AN OPPOSING VIEW
Born and raised in Pensacola, Fla., Nathan Deen graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism in 2010. He said the only Florida game he attended since graduating was “the excruciating defeat to Georgia Southern.”
Funny how things work out. A year later, Deen is in first year of covering Georgia Southern for the Savannah Morning News. Deen has spent a lot of time down near the Georgia coast since college. He started out at a weekly before working as a sports reporter for two years at The Brunswick News.
Deen is this week’s guest for the View. Be sure to follow his coverage of the Eagles at SavannahNow.com and he’s a great follow on Twitter @NathanDeenSMN. Now on to this week’s questions.
1. Tell us a little about Coach Willie Fritz. Obviously, he’s good, leading the Eagles to the Sun Belt championship in his first season last year. But how would you characteristic his personality and management style?
Deen: Coach Fritz is a very nice man whose demeanor doesn’t change much. He’s all serious and all business when it comes to football. He treats every game the same whether its Georgia or The Citadel. He’s only concerned about winning and leaves it to the media to decide what the importance of each game is. He said this week if he has prepared for Georgia a different way than the rest of Georgia Southern’s opponents, he’s done something wrong.
2. The Eagles are now in their second year in FBS. What are some tangible and intangibles ways you’ve seen the program affected by that change?
Deen: I just think they’re excited about the prospect of going to a bowl game this season after not being able to play a postseason game for two years. This is a really big year for them, especially for the seniors.
3. It appears just from statistics that Georgia Southern’s offense hasn’t changed its general run-oriented philosophy. Is it much different in scheme or formation than the last time when it visited Athens?
Deen: Very different. It’s a type of triple-option, but the Eagles run it from the gun, and it is not as veer-oriented. It’s more of a zone blocking scheme. During the SEC Teleconference on Wednesday, Mark Richt said Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech used to be very similar, but not so much anymore.
4. Who are two or three players on the Eagles’ roster that you feel like could probably earn playing time at Georgia or another SEC team?
Deen: Let’s just say Georgia wouldn’t be hurting much at all from the loss of Nick Chubb if Matt Breida played there (not taking anything away from Keith Marshall and Sony Michel). I really believe he’s an NFL talent. He’s got great vision, he can accelerate through the holes, and he’s got breakaway speed. Defensively, I think Antwione Williams could play for anyone at linebacker. He’s got great size and great athleticism. He’s GSU’s top tackler with 73 on the season.
5. What’s the general view of Georgia Southern and/or its fans about coming to Athens to play between the hedges.
Deen: They want the win over Florida to be an afterthought. At least for this season, they want to be able to say they’re the best team in Georgia. A win over Georgia would do that.
DEEN’S PREDICTION: Georgia Southern hasn’t played well in its showcase games this season, losing to West Virginia and Appalachian State by a combined score of 75-13. The Eagles want to stop that trend and play to their potential in the national spotlight. They’ve looked good the last two weeks, and I think they’ll play well enough to stay in the game. Georgia has also struggled offensively lately, and the Eagles are playing great defense. But I still see the Bulldogs finding a way to win Saturday, 23-17.