Wes Muilenburg/Dawg Post

Georgia Southern sure can run

ATHENS - Mark Richt this week naturally has talked up Georgia Southern’s ability to move the ball on the ground, mentioning the triple-option Eagles are No. 1 nationally in rushing average at 378.9 per game.

“These guys are really, really good and they’re fast and they’re agile, they’re tough and they just keep coming off it,” Richt said. “They’re leading the nation in rushing for a reason.”

The flip side is that Georgia Southern, like other option teams, doesn’t offer much of a threat in the passing game.

The Eagles rank last in the nation in passing yardage at 64.1 per game. That’s just ahead of service academy teams Navy, Army and Air Force.

“You get into a game and you have a plan and things start working and you kind of start tilting that way whether it’s run or pass,” Georgia Southern coach Willie Fritz said. “We’re always going to run the ball a bunch, but we’re going to take some shots ourselves. We hit a couple and should have had three wide open TDs this past week (against Troy in a 45-10 win).”

So Georgia shouldn’t sleep on the Eagles’ passing game.

“If they have their eyes in the wrong place,” Fritz said, “hopefully we can make them pay for it and have a big play out of it.”

This and that

Richt on his memories of his interactions with the late Erk Russell, the former Georgia defensive coordinator and national championship winning head coach at Georgia Southern: “Early on, we were very excited about learning about Georgia tradition and you can’t talk about Georgia football without talking about Erk Russell, Coach Russell,” Richt said. “He was gracious enough to come visit us when we asked him to come and just talk about Junkyard Dawgs. He gave us a nice dissertation of where G.A.T.A came from. That was pretty cool. He made a great impression on us. Thankfully we videoed it and we’ve been able to use it over the years as well.” …Tailback Keith Marshall (ankle) looked better Wednesday than Tuesday, Richt said. “He’s getting closer to being ready. I’m thinking he’ll be ready to go.” …Freshman inside linebacker Roquan Smith practiced Wednesday in a non-contact jersey after sustaining a concussion Saturday. Richt expects him to be a in a regular jersey Thursday, which means he could play Saturday. “They’re all different,” Richt said. “You go by symptoms more than time.” ….Georgia completed its Wednesday practice with rain towards the end of the two-hour session in full pads. “We got it in,” Richt said afterwards with his jacket wet. “We just caught a good window of time. We got a little bit of rain at the end, but not bad.” Georgia has used its FieldTurf practice fields extensively due to rain in recent weeks.

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