STATESBORO, Ga. — Georgia Southern’s backfield won’t be a three-headed monster this season, but it may be a lot more than just a one-two punch.
With Matt Breida graduating and now working his way up the ladder with the San Francisco 49ers – he’s predicted to a make a roster spot this season – L.A. Ramsby and Wesley Fields enter 2017 as the Eagles’ most experienced running backs.
Breida, Ramsby and Fields helped orchestrate one of the most productive seasons in Georgia Southern’s history in 2015, when the Eagles led the nation with 4,719 rushing yards.
Breida led the pack with 1,608 yards and 17 scores, Ramsby had 813 yards and 13 scores, and Fields tallied 682 yards as a freshman.
Ramsby and Fields may be the faces of new offensive coordinator Bryan Cook’s triple-option offense, but the Eagles have a deep enough stable that someone else is likely to have a big season.
With 5-foot-6, 165-pound speedster Myles Campbell moving to slotback, Demarcus Godfrey and Monteo Garrett improving over the offseason and a bevy of freshmen making early impressions, the possibilities seem, well …
“I think it’s endless, really,” Campbell said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys that can make plays. We’ve got old guys who are playing, we’ve got young guys that are making plays. We can put anyone in there, and I believe they’ll make a play.”
Campbell, who played receiver last year and was second on the team in receptions and caught a team-high four touchdowns, sees himself as a playmaker from the slotback, and he’ll likely be backed up by freshman and former Benedictine standout Wesley Kennedy.
“We’re going to do everything, whether it’s run the ball, catch the ball,” Campbell said about the slotbacks. “We’re just out there to make plays. Whenever our number is called, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Then there are the true finesse running backs in Ramsby, Fields, Godfrey and Garrett, and behind them sit four freshmen – Matt LaRoche, Grant Walker, Brian Wright and Logan Wright.
“We’ve got four or five right now we feel like we can go win a football game with,” Cook said. “They’re different. Each one of those guys brings a little different skill set, but I think there’s three of them between L.A. and Wesley and Demarcus Godfrey who bring a similar skillset.”
Ramsby, known more for his ability to power through the middle, has dropped a few pounds since he had offseason surgery for a torn labrum, and Fields, known more for his dexterity to break runs to the outside, has lost weight.
Both are listed at 200 pounds on the team’s roster.
“I’m finally in the 200-plus club,” Fields said. “That’ll be a big change this year. I feel more explosive. I feel like I got a lot faster. It’s going to be a good unit just showcasing the skills and the hard work we did this summer.”
Fields added he thinks he can run up the middle when called upon just as well as Ramsby can take a pitch to the outside.
“We’re both versatile and we can both do the same thing,” he said. “It’s good that we can do the same thing because it keeps the defense guessing and we won’t be one dimensional.”
Cook can see that versatility from all of his running backs, and so far he hasn’t put a label on any of them as an A-back or B-back.
“We’ve got some guys who are really good in space but in the last six months have developed as inside runners,” he said. “We don’t say this guy is an inside runner, this guy is an outside runner. I think they’re all running backs, and we’re going to need to develop every bit what they’re going to need.”