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Hatcher, Eagles just one week away
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    Down at Valdosta State Chris Hatcher had things on cruise control. He was completely settled into a Blazer program he once quarterbacked and had racked up 76 wins, just 12 losses and a 2004 Division II national championship in seven years at the helm.
    “I knew everything that was going on,” Hatcher said. “I knew everybody, all of our opponents and knew how good you had to be to win the conference.”
    As his life in south Georgia rolled seamlessly along, Hatcher was offered a job he couldn’t refuse. With Georgia Southern in the market for a head coach to lead its storied football program, Hatcher opted to leave his familiar surroundings this past January.
    “It’s funny — you get it where you want it, then you just pick up, move and start all over again,” he said at last week’s Southern Conference rouser. “But that’s life. We’re excited, and hopefully we’ll do well like we did in Valdosta.”
    With players reporting for fall camp Saturday and practice beginning Monday, Hatcher’s hectic life is about to get even busier. He said he’s had a good summer, the apex coming less than two weeks ago when his wife gave birth to the couple’s second child, a girl named Talley. Hatcher’s son, Ty, is a rising second grader at Bulloch Academy. He said the family sold their house in Valdosta months ago and is well settled into their new home.
    “Everyone’s doing good,” Hatcher said. “We just had the baby, and we’re getting ready for a new season. We’re excited about it. Of course, you are always apprehensive going in to doing something new.”

QB job wide open
    Who’ll be Georgia Southern’s starting quarterback this fall?
    Good question, Hatcher said last week.
    Though returning starter, junior Travis Clark, emerged as the top signal caller during spring workouts, the job remains wide open, Hatcher said. Redshirt freshman Kyle Collins impressed coaches this spring, and freshman Northern Illinois transfer Billy Lowe and true freshman Lee Chapple will vie for the job. Senior standout Jayson Foster, who directed the triple option in 2005, will also get a look.
    “I think they’re all capable, it’s just a matter of which one performs the best during camp,” Hatcher said.
    Placekicking duties and all other starting positions are also up for grabs.

Playing together
    Getting the team to play together, Hatcher said, will be the main focus heading into fall camp.
    “Being the third coach in 13 months, there’s a lot of unfamiliarity with the players and the coaches,” he said. “They are proving themselves to us, and we are proving ourselves to them.
    “The bad part about this is we got a late jump in our off-season conditioning. Then we had 15 days to work with the players on the practice field. About when we started getting to know one another, (the NCAA) tells you can’t work with them anymore, and you go through the entire summer. So it’ll be like starting over Aug. 4.”

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