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A year older and wiser
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Georgia Southern fullback Robert Brown holds on to a football on the sideline during a break in practice Tuesday. For the second-straight season, Brown will enter the season as the No. 1 B-back with no experiance to back him up. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    The depth at the fullback position isn’t what it used to be.
    Of course for the Georgia Southern Eagles, the 2010 backfield started off the same way.
    Robert Brown was asked to be the starter at B-back as a true freshman a season ago, and there were a lot of question marks as to who would back him up.
    Turned out, there was plenty of depth.
    Seniors Tobi Akinniranye and Lee Banks – neither of whom played the position before the season started - combined for 488 yards in relief of Brown.
    With the help, Brown started 12 of the 15 games and led the team with 1,004 rushing yards, scoring seven touchdowns including the game-winner in overtime against then-No. 1 Appalachian State.
    Now as a sophomore, Brown is right back where he started —  an underclassmen who is the number one guy in the backfield and no experience to back him up. 
    “Even though I have a year under my belt as far as the experience goes,” Brown sad, “it’s a new year. We have new guys coming in, different guys coming in and everybody wants the same thing.”
    Aaron Fisher had some time to get used to the program. He came with Brown in the 2010 recruiting class and was redshirted.
    The only other fullback who has seen practice during the spring so far is Terrell Jackson, a first-year walkon, once again leaving Brown with all the experience.
    According to fullbacks coach Brett Gilliland, pressure is always going to be there for a B-back in the option offense, regardless of depth.
    “It’s very similar to being a quarterback — you’re always under pressure,” said Gilliland. “Being a true freshmen, [Brown] did a great job with it. Two days in here, he’s grown even more.” 
    The three on the practice field won’t be the only backs providing depth at the position next season. Ole Miss transfer Martez Eastland is currently suspended indefinitely, but is expected to contribute.
    Three more — Tre-Shard Burdette, Xavier Sharp and Seon Jones — signed as running backs in the 2011 class.
    For Brown, the biggest chink in the armor has been fumbles. He put the ball on the ground 11 times and lost seven during the 2010 season.
    Based on the fact he can constantly be seen clutching a football at practice, it’s safe to say the coaches have driven the point home about holding on to the football. 
    “I like that the coaches pressure me on that,” said Brown. “I’m working on correcting it.”
    The Eagles resume session three of the 15 session spring camp Thursday at 3:45 p.m.

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