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Johnson, Niumatalolo giving Monken a hand

Johnson, Niumatalolo giving Monken a hand

Johnson, Niumatalolo giving Monken a hand


MACON – Jeff Monken has faced a lot of new challenges since becoming Georgia Southern’s head coach and installing a system which, as far as the guys on the team are concerned, is something completely new.

Fortunately, he hasn’t gone about it alone.

Tuesday at the 2010 Peach State Pigskin Preview in Macon’s Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, Monken talked about former GSU and current Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, and all the friends he’s made over the years as an Eagle, a Navy Midshipman, and a Yellow Jacket.

All of the coaches from the Johnson coaching tree still communicate with each other, including Ken Niumatalolo, who was an assistant with Monken at Navy before taking over the program when Johnson left for Tech.

He is there to lend a helping hand, even though the Midshipmen will face Georgia Southern in less than four months.

"It’s a surprise for some people to find out that we talk pretty openly about scheme, and how are you defending this, and how are you attacking this defense, but Kenny and I are friends," Monken said. "We’ve known each other 20 years and I’m sure we’ll continue to talk up until the week of the game. I’m sure the week we play we won’t tell each other how we’re going to scheme each other, but up until that point he’s going to help me as much as he can and if I can offer him anything I will."

Johnson, who had Monken on his staff for 13 years leading up to this season, is hopeful that GSU can return to the form in which he left it.

"I think we’d built a pretty good program there and had a pretty good foundation," said Johnson about his five years as the GSU head coach. "You hate to see it go to the levels it went after we left. Hopefully he can get the program and bring it back to the national title hunt."

A former Yellow Jacket quarterback, Jaybo Shaw, will join Monken at Georgia Southern to help ease into the transition back to the spread-option offense.

"I think Jaybo’s a good athlete, a good football player, a solid young man, and I think he’ll bring instant leadership to the program," Johnson said. "He’s a little older and he’s got a good knowledge of the offense. He will certainly be a positive for Georgia Southern."

 

A whole new
ballgame

During Tuesday’s press conference, Monken ran down a list of names of some of the players he and Johnson inherited when they took over the Eagles in 1997.

Greg Hill, Kiwaukee Thomas, Earthland Moreland, Daryl Morrell and Bennie Cunningham were just a few of the players he mentioned from his first year at GSU, and he brought them up to illustrate how different things are in 2010.

"We were a lot faster in 1997 than we are now," Monken said. "That’s not a knock on our kids. I like our guys, I like our football team and I think we’ve got guys that are willing to work. They let us push them, and we push.

"We’ve got some fast guys, but we don’t have enough."

 

Killer instinct

Monken has great things to say about all the coaches in the Southern Conference, but he still thinks Appalachian State is the team to beat.

Sure, ASU has to replace all-everything quarterback Armanti Edwards, but its recent success has changed the attitude of the program.

"It’s going to be hard to beat App State because of the confidence they have from winning the national championships and winning the league," said Monken. "They’re kind of like we were when coach Johnson was the head coach here. I think there’s a fear factor. You play App State and it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve got to play App State.’

"I’m sure people kind of felt that way when they played Georgia Southern back in the mid-90’s and early 2000’s. We’ll have to overcome that, but I’m going to coach our guys like it’s our championship to lose. You have to coach that way. Everybody in our league’s going to coach that way."

 

Three new Eagles

While most of the freshmen from the 2010 camp will report to the team on June 22 when Summer Term B begins, three new Eagles have already started working with the team – running back Robert Brown (Westside-Macon), quarterback Jerick McKinnon (Sprayberry) and offensive lineman Marcus Howton (West Florida).

 

Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

 

A whole new
ballgame

During Tuesday’s press conference, Monken ran down a list of names of some of the players he and Johnson inherited when they took over the Eagles in 1997.

Greg Hill, Kiwaukee Thomas, Earthland Moreland, Daryl Morrell and Bennie Cunningham were just a few of the players he mentioned from his first year at GSU, and he brought them up to illustrate how different things are in 2010.

"We were a lot faster in 1997 than we are now," Monken said. "That’s not a knock on our kids. I like our guys, I like our football team and I think we’ve got guys that are willing to work. They let us push them, and we push.

"We’ve got some fast guys, but we don’t have enough."

 

Killer instinct

Monken has great things to say about all the coaches in the Southern Conference, but he still thinks Appalachian State is the team to beat.

Sure, ASU has to replace all-everything quarterback Armanti Edwards, but its recent success has changed the attitude of the program.

"It’s going to be hard to beat App State because of the confidence they have from winning the national championships and winning the league," said Monken. "They’re kind of like we were when coach Johnson was the head coach here. I think there’s a fear factor. You play App State and it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve got to play App State.’

"I’m sure people kind of felt that way when they played Georgia Southern back in the mid-90’s and early 2000’s. We’ll have to overcome that, but I’m going to coach our guys like it’s our championship to lose. You have to coach that way. Everybody in our league’s going to coach that way."

 

Three new Eagles

While most of the freshmen from the 2010 camp will report to the team on June 22 when Summer Term B begins, three new Eagles have already started working with the team – running back Robert Brown (Westside-Macon), quarterback Jerick McKinnon (Sprayberry) and offensive lineman Marcus Howton (West Florida).

 

Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

A whole new
ballgame

During Tuesday’s press conference, Monken ran down a list of names of some of the players he and Johnson inherited when they took over the Eagles in 1997.

Greg Hill, Kiwaukee Thomas, Earthland Moreland, Daryl Morrell and Bennie Cunningham were just a few of the players he mentioned from his first year at GSU, and he brought them up to illustrate how different things are in 2010.

"We were a lot faster in 1997 than we are now," Monken said. "That’s not a knock on our kids. I like our guys, I like our football team and I think we’ve got guys that are willing to work. They let us push them, and we push.

"We’ve got some fast guys, but we don’t have enough."

 

Killer instinct

Monken has great things to say about all the coaches in the Southern Conference, but he still thinks Appalachian State is the team to beat.

Sure, ASU has to replace all-everything quarterback Armanti Edwards, but its recent success has changed the attitude of the program.

"It’s going to be hard to beat App State because of the confidence they have from winning the national championships and winning the league," said Monken. "They’re kind of like we were when coach Johnson was the head coach here. I think there’s a fear factor. You play App State and it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve got to play App State.’

"I’m sure people kind of felt that way when they played Georgia Southern back in the mid-90’s and early 2000’s. We’ll have to overcome that, but I’m going to coach our guys like it’s our championship to lose. You have to coach that way. Everybody in our league’s going to coach that way."

 

Three new Eagles

While most of the freshmen from the 2010 camp will report to the team on June 22 when Summer Term B begins, three new Eagles have already started working with the team – running back Robert Brown (Westside-Macon), quarterback Jerick McKinnon (Sprayberry) and offensive lineman Marcus Howton (West Florida).

 

Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

 

 

 

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