Georgia Southern wide receiver Tray Butler is a senior, and when it comes to learning the offensive system of first-year head coach Willie Fritz, it’s almost like he’s in grad school.
Butler was a part of former coach Jeff Monken’s first signing class in 2010, and came into the program as a wide receiver, but made the switch to running back, after a redshirt year, in 2012. Now he’s back at receiver, and as opposed to Monken’s offensive philosophy of setting up the run with the run and using the pass as more of a change of pace, Butler’s got a lot to learn.
There’s also more drilling and learning going on in practice than under Monken’s more physical approach to practice.
“He was a tough coach, a very hard-nosed coach, but we got better,” Butler said about Monken. “I look at it like that. He was hard on us and he pushed us to the limit. Coach Fritz has done a great job with fundamentals. It was a boost, coming from playing more physical and hard-nosed to getting more technical.”
While GSU ran some option out of pistol and shotgun formations under Monken, the passing offense was simple. The running game is very similar, but Butler said the biggest challenge in playing the position is the complex passing game and route running which is, “basically all we do now.”
“The gun in this style of offense is more in-depth,” Butler said. “There’s a lot more to it. In the gun, we’re running basic triple-option plays, but now there’s more of a learning curve.”
Fritz has been impressed with the fifth-year senior.
“He’s a great young man and a hard-working guy,” Fritz said. “He’s serious when it’s time to be serious and has fun when it’s time to have fun. He’s very mature and he’s a team player who’s embraced everything we’ve done.”
A visit from the commish
Karl Benson, the commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference, will be in Statesboro on Friday and Saturday for Saturday’s Blue/White spring game, which begins at noon.
Benson will also throw out the first pitch at Saturday’s baseball game against UNC Greensboro, which will begin at 4:30 p.m.
He will also meet with the Georgia Southern athletic department staff and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee on Friday.
“These are very exciting times for Georgia Southern and the Sun Belt Conference,” Benson said in a statement. “The university plan for transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision is on target, and I look forward to seeing the progress that has been made around campus and with the renovations and expansion of Paulson Stadium.”
Canned food drive
Admission to Saturday’s spring game at Paulson Stadium is free, but fans in attendance are encouraged to bring canned food items to help stock the shelves of the Statesboro Food Bank. The canned goods may be dropped off at the Gate 4 entrance to Paulson Stadium prior to the game.
Gates open at 11 a.m.
Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.