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My Take: Bad weather giving Eagles an edge
Mike Anthony

It’s been a black and blue season for the Blue and White of Georgia Southern.

The subject of Georgia Southern and its continued run-ins with bad weather has been a running gag over the last month or so. And while I get that there isn’t much insight that coaches or players can give to a variable that no one can control, it’s getting to be a bit comical.

The simple fact is that Georgia Southern teams have never had to deal with a prolonged stretch of adverse conditions such as they have over the last five games. For all the reputation that the lowcountry gets about muggy summers with tons of thunderstorms, the last couple of decades haven’t produced many waterlogged games at Paulson Stadium. 

Mother Nature seems to be making up for lost time. In the last three home games, Paulson has received over six inches of rain — and that’s just during actual gameplay and not including miserable runups to those contests that ensured a slick and foreboding playing surface.

The unseasonably chilly day at Troy a couple of weeks ago now seems like an afterthought in the meteorological rankings for 2019. And on the extreme end of the spectrum, there are about 4,000 still-thawing Eagle fans who bore witness to the game at Appalachian State that may have actually been played inside a snowglobe. 

While it’s quirky that a team from South Georgia has run into so many days that look like a Northeast slushfest, the fact that the season is now in its late stages — where bad weather becomes much more likely — is turning amusing game notes into a decisive advantage.

With the exception of Appalachian State, all the rest of Georgia Southern’s Sun Belt family would have been just as out of place in any game played in the combined cold and wet conditions. And the extended forecast is calling for mid-40s and rain in Jonesboro this weekend as Georgia Southern heads to Arkansas State.

Sure, when these ugly weather games come around, both teams have to play in it. But there’s something to be said for a team that is facing its first bout with conditions if its opponent has been thriving in the same all season.

Ironically, it’s the onslaught of atmospheric adversity thrown the Eagles’ way that might be helping them overcome much more team-centric concerns. 

Georgia Southern has been dealing with a rash of injuries that cropped up early and haven’t slowed down yet. They’ve also had their share of defensive lapses and preventable penalties that have haunted them in losses.

The Eagles are still far from the team they think they can be, but it seems as if the extra burden of dealing with the elements have jump-started the squad. It takes great preparation and discipline imparted by the coaching staff to keep a team focused on winning a game when every step produces a splash and every moment spent standing on the sideline risks pneumonia. 

Perhaps in preparing to deal with tough physical conditions, the Eagles have come around to addressing some other things that could be remedied by an increased focus. It takes planning, understanding and solutions to overcome any of the obstacles recently faced, and it appears as if Georgia Southern has found the key to thriving under many different kinds of adversity.

So while nothing has come easy for the newly bowl-eligible Eagles, maybe that’s the way things had to go to get them to this point.