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Filling up the depth chart
Eagles two deep is starting to take shape
Georgia Southern offensive lineman William Maxwell, right, fends off defensive end Larry Beard during 11-on-11 work Friday, August 8. - photo by Associated Press

    Georgia Southern wrapped up Phase I of fall practice on Friday morning on the banks of Beautiful Eagle Creek with a full two-hour scrimmage.
    The day was the culmination of a draining first two weeks. Coach Chris Hatcher went to a three-a-day schedule on select days to try and help his players prepare for the daunting season ahead.
    “We’re mentally and physically tired,” said Hatcher after Friday’s workout. “You can really see it in the young players. Twenty one practices I believe is what it’s been and those guys — we’ve really pushed them to the limit.”
    As always, all eyes were on the quarterback battle which is shaping up to be fierce. Redshirt freshman Lee Chapple is still the starter, but Ohio State-transfer Antonio Henton is nipping at his heels.
    “I really say this in all sincerity — it’s going to be a tough decision to make,” said Hatcher, not ignoring the efforts of Sophomore Kyle Collins either. “I could see all three of them getting in there and being able to play some. Today I worked Henton and Chapple more with the ones than I did with Collins.
    “The big thing with our quarterbacks is we gotta have more consistent play — and when we do have a shot at making a big play we got to convert.”
    That statement was certainly true for the Eagles in the red zone Friday. While getting to that end of the field wasn’t a problem, putting the ball past the goal line was.
    Henton led the twos on his first possession down the field and completed a fourth-and-short to keep the drive alive. But inside the 10 the Fort Valley native missed two touchdown tosses and the offense was forced off the field.
    Neither Chapple nor Collins fared much better at putting the ball in the end zone in their first go-rounds. Henton was the first to connect for a TD. On a fourth down play, he lobbed a pass to Steve Cundari in the back of the end zone.
    Adam Urbano later scored on a draw play with Chapple at the helm, then Collins threw a nice fade to Marcus Russ a series later.
    The team has the weekend off before returning on Tuesday to begin preparations for top-ranked Georgia on August 30.
    “This is the first time we’ve done this type of schedule,” Hatcher added. “Too many years you get to game preparation, and golly, instead of worrying about who you’re playing, you’re worrying about, ‘Oh, man our legs are dead, we gotta cut back.’ We got to make sure they’re not too tired for the game. With this little break we ought to physically and mentally come back fresh.”

Roster moves
    While the quarterback battle will likely rage on until that fateful day in Athens, Hatcher said he’ll start formalizing a depth chart this weekend.
    The offensive line, as well as the defense, appears to be taking shape while running back and wide receiver continue to be a mix of the old and the new.
    William Maxwell has earned the spot at left tackle, Dio Herrera gets the nod at left guard, Cole Fountain is at right tackle and Trey Dunmon will be up front as well. Walk-on Joe Behrmann and Johnathan Loving are fighting for the right guard spot.
    On defense, Dakota Walker has earned a spot ahead of Larry Beard on the defensive front. Quentin Taylor, Terrione Benefield and E.J. Webb look to be the starting linebackers. Carson Hill, Chris Rogers, Chris Covington and Darrel Pasco will be in the secondary.
    “I can assure you this — there will not be a whole lot of redshirting going on,” said Hatcher. “Out of the 25 new players or so, right now we’re only looking at red shirting three of those guys. We’re going to let them go out there and learn under fire.”
    Sophomore Jermaine Murphy and senior linebacker David Morris have left the team due to personal reasons. Redshirt-freshman kicker Adrian Mora joined camp this week as did Troy transfer Lennie Richardson.
    Richardson is an Ashburn native who redshirted last year with the Trojans and will have four years of eligibility remaining.

Under the Lights: Georgia Southern
    Fans may have noticed Sport South and Fox Sports Net South television trucks outside the GSU practice fields.
    The network will be profiling the Eagles’ preseason journey through the Georgia game, much like they did with GSU rival Appalachian State in 2007.

Missing artwork
    Patrons of Snooky’s may be wondering where all the famous Erk Russell memorabilia has gone from the interior walls.
    Owner Bruce Yawn is doing his part for the upcoming production of, “A Life Done Right: The Living Legacy of Erk Russell”, by donating — temporarily — his cherished magazine and news clippings of the legendary GSU coach.
    The play is scheduled to debut at the end of this month.
    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.