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Buses ready to roll

Fritz won't touch GSU gameday tradition

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Buses ready to roll

Georgia Southern's legendary yellow school buses sit just outside of Paulson Stadium during the Eagles' first preseason scrimmage on Aug. 9.




    As Brian VanGorder learned in 2006 during his year as Georgia Southern’s head coach — Eagle Nation doesn't like its traditions messed with.
    Especially the yellow school buses.
    With the exception of 2006, every Georgia Southern team in the modern era has ridden a pair of yellow buses to Paulson Stadium for home games. The construction of the new Football Operations Center — home to new locker rooms for the Eagles — begged the question.
    What about the buses?
    “We’re going to do it the exact way they did it in the past,” first-year GSU head coach Willie Fritz said, “except we’ll be leaving from the FOC and ending up at the other end for the Eagle walk.”
    Fritz said the buses will leave from the FOC and take the same route back to the stadium, going to the other side of campus and past Hanner Fieldhouse. That’ll leave the team plenty of time to sing the fabled “Valley Song” on the way to the game.
    As for the drivers, will Fritz be behind the wheel of one of the buses?
    “I might,” he said with a nervous laugh.
    A bust of legendary GSU coach Erk Russell between the Bishop Field House and the end zone will be moved to the FOC side, so the players can continue the tradition of head-butting it before running onto the field before a game.

Walk-on tryouts
    Lightning delayed Wednesday’s scheduled walk-on tryouts, so they were moved to Thursday after practice. About 50 players turned out.
    Fritz said Monday that he was especially looking for scout team depth at defensive line, quarterback and wide receiver.
    “We’ll run a couple of 40 (yard dashes), run drills for 15 or 20 minutes and we’ll base it on their ability, what they’ve shown, and also where we need some depth,” he said Thursday.

Too fast to sit
    It’s looking more and more like Georgia Southern will experiment with a two-quarterback system when the season starts on August 30 at N.C. State.
    Kevin Ellison is the clear-cut No. 1, but Favian Upshaw’s speed is hard to ignore.
    “We’re going to really sit down this weekend and talk about that. Kevin’s our one right now and Favian’s two, but we want to try to find a way to get them both in there,” Fritz said. “I just want to see Favian, I mean, he’s made a lot of big plays. He’s fast. He needs that opportunity to get out there and play. We’ve just got to find the best way to do it.”

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

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