Leander Barney, a running back-turned-quarterback who sat out 2009 academically ineligible, has been permanently dismissed from the Georgia Southern football team, a Wednesday press release from GSU confirmed.
A reason was not given for his dismissal.
Barney, who would have been a sophomore, played H-back and wide receiver in 2008. He was a part of the 2008 recruiting class that included Adam Urbano, J.B. Shippy, Samair Baker, Marcus Russ, Demarcus Watts and Nick Bass — all contributors in 2008 and some in 2009 — who are no longer with the team.
Georgia Southern’s staff was not available for comment about Barney’s dismissal Wednesday.
The news followed the departure of Urbano, who announced his intentions to transfer Monday before the first practice of the spring.
As of today, of the six players listed as a quarterback on the current GSU roster, only two — Russell DeMasi and Brent Osborn — were Eagle quarterbacks in 2009. The two who started games a season ago, Lee Chapple and Kyle Collins, are no longer with the team. Chapple received his release and will transfer after having not participated in spring workouts, and Collins graduated after his academic senior year and will not play out his final year of eligibility.
Some of the remaining quarterbacks have experience running an option-oriented offense, some were drop-back passers in another scheme and some are used to directing traffic and letting the running backs carry the load.
There’s one thing they all have in common — they’ve still got a lot to learn.
“Their heads are spinning, and all you can do is work on fundamentals when you don’t have pads on,” said quarterbacks coach Mitch Ware after the second spring practice Tuesday. “You can’t really tell who can do what until you go live. What we do is unique, and there’s a certain way we teach every position. A lot of those guys out there ran option, but it’s almost like speaking a foreign language.”
To play quarterback in the double-slot, option spread requires a number of skill sets. You’ve got to be able to make plays with you legs, throw an accurate pass make pre-snap reads and split-second, in-play decisions.
But first, you’ve got to get back to the basics.
“When you learn to read, you’ve got to learn your ABC’s first,” said first-year head coach Jeff Monken Tuesday. “You don’t get to go into the textbooks. You’ve got to learn the small things first. You don’t go straight from two plus two to calculus, so we’ve got to teach them slow.”
A.J. McCray and Lee Banks are practicing with the QBs after some time at defensive back. Jawaun Luckey is a junior-college transfer who became an Eagle in 2009.
For Luckey, the new scheme worked out, allowing him the opportunity to get back under center.
“I’ve been a quarterback since the seventh grade,” Luckey said. “I’ve been asked to play several positions because I can, but I prefer to play quarterback. Everyone wants to be the guy, but they’re all great guys, so we’re just helping to compete with each other to make each other better and make the team better.”
The cerebral side of the offense is something that gets overlooked. After the play gets called in, it’s up to the guys on the field to know who to block and who to read depending on the call.
“Everybody’s communicating,” said Monken. “The slots and the wide receivers are communicating, the fullback and the quarterback are communicating, the line the fullback and the slotbacks, often that’s the case. There’s a lot of talking going on.”
The rest is left up to the coaching staff.
“Hopefully, we’ll get a pretty good read on the defense and what they’re lining up in. That’s our job,” Monken said. “We call the plays so they don’t have to go up there and check on every snap. Most of the time we can do that, but there are times where there’s adjustments by the defense at the line of scrimmage and they’ve got to make checks.”
Practice resumes in pads today at 3:45 p.m.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.