Georgia Southern head football coach Clay Helton put the Eagles though their second scrimmage of the spring Saturday at Paulson Stadium. The Eagles moved the scrimmage up an hour in order to try and beat the predicted rain which hit just as the Eagles were wrapping things up.
“We pretty much have all our schemes put in now,” said Helton. “To be able to execute those schemes in a live atmosphere was great as well as seeing these guys have fun competing together. I think things went extremely well on both sides of the ball and was highly competitive. We now have a lot of good tape to learn from.”
The scrimmage saw the offense come through with five touchdowns, and the Eagle defense had one interception and four sacks. Highlighting the scrimmage Kyle Vantrease got the majority of the snaps and worked with the first unit exclusively. Vantrease threw for over 230 yards and three touchdowns including two to tight end Ethan Dirrim and one to Derwin Burgess Jr.
“I thought Kyle did a great job managing the scrimmage and managing the situations,” said Helton. “He did a good job coming off the goal line protecting the ball and got us a couple first downs and flipped the field. He also did great in the open field sustaining drives and making third downs. I was also impressed by his work in the two-minute drill. He plays like a vet.”
“Conner Cigelske and Cam Ransom continue to grow and have had a good week,” said Helton. “Ritchie Lankford and Zak Rozsman are two young guys just stepping on campus and are doing a nice job as well at quarterback.”
Cigelske threw for two touchdowns and over 130 yards including the first score of the scrimmage as he hit Darius Lewis in the flat and Lewis went 75-yards for the touchdown. He also hit tight end Evan Lester on a short score as the Eagle tight ends had three touchdowns in the scrimmage.
“I thought we did a great job utilizing the tight ends today,” said Helton. “Part of that vertical passing game includes using the tight end position and I thought they did a nice job. Ethan Dirrim made some nice plays down the middle of the field which is important to this offense.”
“I also thought we did a good job making some big plays outside,” said Helton. “Derwin Burgess came up with a couple big plays and then you see the catch short and run long with Darius Lewis having a couple big plays. I feel like the execution of the offense is really getting better.”
On defense, freshman Ashton Whitner picked off a pass from Cam Ransom early in the scrimmage. Amaru Herring, Quincy Darnell, Dillon Springer and L.J. McCloud all had sacks.
“The pass rush from that veteran four-man front is pretty special,” said Helton. “They are a hard bunch to block. They continue to grow in the scheme as well as in the weight room.”
The Eagles special teams saw Britton Williams connect on all three of his field goal attempts from 30, 40 and 47-yards. Alex Raynor and Bryce Christensen both missed from 40-yards but connected from 30 and 47-yards out. Anthony Beck had a 50-yard punt in the scrimmage as well.
The Eagles are scheduled to wrap up their spring session this week with two practices, followed by the annual Blue vs. White Spring Game Saturday, April 23 at noon. Admission is free and the scrimmage will also be broadcast on ESPN+.