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GSU Notebook: Working on 2014
Georgia Southern head football coach Jeff Monken, center right, is mobbed by fans in front of the Parrish Football Center after returning from Gainesville, Fla. following Saturday's victory over Florida. Monken accepted every request for a picture from fans as he thanked them for coming out to greet the team. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken had about 24 hours to enjoy the Eagles’ 26-20 win over the Florida Gators.
    Monday, while conducting nationwide media interviews, Monken was back to work, on the road recruiting.
    He doesn’t think the nation’s top recruits will all of a sudden have interest in GSU, which will join the Football Bowl Subdivision Sun Belt Conference in 2014, but the win certainly won’t hurt on the recruiting trail.
    “I think kids that thought, ‘Well, that’s an FCS program,’ or, ‘They’re just now moving up,’ are going to take notice,” Monken said. “I think a big win like this will help our recruiting efforts. I think it opens the eyes of a lot of prospects who are out there. But we’re not all of a sudden going to be on the same top five list as kids that have the biggest schools on them.”
Monken mentioned a junior-college offensive lineman the Eagles have been recruiting, and how the major programs are after him, too.
    “We were trying to get him set up for a visit, and just this past week, between the last time we talked to him and today when we talked to him, he’s going to visit Oregon and Florida,” Monken said. “Even though we just beat Florida, we’re probably not going to beat them on a prospect, and that’s the reality of it.”
    But the word is still getting out with Monken’s more-than-usual media requests on Monday.
    “A lot more,” he said. “It’s been great to be able to spread the message of our program and talk about our kids, talk about the mission of our program and the great history of our program. We’ve got a great story to tell and that’s been a great platform for us to be able to spread the word.”

The big ‘Mo’
    Monken’s first three seasons at Georgia Southern all ended with a loss in the semifinals of the FCS playoffs.
    For the next nine months, this year’s Eagles can celebrate — and gain momentum heading into the 2014 season opener at N.C. State.
    “We’re going to get to enjoy this one for a long time, and not have to put it on the back burner and put it behind us and get ready for another game next week,” Monken said. “We get to savor it, and these kids deserve it. The thing that’s different here is that we don’t have to end the season with a loss. We did that the last three years, and it's been devastating. It’s a motivating factor — keeping our guys hungry for more. They realize we can beat anybody if we play our brand of football.”

Blowing up
    Monken said the feedback has been overwhelming from friends, family and folks around the program ever since the end of GSU’s first-ever FBS win.
    “Every kid on our team, every coach on our team, everybody who’s associated with the program has been getting a lot of congratulatory emails, text messages and phone calls,” Monken said. “That certainly means a lot. I’m so proud for Georgia Southern that we were able to bring back this win for them.”

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