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Some big shoes to fill
Fullbacks looking forward to centerpiece roll
032310 GSU FULLBACKS web
Fullback Zeke Rozier, left, takes a handoff from quarterback Jawaun Luckey during practice Tuesday.

            The last guy to man the position was Jermaine Austin. Before that, it was Adrian Peterson. And that takes us all the way back to 1997.

            The next guy to play the fullback position at Georgia Southern is up in the air two days into fall practice, but the group of Zeke Rozier, Brandon Nolley, Tobi Akinniranye, Brent Thomas and a handful of other guys has been out there stating their cases to be the man.

            “Everyone’s just giving their all,” said Akinniranye. “We’re always competing, but we’re still a team so we’re working together to make each other better for the ultimate goal, a championship. As long as we keep competing, we’re going to get ourselves better.”

            Akinnirayne walked onto the team during his senior year. He decided he had fully recovered from a high-school injury and wanted to get back on the field.

            Though only his second year in the program, he knows all about the guys who played the B-Back position before him. He just isn’t quite sure what to do yet.

            “I’m listening to the coaches,” he said. “Everything is new to me right now. The B-back position holds a lot of responsibility on the offense, but I’m just busy, excited. I’m listening to everything the coaches are telling me. I’m just really excited to be able walk in the same shoes as running backs did before me.”

            All the guys are excited about the opportunity to try and be the feature back of a system that predominantly runs the football, but right now, they don’t have time to worry who will be the No. 1 guy.

            “It’s something to be excited about, but you just try to be a football player,” said Rozier, a junior who sat out 2007 with a medical redshirt. We’re all just out here now trying to get reps in that offense. I’m learning it, but at the same time, I’m still hesitant because I don’t know what I’m doing. There are a couple things I need to work on.”  

            Everyone playing the position knows they could have the opportunity to get a ton of carries during the 2010 football season. Of course, if everything’s going the way it’s supposed to, they’ll be getting hit even when they don’t have the ball.

            “I don’t mind that,” said Akinnirayne. “Football’s a physical sport, so it comes with it. I can get hit every down, every time. It doesn’t bother me at all.”

            Today, the Eagles will take a day off from the practice schedule, which will resume in pads on Thursday at 3:45 p.m.

            Saturday morning, the Eagles will have their first team scrimmage.