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GSU Football Notebook - A team effort for Eagles
Georgia Southern Woff Heal
Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken reacts during the game against Wofford in Saturday's NCAA Division 1 football playoff game in Spartanburg, SC. - photo by Associated Press


Jeff Monken doesn’t think it takes the best players to win. It takes the best team.

He doesn’t think the Georgia Southern Eagles have the best players.

"I’m not going to stand up here and talk about all these great players and All-Americans and, ‘We’re faster and bigger than everybody else.’ We are who we are," said the first-year GSU coach after Saturday’s 23-20 win over Wofford in the quarterfinals of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. "We’re a tough football team who plays hard and plays for each other. I think just about anything is possible with a team like that."

Throughout the playoffs, the Eagles (10-4) haven’t been without their struggles.

In the opening round against South Carolina State and Saturday in the second half against Wofford, the offense struggled.

The Eagles compensated by scoring points in the other phases of the game. Against SCSU, defense and special teams combined for 23 of the Eagles’ 41 points.

Against Wofford, those two phases scored 17 of the 23 points.

All told, the offense accounted for only 24 of the 64 points in those two games.

"It goes back to being a cohesive team and being accountable to one another. Nobody points fingers," said defensive coordinator Brent Pry. "They’d rather step up and make things right themselves."

All 14 of GSU’s first-quarter points were a result of fumble recoveries by the defense, one of which resulted in a scoop-and-score by Josh Gebhardt.

"It’s a relief when the defense can score as well as the offense," said slotback J.J. Wilcox, who had both a catch and run for key first downs when GSU was running out the clock against the Terriers. "The defense works just as hard as we are if not harder, and it’s just a great team effort. We’re fortunate to be a part of a team with a great defense, with the great coaches that we have."

The Eagles have made a living picking up the slack from the other phases of the game.

"When they see an opportunity to make a play," Monken said, "I think they’re feeling a sense of urgency to do that."


Future benefits

It goes without saying that each win has gotten the Eagles closer to their seventh national championship in school history, but there are long-term benefits from practicing into December, too.

"It’s just more opportunities to rep the offense," said center Brandavious Mann. "We can do it here and take it into the spring, and it’s a plus. I really hadn’t thought about it, but they say there’s no offseason, and it looks like they’re right."


On the tube

Georgia Southern faces No. 3 seed Delaware (11-2) Saturday at Noon in Newark, Del. in the FCS semifinals.

The game will air on ESPNU.

For Northland Communications customers, the game can be found on channel 50, for Dish Network subscribers, channel 141 and for DirecTV customers, channel 208.

The game will stream live online at


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