The Georgia Southern Eagles are practicing straight through Thanksgiving to prepare themselves for their opening FCS playoff game against the Central Arkansas Bears. Why is this team practicing on that holiday?
The Georgia Southern Eagles are preparing for their FCS playoff game against the Central Arkansas Bears set for Dec. 1 at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro, Ga. In fact, they're preparing so much that they will work right through Thanksgiving to prepare for that playoff game. Eagles head coach Jeff Monken doesn't want to leave anything on the table in search of the school's seventh national championship:
"I don't want to have any regrets," said GSU coach Jeff Monken. "If we get beat by Central Arkansas, I want it to be because they're the better football team. They may be. They may beat us. But I don't want it to be because we didn't prepare, we didn't practice when we had the opportunity.
The extra week off should help the Eagles recover from some injuries. Backup quarterback Ezayi Youyoute, fullback Dominique Swope, defensive tackle Brent Russell and safety Darius Eubanks have all been battling injuries and cornerback Valdon Cooper dislocated his finger in the game against the Georgia Bulldogs. Russell and Swope both played against the Bulldogs and Youyoute did dress but did not play. Monken does know what the importance of this week will have regarding recovery from injuries:
"We really need this time to get healthy," Monken said. "Being here and being able to get multiple treatments throughout the day is going to be beneficial to those guys to get them healthy."
Despite not getting Thanksgiving Day off entirely, the members of the team from nearby will get to go home and have dinner with their families while players from out of town will have dinner with assistant coaches and their families.