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Eagles eye Mountaineers during bye

GSU using off week to heal, look ahead

Eagles eye Mountaineers during bye

Eagles eye Mountaineers during bye

Georgia Southern offensive lineman Ma...


    The Georgia Southern Eagles are experiencing some well-documented injury woes — only 57 of GSU’s 85 scholarship players dressed out in an Oct. 12 win over The Citadel according to head coach Jeff Monken — but that doesn't mean the Eagles aren't sticking to the game plan when they return to action on Oct. 26, at Appalachian State.
    “The game plan’s the game plan,” Monken said. “We’re not going to change the offense. Some guys will travel up to Boone, and we’re not going to know if they’re playing until that Saturday morning.”
    As it stands, Monken had a simple answer on Wednesday when asked if the Eagles (4-2, 2-2 Southern Conference) were any closer to getting healthy.
    “No,” was all he had to say about that.
    Fullback William Banks missed the game against The Citadel with a concussion he suffered the previous week against Samford, so senior quarterback Jerick McKinnon played running back throughout the game.
    That left redshirt freshman Kevin Ellison with all the snaps at quarterback.
    Both players were rewarded for the change —McKinnon was named SoCon Offensive Player of the Week with 198 yards rushing and Ellison was named SoCon Freshman of the Week — but it doesn't mean McKinnon has taken his last snaps at quarterback for GSU.
    It does mean he’s still ready for anything, even if he doesn't know whether or not he’ll play quarterback against the Mountaineers.
    “That’s something you’ll have to talk to coach Monken about,” McKinnon said. “If it is, I’m willing to do it. Whatever’s best for the team.
    Monken’s decision on McKinnon’s role won’t be clear until the status of Banks is known.
    “It really depends on what happens with William Banks getting healthy,” Monken said. “Hopefully he’ll be healthy for the game, and that would allow us to be able to play him at B-back and Jerick at quarterback. With the other guys coming along — (fullbacks Nardo) Govan and (Irving) Huggins and (Cam) Lewis — getting comfortable with those guys, that allows Jerick to play quarterback too.”
    Monken doesn’t see McKinnon as a quarterback, running back or wide receiver.
    “I just see him as a ballcarrier,” Monken said, “wherever that is.”
    Though there are injury questions before the game against Appalachian State, which is currently 1-5 on the season, the Eagles know better than to overlook the Mountaineers.
    “We know they’re going to give us everything they’ve got. The record really doesn't matter,” McKinnon said. “They’re still a good team this year.”
    This weekend marks the second bye week for the Eagles. The first came after a 30-20 loss at Wofford. McKinnon said it’s a lot easier waiting two weeks for the next game after a win this time around.
    “It’s definitely better to go into a bye week with a win than a loss like we did last time. It was a big win for us and a big momentum swing in our season,” he said.

    Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-4908.

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