The Georgia Southern football team wrapped up their 2022 spring football season with the annual Blue/White game Saturday afternoon at Paulson Stadium.
First year head coach Clay Helton got his first opportunity to hit the field with the Eagles with a good crowd on hand as around 4,000 fans came out and saw the Eagle offense put up over 700 yards of offense and 51 points as the White team beat the Blue team 51-28.
The format allowed the Eagle defense to receive points for things like sacks, turnovers and other defensive positives. The Eagle offense however was turnover free, and looked pretty sharp as they continue to install Helton’s new spread offense and new defense as well.
“We had kind of a Simple Simon package but I thought we had good execution, especially by the first offense,” said Helton. “The second half of this camp the offense has really hit their stride and have a little swagger about them with their confidence. Defensively we kept it really simple today especially with it being on television. The stars still showed up with guys like Justin Ellis and Dillon Springer in the backfield making plays.”
Leading the offense was Buffalo transfer quarterback Kyle Vantrease who was 16-25 for 217 yards and one touchdown. Vantrease feels the team has taken huge steps in the right direction and is excited about wrapping up spring and getting to know his teammates better.
“This being my sixth year I know what we need next and that is bonding,” said Vantrease. “Over the summer and into summer workouts that is the most important thing. A team that is connected is going to be a dangerous team. On the filed we just need more reps, but off the field is what is important right now.”
On the field Vantrease spread the ball around nicely with Houston transfer Jeremy Singleton getting the most targets (10) and receptions (6). Derwin Burgess led the way in yardage with three catches for 80 yards, while Khaleb Hood had three receptions and Sam Kennerson had the lone touchdown pass from Vantrease.
“People were making plays all over the field,” said Vantrease. “I trust throwing the ball to every guy out here. I trust handing the ball off to anyone back there and I trust our offensive line. That’s where it all starts and they did a great job today.”
Conner Cigelske took the majority of snaps with the second unit and went 7-10 for 87 yards and one touchdown which came on a nice run after catch by Darius Lewis who had 70 yards receiving on four receptions. Zak Rozsman was 4-7 for 37 yards with one touchdown and Cam Ransom was 4-6 for 37 yards.
On the ground Gerald Green led the way with 108 yards rushing and one touchdown while Jalen White added 39 yards and two touchdowns. Terron Dixon had the only other touchdown at running back.
The Eagle defense had their moments even though they did give up 51 points. Defensive back Tyler Bride feels that playing against a more conventional offense has already paid dividends this spring.
“It has definitely helped us a lot,” said Bride. “Playing the ball, seeing the ball in the air, open field tackling just seeing different looks has helped. We see the spread, the RPO, fade balls and that has helped us on both sides and I feel like it will help us into the season.”
Helton has said that the coaching staff will now get together and decide what areas they feel the Eagles need to address in the transfer portal and will start recruiting players out of the transfer portal next week.
“You get clarity as far as the transfer portal goes on May 1,” said Helton. “We will find out who is here and who is not. We have to produce an 85-man roster. We have decisions to make, players have decisions to make and as a coaching staff we have to produce the best team we can. We will begin recruiting May 2 over a four-week period and be recruiting the whole month of May.”