Tag Archives: Georgia Southern

Zi’Yon Hill-Green: Name change, but same game

It is not often that a player changes his name. In Zyon Hill’s case, the Father’s Day change to the new name (nearly a half-year ago) was an ode to his stepfather. Chris Green had been raising Hill since he was one years old.

On the field, there haven’t been many alterations for the 6-foot, 290-pounder’s game. He has always played bigger than his size and that has resulted in a number of challenges over time.

Entering the team’s final game against Texas State, Louisiana needs Hill-Green to put his best foot forward. A win could ensure the Ragin Cajuns a sixth win and possible bowl berth.

But there is more on the line for Hill-Green.

Over the years, he’s dealt with a bevy of scrapes and bruises that have forced some missed starts. In 2021, he even missed time due to a lower body injury.

“His career here started with an injury…..in the summer when he got here,” ULL-head coach Michael Desormeaux said. “It seems like for him it’s been battling that, managing that and pushing through those things his whole career. Our kids see him every day, they know the shape that he’s in after a game.” (https://ragincajuns.com/news/2022/10/31/football-michael-desormeaux-press-conference-oct-31-2022.aspx).

It has truly been a full body experience for the sixth-year Super Senior.

Zi'Yon Green-Hill working in the pregame vs. UAB in 2020
Green-Hill (No. 4 pictured) put together one of the better performances in school history this past season,

Despite the setbacks, Hill-Green’s school-record 21.5 career quarterback sacks have come due to a combination of quickness, lower body torque and endurance. Frequently, he has been at his best late in games (see Georgia Southern ’20).

The former Catholic High School (La.) product plays like he weighs at least 20-to-30 more pounds with the heavy-handed approach taking on guards or double teams. Not only does he fight versus double teams, but he can win by playing to half a man as a pass rusher. All in all, it has resulted in an impressive total of 33 tackles for losses. Hill-Green is a big reason the team has played in four conference championship games the last four seasons.

It is a not a fact that gets lost on first-year Louisiana head coach Michael Desormeaux, who himself put up two 1,000-yard rushing seasons as a former standout quarterback at the school.

“On the field, it’s easy to see how important he (Hill-Green) is,” Desormeaux explained. “In the run game, the throw game, he’s constantly putting pressure on the quarterbacks. He wins one-on-one battles. He commands a double team and when he doesn’t get one, he’s a problem for the other team.”

And on the days when Hill-Green has not been able to practice due to the myriad of injury hiccups?

“He’s coaching the D-line, the other guys that are in there,” said Desormeaux. “It’s not a day off for him. That’s why he is able to go out and perform at a high level. The guy knows the defense front and back.”

Hill-Green posted just one tackle versus Florida State in a 49-17 defeat last weekend.

Facing a pass-oriented offense this time around against Layne Hatcher and the Texas State Bobcats, can Hill-Green pick up at least a half-sack to break the school record?

Perhaps as long as things get back to normal and don’t change as they did a week ago.

JARED

In today’s world of college football, freshmen are often tasked with making an immediate impact. How many can get it done in a variety of ways from a mental perspective?

Quarterback Grayson McCall returned from a late injury against Georgia State the week prior to not only lead the Chanticleers to a 34-30 back-and-forth victory over Georgia Southern, but he did it to the tune of 335 yards passing with 34 more yards on the ground.

Grayson McCall rolling to his right vs. Georgia State in 2022
Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall is asked to run a spread triple option attack which features RPO slants/posts and outside the numbers throws.

For his efforts, McCall was named the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week. With just over 10 minutes remaining in the game, McCall threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Tyler Roberts on a post route in-between two defenders to cut Georgia Southern’s lead to 24-21.

So who else was he throwing the ball to?

Enter Jared Brown. His 61-yard touchdown reception versus the Eagles put the Chanticleers 28-27 in the fourth quarter. It was the team’s first lead since the beginning of the first quarter. Needless to say, Head Coach Jamey Chadwell was not surprised.

“He (McCall) pumped to the right, they covered a couple of guys there to the right…he found Jared, we had great protection,” Chadwell explained. “He had a huge pocket that was very clean, and he put that throw right over there and then JB (Jared Brown) has some speed. He outran all those guys.”
——Coach Chadwell Radio Show (October 5, 2022)

Brown came into the season perhaps lightly regarded with the addition of Georgia State transfer Sam Pinckney, who has been no slouch either in his teal and black debut season (28 receptions for 377 yards, 13.5 YPR, TD).

But teams preparing for the Chanticleers have to take notice of the ever-emerging redshirt freshman, currently ranked fourth in the conference in yards per reception through five weeks (20.63).

Why?

Jared Brown goes in motion for the Chanticleers
Jared Brown (No. 14 pictured) is often brought in motion for the Chanticleers or lines up in the backfield as part of their triple option spread attack.

