Georgia Southern coach Charlton Young has a team full of what he describes as “young pups” — seven freshmen and only one eligible senior.
It’s only fitting that they are trying to take baby steps.
The Eagles (2-2) will face a tough road through Texas as they face Texas Tech today at 8:30 p.m. and play two more games in Texas Friday and Saturday as a part of the South Padre Island Invitational.
“We’re so young, that we have to put small, tangible goals in front of them and chase those,” Young said. “On this trip in Texas, I want to see our field-goal-percentage defense go down. We were doing a good job at the foul line until [we played South Florida Sunday], but we had two games back-to-back where we were really shooting well from the foul line. We also need to continue to get better at boxing out.”
Georgia Southern opened the season with a 98-61 loss at Notre Dame and fell Sunday to South Florida, 76-63.
Using some clever math, Young feels like GSU will be in good shape the next time it faces a Big East team.
“The first time we played Big East competition, we got beat by 37,” he said. “The second time we played Big East competition, we got beat by 13, a 24-point improvement. The way I do the math, if we keep coming like we’re coming, the next time we’ll win by 11.”
Young was not allowed on the sidelines during the USF game, as he was ejected from last Thursday’s win against Reinhardt after back-to-back technical fouls, but watched it from the hotel lobby.
“We had a lot of opportunities to win that game, but I can’t be too upset with them. To be quite honest, I let my team down without being there,” he said. “I’m not saying anything about those guys. I should have been able to keep my composure at the Reinhardt game, and maybe I could have helped us pull it out. You don’t know what could happen.”
Still, Young was happy with what he saw from his assistants.
“Coach Smith did a wonderful job with the guys,” he said. “I was proud of them.”
Young has packed the pre-Southern Conference schedule with tough competition in an effort to increase the learning curve. He is happy with the progression he has seen out of the young squad.
“Now we’re going into the Big 12 to see if our team can learn and get better,” he said.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.