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Plenty of options for GSU at A-back

Plenty of options for GSU at A-back

Plenty of options for GSU at A-back

Georgia Southern slotback J.J. Wilcox...

            Between wide receivers and running backs, and even a quarterback learning a new position, along with a slew of freshmen, Georgia Southern has 13 slotbacks currently listed on the roster.

            This week. 

            When asked about how to deal with the large number of players at the position at Monday’s practice -- the count was 12 at that point -- GSU slotbacks coach C. Ray Gregory just said, “Really?”

            Still, Gregory is happy to have such a big pool playing slotback, or A-back, because, though there are two on the field at any given time, more will see the field throughout the course of the game. One group -- J.J. Wilcox, Nico Hickey, Johnathan Bryant, Darrieon Robinson and Lamar Brown -- all had different positions in 2009 and many have suffered bumps and bruises throughout fall camp.

            “The older guys right now have a jump on some of the younger guys that just came in. There’ll be some young guys and some new faces that should be able to crack in some time. It’s a position where you’ve got to do a lot of running, so we’ll play some different guys -- more opportunity.

            “Injuries are a part of the game. Just when you start to get comfortable with a guy, the way he’s playing a position, it happens. Injuries are part of it, so you’ve just got to hope the next guy has the ability to step in.”

            The other guys listed at the position are Darries Robinson, Jawaun Luckey, Alex Ford, Devin Scott, William Banks, Alex Bradford, Miguel Gilmore and Brian Wilcher.

            “Well, with 12 guys, there’s a lot of competition. You’ve got to come out here every day and work,” Wilcox said. “It’s like a business. At any time you can lose your spot or your position. You’ve got to work to get better, because you know somebody out here will try to get your spot.”

            Though slotbacks are expected to block, take the pitch, run both between the tackles and around the edge and catch passes, there’s one trait Gregory looks for above all those.

            “I just like to see consistency -- that they understand what they’re supposed to do on a play and how to do it,” he said. “That they can go out there and just react, not have to think.”

            For Wilcox, the hardest part is executing the plays.

            “As a slotback, it’s just like another quarterback,” said the sophomore. “You have to know where you’re supposed to go, who you’re supposed to block and where you’re supposed to be. It’s certainly an important part of the option. Just like a quarterback, you’ve got to be on your P’s and Q’s.”

            The best part, for Wilcox, is when he sees the ball leave the quarterbacks hands on the pitch, because it means everything up until that point is clicking.

            “It’s a great feeling to know that the whole team, the whole offensive line got the blocking right, and now I get a chance to showcase what I can do and make a play,” said Wilcox. “It feels good. It puts a big smile on my face.”

            Tuesday marked the first day off for the Eagles since the start of fall camp, and they return to action with a two-a-day today at 9 a.m. and 4:33 p.m.


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


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