By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Eagle receivers looking to step up
080808 GSU FOOTBALL 05
Georgia Southern wide receiver Steve Cundari, left, snags a pass over defensive back A.J. McCray during practice Friday, August 8.
            The aftermath of the announcement that several members of Georgia Southern's football team will be suspended for the season opener has ignited a number of questions. But to coach Chris Hatcher, finding a worthy replacement for senior wide receiver Raja Andrews isn't chief among his concerns.

            Andrews is one of eight Eagles' that will not play against Georgia in Athens on Aug. 30.

            As a result of the suspensions, the other players now have a greater chance to prove themselves on the biggest of stages next Saturday inside UGA's Sanford Stadium, which holds 92,746 fans at full capacity.

            As a junior, Andrews led the Eagles in receiving yards with 388 on 38 receptions with three touchdown catches. Now with Andrews out of the picture for that first game, the opportunities at wideout are wide open. Hatcher said he has plenty of receivers capable of filling the void.

            The most plausible candidates are returners Michael McIntosh, Joe Haynie and Tim Camp. The trio, all seniors this year, combined for 402 receiving yards last season (McIntosh made 14 catches for 191 yards while Haynie had 13 receptions for 97 yards and Camp had 10 for 114 yards).

            The departure of veteran quarterback Jayson Foster presents another wrinkle of uncertainty as both quarterbacks currently battling for the starting spot have no tangible college experience. Therefore, none of the receivers in question, weathered or brand new, have had a chance to work with the quarterback in a fast-paced game scenario. So, Hatcher said, plenty of the receivers will get a chance.

            "We're going to play a bunch of them," Hatcher said. "We're going to rotate them in and whoever gets the hot hand, that's the guy that will be playing the most. I wouldn't say [Andrews] is the only one [who stood out last season], Tim Camp had a great season last year. Mike McIntosh played really well. Joe Haynie started eight games for us last year. We've got some good experience there that we feel real good about."

            Hatcher added that he has a number of more inexperienced players that have the potential to step up at the position as well, referring to freshmen Marcus Russ and Demarcus Watts, sophomore Steve Cundari and junior Terence Hall, all of whom worked their way into Hatcher's latest version of the two-deep.

            "We've got the play makers out there, it's just they're not tested," Hatcher said. "You'll be very pleased with the guys that you see."

            McIntosh agreed that the younger players at the position have been impressive throughout fall camp and during the first practices of the season.

            "I consider them all playmakers," McIntosh said. "I think each of them brings a certain aspect to the game. I think Russ, he's long, he makes big plays. I think Watts; he's very fast. Bass, he's got great hands. You can't go wrong with any of them."


            Natalie Sayewich can be reached at (912) 489-9413.