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Bigger than the average B-back
Govan MUG
Photo courtesy GSU Athletics - photo by Georgia Southern AMR

    At 6-foot-2, 248 pounds, Nardo Govan looks like a prototypical fullback. What he doesn't look like is a prototypical Georgia Southern fullback.
    At GSU, they’re called B-backs, and usually, "B" doesn’t stand for “block.” It stands for “big play.”
    Adrian Peterson, Jermaine Austin, Robert Brown and Dominique Swope are the last four primary starters at the position for the Eagles, and those four have combined for well over 10,000 yards and hundreds of touchdowns. They range in size from 200 to 220 pounds, and Govan is trying to walk in their footsteps while carrying a lot of extra weight.
    “He’s different than those guys, but we don’t have any special plays for him,” GSU coach Jeff Monken said about Govan, a sophomore from Savannah Christian. “We’re asking him to get his touches the same way those guys do. Obviously, when a guy’s 250 pounds, the first thought is between the tackles, and he ought to be pretty good at that.”
    Govan played a similar position in Savannah Christian’s option offense. He also played strong safety — another position at which he may have been considered oversized.
    “It’s fun playing safety,” Govan said. “You get to just roam around, shoot up into gaps and cover. Man, it’s fun.”
    Georgia Southern’s coaches tossed around the idea of using Govan on the defensive side of the ball from linebacker to defensive end, but at the end of the day, his combination of size and speed landed him with the B-backs.
    “If he’ll run with full speed and run with power — which he’s capable of — he can be a force for us,” Monken said. “When you face big backs like that, they’re tough to tackle, they’re tough to bring down. Hopefully, he’ll be the same.”
    Govan missed his freshman season due to academic ineligibility.
    He will be on the depth chart behind Swope, a junior who rushed for 1,251 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. At the very least, Govan sees himself as a change of pace.
    “I can take a beating when I’m running through holes,” Govan said. “We can keep everything fresh and keep the rotation going.”
    That doesn't mean big plays are out of the question for Govan, who scored on a long run up  the middle at Saturday’s scrimmage, the first of the fall for the Eagles.
    “He’s going to surprise a lot of people with how fast and athletic he is,” running backs coach Lamont Seward said.
    The Eagles have a day off today before returning to the practice field on Wednesday.

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