It would be a stretch to say the Tyson Summers era is going according to plan. The Eagles went 5-7 in Summers's debut campaign last season and, after falling from 24th to 101st in yards per play, Summers dismissed his co-offensive coordinators -- who are now suing the school for an alleged breach of contract.
Armed with a renewed commitment to the triple option, the Eagels' trademark attack has been a work in progress. Georgia Southern averages 3.45 yards per carry, 105th in FBS, and their one rushing touchdown is the fewest in major college football.
The Eagles are off to an 0-3 start this season, falling 41-7 to Auburn, 22-12 to New Hampshire and 52-17 to Indiana.
Still, AD Tom Kleinlein is pledging patience for Summers and his coaching staff.
“Right now, our football program is challenged, we’re struggling a little bit on the field, but I think there’s a lot of good things going on in our program, a lot of good things going on behind the scenes,” Kleinlein said in a video released by the athletics department. “Our kids are competing, our kids are desiring to win, our coaching staff is working really hard.
“I think one of the things people forget sometimes is this is a process. We’re moving our program to FBS football, and in the first two years we were highly successful, and I think that might’ve disillusioned some people into how hard this really is. You look at other programs that have made the jump that we have, and you look at the success that they had, they’ve all gone through periods where things have been challenging, and right now we’re going through that period. I’m very confident that our football coaches and our staff and our players are doing the things that we need to do to be successful, and we’ll get this thing turned around in the long run.”
No fan base likes losing, but Georgia Southern is not accustomed to the feeling at all. The program holds a .671 lifetime winning percentage, with 11 conference championships and six national championships. More importantly, the Eagles experienced immediate success upon moving into FBS; Willie Fritz led the program to a 9-3 mark and an undefeated Sun Belt championship in the school's first year in the conference, and then an 8-4 record and a trip to the GoDaddy Bowl in 2015.
So it can be a little hard for fans to stomach the "hang with us, FBS isn't easy" routine when the previous coach made it look, well, easy.