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Rowe gets GSU "D" going

Rowe gets GSU

Rowe gets GSU "D" going

Georgia Southern linebacker Josh Rowe...

            Georgia Southern middle linebacker Josh Rowe has been a man on a mission throughout fall camp, finding his way into the backfield and helping the defense stop the triple-option offense before it starts.

            Of course to him, the defensive line is so good, anybody could do his job.

            “It all starts with the d-line. I mean, they make everything easy,” said Rowe, who played at outside linebacker in all 11 games last season and started two. “When they get good penetration and they play their assignments right, everything’s pretty easy.”

            Rowe may make it look easy, but weighing in at just over 200 pounds and running a 4.5-second 40-yard dash, he’s one more guy whose position changed in the defense to make each position on the defense smaller and, more importantly, faster.

            “[Strength and conditioning coach] Tom Melton and those guys have done a great job,” said GSU linebackers coach Shawn Quinn. “[Rowe] came back from summer and he ran a 4.5 40 at 210 [pounds]. As a whole defense, we’re trying to get a lot more speed.”

            Even early in the season, Georgia Southern will face a lot of variety in its opposition. The Eagles will see the spread attack of Savannah State at the home opener, the triple option of Navy on the road the following week and the balanced attack of Coastal Carolina on the road a week after that.

            The Eagles have spent more time worrying about themselves on both sides of the ball, placing their focus on two main goals.

            “You can be a Jack-of-all-trades and masters of none,” said Quinn. “We’re trying to get good at tackling and running the football.”

            The Eagles will run a 4-3 defense with Darius Eubanks, second on the team in 2009 with 58 total tackles, among others playing the bandit position. The bandit is a strong-side linebacker that doubles as a member of the secondary. The front seven is also comprised of a middle linebacker, a weak-side linebacker and four down linemen – something the Eagles went away from in 2008.

            Still, it seems that GSU is less concerned about formations and schemes and more concerned about fundamentals, swarming the football and effort.

            “That’s a big thing we’re preaching – great effort will overcome a lot of the other things,” Quinn said. “The Xs and Os only go so far. It’s how hard you play and how much heart you have when you play.”

            “When you’re fundamentally sound and you work hard in the weight room,” added Rowe, “you’ll be tough to stop.”

            Rowe isn’t kidding when he gives the defensive line – including Brent Russell and Rodreick Tinsley in the middle and Dion DuBose, a former middle linebacker now playing end – all the credit when he makes a stop.

            For him, it’s all about the teamwork.

            “I love up on those guys whenever I make a play, just like whenever they make a play, they love up on me,” Rowe said. “It’s love - that’s what we have for each other.”


Back on the practice field

            True freshman quarterback Ezayi Youyoute, who suffered turf toe during a practice on Thursday, August 12, returned to practice Monday for a portion of drills against the scout team.

            He practiced in a blue jersey and is still recovering from the foot injury.

            “He went 10 periods today, which was good,” said GSU coach Jeff Monken. “He got sore and tired, but we’ve got to get him back into it and we’d like to see him get up to full speed by the end of the week. I guess that would probably be our goal, by Friday having him go full speed.”


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

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