GSU Opens Spring Football Camp - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

GSU Opens Spring Football Camp

The Willie Fritz era beginning on the field Tuesday afternoon on the banks of Eagle Creek.  Georgia Southern's football team practicing for more than two hours in a very upbeat... highly intense practice.

 

CLICK ON THE VIDEO LINK TO HEAR FROM HEAD COACH WILLIE FRITZ AND EAGLES' TIGHT END NARDO GOVAN.

 

SCHEDULE FOR REMAINDER OF CAMP:
Thursday, March 27, 4:15 p.m.
Friday, March 28, 4:45 p.m.
Saturday, March 29, 9:30 a.m.
Sunday, March 30, 2:45 p.m.
Tuesday, April 1, 4:15 p.m.
Thursday, April 3, 4:15 p.m.
Friday, April 4, 4:45 p.m.
Saturday, April 5, 9:30 a.m. – Paulson Stadium
Tuesday, April 8, 4:15 p.m. 
Thursday, April 10, 4:15 p.m.
Friday, April 11, 4:45 p.m.

Saturday, April 12, 12 p.m.
Blue-White Spring Game -- Paulson Stadium

Tuesday, April 15, 4:15 p.m.
Thursday, April 17, TBA – Paulson Stadium

 

RELEASE FROM GEORGIA SOUTHERN SPORTS INFORMATION:

Georgia Southern Completes Up-Tempo Practice on First Day
Eagles go back to the basics at beginning of spring practice

STATESBORO, Ga. – A new era began for Georgia Southern last March when the University accepted the Sun Belt Conference's invitation to join the league and move to the Football Bowl Subdivision. Another new era began in January when Coach Willie Fritz was named the Football program's ninth head coach. One thing remained consistent to the foundation set by Coach Erk Russell as the Eagles had their first practice on the banks of "Beautiful Eagle Creek" on Tuesday.

Twenty-four periods were on the Eagles' practice plan with a late afternoon full of individual and team drills, beginning with a focus period, stretching and special teams. Practice ended with Coach Fritz addressing his team, congratulating them on a good first day and letting them know that he expects even better when they are back on the practice fields Thursday.

"I was very excited about it (the first practice)," said Head Coach Willie Fritz. "I thought the kids did a very good job of adapting and learning what we are trying to do as far as practice is concerned. For the most part, I thought it went pretty well. It was still a first-day practice, but it was good, we learned quite a bit today."

Georgia Southern's first practice polished off some of the rust four months after the season-ending victory against Florida in "The Swamp." Coach Fritz and his staff have introduced new terminology with the spread option offense and plan on installing as much as 70 to 80 percent of the package by the end of spring ball. For today, however, it was first things first – evaluating players on the field and their effort.

"We have to go in, look at the tape and look at it and see who is doing things right and wrong," Fritz said. "The main thing we're looking for is effort. These kids are very coachable, they do a good job of learning and they love football and for the most part I thought they did a very good job of doing what they were instructed to do." 

TO SAY THE LEAST
In 2013, Georgia Southern led the nation in yards per completion with 19.26 yards per catch, but on only 102 attempts and 52 completions. In two games, Chattanooga and Florida, the Eagles did not complete a single pass, but won both games. In comparison, Sam Houston State completed 179 passes last season for 2,598 yards, or 185.6 yards per game. 

Fritz estimated the 2014 Eagles would throw 15-25 passes per game and was impressed with sophomore Kevin Ellison and redshirt freshman L.A. Ramsby. Five quarterbacks, Ellison, Ramsby, sophomore Vegas Harley, sophomore Favian Upshaw and redshirt freshman Jake Clemens were dressed in red jerseys and worked with Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach Doug Ruse.

"Kevin threw the really ball well today, that was kind of the unknown because he didn't throw the ball a whole lot last season," said Coach Fritz. "I thought he threw the ball extremely well and I was really impressed. He (Kevin) manages the game well, he has a lot of charisma when he gets out there and is at the line of scrimmage. I thought the same thing with L.A., I was impressed with him as well, you can tell that he has played a lot of football, and was in a very good program, a state champs in Ohio. For a guy missing basically all last fall because of injury, I thought he did an excellent job today as well."

START OF THE JOURNEY
Georgia Southern players crossed over the bridge over Eagle Creek with several coming from the Parrish Football Center in position and class groups. Like the Eagles, Coach Fritz hit the ground on the north side of the bridge running to the field.

"There are so many great traditions here, that being one of them, going over the bridge and running onto the field," Fritz said. "There is so much history here and it's exciting to me to embrace all of it."

FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE FOR FREEDOM
Georgia Southern University's live mascot Freedom and Director of the Center for Wildlife Education Steve Hein paid a visit to the first spring practice. Freedom, who flies from the top of the Paulson Stadium to Glenn Bryant Field before games, spent some time on the sidelines and posing for photos. Freedom had his first day of his "preseason" training at Paulson on Monday.

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