The Georgia Southern defense had its way through most of the week’s practices, but when the Eagles scrimmaged Saturday at Paulson Stadium, the offense came alive.
True freshman Dominique Swope scored a pair of rushing touchdowns during the two-hour session.
“I think everybody’s going to have their day, whether it be offense or defense,” said senior quarterback Jaybo Shaw, whose day was highlighted by a 28-yard run on an option keeper. “We’re just trying to get where offense, defense and special teams all have a good day.”
The Eagles begin the 2011 season in two weeks on the road against Samford in Birmingham, Ala.
“We’re not where I’d like us to be, but thank goodness we’re not where we were,” said second-year coach Jeff Monken, who spent most of the fall in 2010 installing his offense. “We’re going to get there.”
The defense had its high points, beginning with a fumble recovery on the scrimmage’s fourth drive and culminating with a series of fumbles by each of the three offensive teams at the end of the day.
“It’s a good thing we have two more weeks to prepare,” said Shaw. “We’ve got a long way to go to get to what we want to accomplish, but we’ve got two more weeks to watch film and game plan and little things like that.”
Swope, along with sophomore Robert Brown and senior Zeke Rozier took a bulk of the carries at B-back, and Swope’s pair of touchdowns led the day’s scoring.
“He’s a true freshman who really climbed his way up the depth chart,” said Monken. “He’s probably No. 2 or 3 — him and Zeke are kind of battling it out for the No. 2 position.”
The defense rested a pair of key players, Bent Russell and Josh Rowe, and all three offensive teams saw success moving the football.
“We’ve basically transformed,” said Brown about where the team was a year ago. “We just come out and have the opportunity to get better by going against each other.”
The Eagles will hold walk-on tryouts Monday, where Monken and his staff will focus on seeking some much-needed practice depth.
“Right now we’ve got 12 defensive players who come to the offensive field, and they’ve got to take every rep with the scouts,” Monken said. “You’re going to hold your first-team guy and your second-team guy at every position. If you’re talking about the defensive tackles, you’ve got the top two on either side and maybe one other guy that can flip-flop. Same with the ends. So you’ve got 10 defensive linemen over there, and you’ve got 14 in camp. Well, the other four come over to the offensive field, and that’s all you’ve got.”
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.