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Fostering a new quarterback
Eagles look to 'replace' Walter Payton winer
Georgia Southern quarterback Lee Chapple (14) takes off running after being flushed from the pocket during 11-on-11 drills at practice Tuesday. The Eagles have three young quarterbacks currently fighting for the starting quarterback position.
    Back in December, coaches around the Southern Conference let out a long-awaited sigh when Jayson Foster finally crossed the graduation stage at Georgia Southern.
    They couldn’t wait for the day when the 2007 Walter Payton winner — who had given them fits for years — would no longer suit up in blue and white. That day is now, and the Eagles’ search for his successor continued during the second day of spring practice Tuesday morning at Beautiful Eagle Creek. The notion of replacing the elusive runner is simply impossible.
    “Obviously it’s some big shoes to fill,” said redshirt freshman quarterback Lee Chapple, one of three players currently contending for the job. “You can’t match the speed of Jayson. He’s a one-time player. He’s going to be missed, but we are looking to refill his shoes really fast with more of a passing style this year.”
    Foster’s awe-inspiring career would fill up more than a few highlight reels, and he capped his days as an Eagle by helping GSU rebound to a 7-4 season last fall while setting NCAA single-season record for rushing yards by quarterback.
    “Jayson is who he is,” senior receiver Raja Andrews said. “It doesn’t matter what position you are playing or where you are playing in the country, Jayson is just a player that’s really hard to compare somebody else to.”
     Billy Lowe, Kyle Collins and Chapple are battling for a shot at being next in a long line of talented Georgia Southern quarterbacks, beginning with Tracy Ham. Chapple took most of the snaps with the first-team offense Tuesday.
    “The thing (the new quarterback) is going to have to do is just live up to the hype of being the quarterback at Georgia Southern — no matter if it’s behind Jayson or any of the other great quarterbacks we once had,” Andrews said. “They are going to have to come out here and prove themselves. That’s more important than trying to (replace Jayson). They all have a lot of time (left) here, so they’ve got a legacy to build on. It’s going to be great to see.”
    In the meantime, Lowe prefers to stay away from the intimidating thought of “following Jayson.”
    “I try to do as good as he does, but it’s different,” the sophomore said. “I don’t think he’d ever want me to say I’m worried.”

Day Two Update
    Hatcher thought the Eagles looked a lot sharper in every area Tuesday.
    “Our teamwork was a lot better with a lot more competition going on,” he said. “It was tough moving on both sides of the ball, so I thought today we were a little better than we were yesterday.”

Up next
    The Eagles are off Wednesday and will hit the field again Thursday for their first workout in shells. They’ll end the first week by going to full pads Friday and scrimmaging the last half of practice. The Eagles will take next week off for spring break.

    Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.