacks: 1.83 (89, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 2.58 (101, 7)