STATESBORO -- Tyson Summers is gone, but the under-center triple option won’t be returning Saturday when winless Georgia Southern plays at Sun Belt power Troy.
The earliest the stapled Georgia Southern tradition will return will be the 2018 season, and that’s if athletic director Tom Kleinlein wants to go in that direction and hire a coach with a triple-option reputation. His last two hires -- Summers and Willie Fritz -- have not had that kind of background.
Interim head coach Chad Lunsford and offensive coordinator Bryan Cook echoed each other this week when they were asked about what the Eagles’ offense will look like going forward this season. They’ll be sticking with the gun-option system that Georgia Southern has run all season. The Eagles are ranked 129th out of 130 teams in total offense.
“I don’t know if it’s fair to make an overhaul change to these kids,” Lunsford said Monday during his introductory press conference. “We’ve invested into what we’re doing. I do think we’re close on offense, we’re going down the right path. I have full faith in Coach Cook in what we’re going to do on offense, and he’s expressed to me the things he thinks will help.”
Cook agreed when he spoke to reporters on Tuesday and said all the work the offense has put into the first half of the season will go to waste if Georgia Southern makes a change now.
“We’ve invested so much time into what we’re doing right now, that it still needs time,” Cook said. “It still needs repetition. If you try to do something different, you take time away from getting better at the craft you’ve invested in. These guys have six games of learning under their belt, so if you start back at square one with something else, you lose those six games of experience that you’ve gained.”
And switching to an under-center, veer-oriented triple-option, like the one Cook was a part of as the quarterbacks coach at Georgia Tech last season, and having immediate success just isn’t realistic, he added.
“You can’t possibly do that stuff on a week of practice,” he said. “When I was at Georgia Tech, you were lucky if you could get a freshman ready by the end of preseason. To think you could do that in a week, you’re kidding yourself. It would look sloppy. I think for us what we need to do is get better at what we’re doing. You can’t possibly go run the veer in a week. It’d be an insult to the play.”