If there's one thing the Georgia Southern Eagles could have used more of in 2010, it was depth.
Plenty of guys have had the opportunity to show what they could do with the ball in the second half of both games as the Eagles (2-0, 1-0 Southern Conference) have won by an average margin of 47-19.
There's depth for days at slotback as six different players have carried the football from the position and a seventh was added after Saturday's Tusculum win when Darreion Robinson (61 carries, 465 yards in 2010) returned from injury to the mix.
It's the freshmen who have been the biggest surprise.
Redshirt freshman Ezayi Youyoute rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown on only five carries against Tusculum, and true freshman Dominique Swope returned two punts for 66 yards and rushed for another 59 on five carries with a touchdown.
"We're a lot more comfortable now that we've seen some of those guys play," said GSU coach Jeff Monken. "Dominique got a chance to get in the game and run the ball, return kicks. [Youyoute] got in and ran the offense."
There are new faces popping up all over the offense.
"We've got Johnathan Bryant back and healthy, Zach Walker, Kentrellis Showers, Garrett Frye and Manrey Saint-Amour on the offensive line," said Monken. "Those are all guys we didn't have any idea if they would be able to play when we started camp, so I'm pleased."
Walker has seen his fir share of playing time as a true freshman receiver, and Showers, a redshirt who walked onto the team in 2010, leads the team with three catches for 66 yards.
It hasn't all been smooth sailing. Swope fumbled his first opportunity in the season opener at Samford, and Saint-Amour, the backup to center Brandavious Mann, watched as his first-career snap sailed over quarterback Jerick McKinnon's head for a turnover against Tusculum.
But all of the backups adjusted quickly to being in the game.
"We try to make practice as game-like as we can, but it's never the same," said Monken. "It's the first time they've been out there without having somebody chew their ear off, so it's probably somewhat relaxing being out there away form the coaches. We've had some young guys make their share of mistakes, and some of our older guys, too, but I'm glad we were able to get them in the game."
The Eagles are off this weekend. They will return to action Saturday, Sept. 24 against Western Carolina in Paulson Stadium.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.