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Georgia Southern Observations

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Notes from Georgia Southern spring football practice.

After spending Thursday on location in Statesboro, several themes were on display as the Eagles prepare for Saturday's scrimmage;

1. There is a very real energy around Georgia Southern. From athletic director Tom Kleinlein and head coach Willie Fritz, to the staff and players, optimism abounds. The momentum from last season's undefeated conference title run has carried over into workouts; the expectations are high for this fall. Saturday afternoon's intrasquad game will be a nice finish to what has been an upbeat spring. The Eagles will receive their Sun Belt championship rings at the scrimmage, which many former standouts are expected to attend.

2. A major point of emphasis during spring practice has been the passing game. Though Georgia Southern was certainly successful at times a year ago, current goals are to increase efficiency and productivity. Both Fritz and offensive coordinator Doug Ruse have talked of how they anticipate more yards being compiled through the air this season. Practice sessions have reflected such. After the leading the nation in rushing in 2014, the Eagles hope to become even more dynamic offensively. Receiver B.J. Johnson has been one of the stars of spring.

3. Leadership will continue to be a strength for Georgia Southern. The Eagles return a number of key veterans, such as safety Matt Dobson and linebacker Antwione Williams, who understand what it takes to be successful at the FBS level.

4. In various interviews with numerous people involved with the football program, there seems to be one completely-constant theme: a respect and appreciation for Georgia Southern's history and tradition. Whether referencing Erk Russell, past national championships or performances, Eagle Creek or the yellow school buses, players and administrations are clearly motivated by those who came before them.

5. The facilities in Statesboro are top-notch. In addition to an expanded Paulson Stadium, the Ted Smith Family Football Center is a spectacular showcase to all the Eagles have accomplished. A $10 million, 50,000-square foot building houses the locker room, offices, weight rooms and more. Awards and trophies make up a remarkable upstairs display, a floor which opens into a full-glass showcase of the adjoining field. Georgia Southern has a lot to be proud of with its latest addition.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports