Five Most Interesting Sun Belt Spring Practices
By BJ Bennett
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Five Sun Belt teams set for fascinating spring practices.
Though it feels like the college football season just ended, 2017 spring practice in the Sun Belt is almost here. The five teams below will have the five most interesting practice sessions;
Coastal Carolina -- Setting the tone, for the Chanticleers, starts here. In practices, Coastal Carolina will be laying the foundation for its FBS debut. There should be a great energy in camp in Conway given the excitement that lies ahead, a full Sun Belt schedule and non-conference pairings with Arkansas and UMass, at home, among others. Keep an eye on Syracuse-graduate transfer Austin Wilson, 6'3'', 220 pounds, at quarterback.
Georgia Southern -- The addition of Georgia Tech's Bryan Cook as offensive coordinator suggests a return to a more familiar style offensively for the Eagles. Spring will be all about everyone getting on the same page, establishing a basis of chemistry and timing. Quarterbacks Kevin Ellison and Favian Upshaw must be replaced and sophomore returnee Seth Shuman will compete with redshirt junior LaBaron Anthony, Alabama State-transfer Ellis Richardson and redshirt freshman Shai Werts. The meshing of scheme and skill will be an intriguing one this spring.
Georgia State -- Former South Carolina interim head coach Shawn Elliott takes over for Trent Miles in Atlanta. Coordinators Travis Trickett and Nate Fuqua will look to set baselines as the staff gels with the returning roster. A healthy Penny Hart, one of the nation's best receivers, would be a great starting point. He and quarterback Conner Manning need to get back on the same page with their rhythm and timing.
Idaho -- The Vandals won five straight to end last season, averaging 45.7 points per game over their final four. Expectations are high for Idaho's last year in the Sun Belt and the Vandals will take the field with the look of a contender. Veteran quarterback Matt Linehan is back to lead a group that has a lot of experience and will look to take the next step with a strong showing in spring.
Louisiana -- Elijah McGuire ranks in the top 20 in college football history with 5,695 yards from scrimmage; for point of reference, that total is more than LaDainian Tomlinson had in his college career. Replacing his production must be the team's number one priority. A new depth chart at quarterback must also be established. Out wide, SMU-transfer Ryheem Malone brings some playmaking ability to the perimeter.