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Weekly Whatup, 11/17
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            Six wins, five losses – that’s how the season ended. For the third straight year there was no conference championship or no playoff appearance. When Chris Hatcher took over the program prior to the 2007 season, he promised the Eagle Nation at his press conference that Georgia Southern would add to the eight conference titles and 16 postseason berths and add to it quickly.

            Two seasons later GSU is still mired in the middle of the pack of the Southern Conference.

            Now, 2009 becomes a season filled with more pressure and anticipation than the last three seasons combined. Hatcher has his kids, his system and his program up and running. He was four points away from being 9-2 and 24 points away from being 2-9. He also has to play Elon, Appalachian State and Wofford on the road next year – teams he is 2-4 against.  

            What do Hatcher and the Eagles need to do in ’09 to get back into the postseason field? Here’s a list of five potential answers:


No. 1: Play defense

            The Furman game not withstanding – where Southern had the Paladins stumped – the Eagles need to find their niche on defense.

            Georgia Southern is at or near the bottom of the league in scoring defense, total defense, rushing defense, pass defense, interceptions, opponent first downs and red zone defense.

            With names like Chris Covington, Larry Beard, Dakota Walker and Quentin Taylor departing, the Eagles are going to have to find a way to sure up the D in one of the best offensive leagues in the country.


No. 2: Create turnovers

            Georgia Southern’s turnover margin was -17 in 2008 – that’s almost hard to do and still have a winning record.

            If the Eagles want to return to their winning ways, they have to find a way to steal the ball from their opponents, capitalize with points off those turnovers all while doing a much better job of protecting the football.


No. 3: Whose House?

            The stadium chant seems kind of silly when GSU’s record has turned into a dismal 8-11 at Paulson Stadium (6-6 under Hatcher). Hatcher is a big believer in the tradition, history and fun that goes along with college football.

Winning at home in front of the blue-and-white clad fans should be a top priority.


No. 4: Punch it in

            The Eagles entered their opponents’ 20 yard line 45 times in the 2008, scoring on 38 of those possessions. That’s pretty good.

            But nine times GSU had to settle for a field goal (they made seven), something which we know irks Hatcher as an offensive coach. Even more disheartening is that GSU tied for the league lead in red zone turnovers with five. Just think where the Eagles might’ve landed had those five miscues turned into touchdowns.


No. 5: Consistent QB play

            Antonio Henton and Lee Chapple. I’m sure by now everyone has a favorite.

            But whichever ends up behind center, one is going to have to take charge of the offense to give GSU some stability on the offensive end.

            A two quarterback system can work if you have two good ones – which Hatcher does – but if both are having a bad day, whom do you look toward next?