You don’t know where Jared Brown will line up. On the first play of the Georgia State contest (9-22-22), he lined up at an offset position (shotgun) in the backfield and scored on a 50-yard wheel route reception from McCall up the left sidelines. Later, he outpaced the Panthers defense after receiving a forward pitch from McCall on a 53-yard touchdown reception that was originally scheduled to be a pitch on a triple option.

Two 50-yard plus touchdown receptions in one quarter.

They bring him in motion as part of the team’s triple option spread attack as the pitch element. He comes in speed motion to provide eye dirt for linebackers when they’re running their speed inside zone reads. He lines up outside or in the slot.

Remember that part when we talked about him being a redshirt freshman.

At this point, he is shining in a myriad of roles.

That glow is reminiscent of Jared.

You know, the jewelry.

So far, he’s been a gift for the Chanticleers.

Shai Werts QB-Louisville (2021), Georgia Southern: Scouting Snapshot

The decision by the NCAA to give everyone an extra year of eligibility gave Werts a new lease on life as a college football player. It is not like he hasn’t produced at Georgia Southern. In fact, prior to announcing on Twitter that he had entered the transfer portal (eventually committed to Louisville), the now former Eagle finished off his career with an MVP performance in the 2020 New Orleans Bowl. In that contest, he sliced up the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs with a 65-yard touchdown strike that traveled 52 yards in the air. He finished with 126 yards passing and one touchdown, while rushing for 71 yards and three more scores.

Due to the Eagles spread option attack, some felt Werts would look to throw the ball more at another school. However, he has been working at the wide receiver spot in possible hopes of a transition to that spot potentially in the ACC. In four seasons as the team’s starting quarterback, Werts finished with 3,778 yards passing (57%), 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Perhaps just as impressively, he rushed for 3,072 yards (4.4 YPC) and 34 more scores.

Werts has a bevy of highlights, but his two-point conversion spin cycle throw to put the Eagles up by one point against Louisiana in 2020 serves as a true gauge of his multi-purpose capability.

Appalachian State vs. Georgia Southern, 10-25-18: In-game report

Appalachian State (5-2, 3-1)  and Georgia Southern (7-1, 4-0) met on Thursday night in a battle to decide supremacy in the Sun Belt conference.  Georgia Southern used its triple option offense and suffocating defense to defeat the Mountaineers, 34-14.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

44 Anthony Flory (6’1 230) Appalachian State LB- Senior 

Flory posted 87 tackles in 2017 and is well on his way to matching the total in 2018.

Flory is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who flows to the football and has the ability to form tackle.   He finished with 10 tackles against the Eagles. The senior linebacker trusted his eyes on numerous occasions and was usually the first to the football despite Georgia Southern cloaking a lot of their runs with misdirection. During a first quarter run by Eagles sophomore quarterback Shai Werts (5’11, 190), Flory not only set the edge and forced Werts to cut back, but he shed his blocker and made the tackle.  Flory should be able to also contribute as an outside linebacker at the next level despite playing as an inside linebacker in college because of his speed, strength and position IQ.  Look for Flory, who was named to the preseason All-Sun Belt first team, to continue to make plays at all sides of the field.

Georgia Southern triple option offense

The Eagles haven’t lost a game in the conference midway through the season and that’s because opposing defenses haven’t been able to solve their option attack.  Georgia Southern ranks fifth in the nation in rushing yards per game, averaging 275 yards.  Werts is the straw that stirs the drink and even if he isn’t running, his ability forces defenses to key in on him. The sophomore quarterback finished with 129 rushing yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. What makes the Eagles attack even more potent is that every once in a while, Werts can make a defense pay through the air. He completed a 57-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Darion Anderson (6’0, 185). It was Werts’ only completion of the night, but on the season, he has completed 57 percent of his passes and hasn’t thrown an interception.  Senior running back Wesley Fields (6’0, 205) adds another punch to the backfield alongside Werts.  He rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns on Thursday.  One thing for the team to monitor centers around ball security.  Georgia Southern recovered all three of its fumbles against the Mountaineers, but a team that runs as much as they do could be susceptible to fumbles. The Eagles only loss this season came to the second-ranked Clemson Tigers.  If this offense keeps playing this well, they could make a run into the nation’s Top 25. 

Georgia Southern defense

The Eagles defense was fast and played as a unit against Appalachian State.  It’s hard to point out one player, who stood out because so many different players made plays.  14 different players finished with at least two tackles. The Mountaineers scored 38 points and nearly upset Penn State earlier this season but against the Eagles, they couldn’t get anything going after their starting quarterback, sophomore Zac Thomas (6’1, 205), left with a concussion in the first quarter.  Georgia Southern forced four turnovers and didn’t turn the ball over themselves and right now they have a +19 turnover ratio. With a sound defense and a ball-controlling offense, Georgia Southern will be hard to take down in the Sun Belt.