Originally created 08/07/02

Eagles see competitor at fullback

STATESBORO - Brandon Andrews remembers when standing on the sidelines meant you needed a breather.

Now he's just hoping to get playing time when another Georgia Southern fullback needs a breather.

Andrews, who starred at Swainsboro High only two years ago, stood with a group of three Eagles fullbacks during Tuesday's Media Day - and all three are vying for time behind starter Hakim Ford and backup Jermaine Austin.

But there was a time when Andrews hardly knew his way to the sidelines. He ran for 2,814 yards and 33 touchdowns during the Tigers' Class AAA state championship run in 2000.

"It's very humbling," Andrews said, "to go from being where I was to having to prove myself all over again."

With his ability to produce quick bursts of speed, the 5-foot-9, 201-pound Andrews appeared to be a perfect fit for Southern's quick-hitting, fullback-oriented offensive attack.

And it looked like he was coming at just the right time. All-America fullback Adrian Peterson would be leaving in 2002, allowing Andrews a redshirt year before he inherited the job.

Now others are in the way and Andrews, a freshman, admits looking toward slotback.

"I just want to get on the field," he said.

No one doubts Andrews' running ability. In a spring scrimmage, he rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown. He scored a touchdown in another scrimmage.

A knee injury kept Andrews out of the Eagles' Blue-White spring game.

"It's the other aspects of his game that he needs to pick up," said GSU coach Mike Sewak. "He has to take the other aspects of his game to the collegiate level."

Sewak is talking about carrying out fakes, blocking and being less fumble prone.

"Right now, I think it's good for all those guys to have a new guy here, seeing everyone fresh," said GSU's offensive coordinator Mitch Ware, who joined the staff in January. "As I told the guys, we don't have a No. 3 (at fullback). Brandon has to work on consistency. I look for him to respond and have a good fall camp."

So Andrews begins preseason workouts just trying to get on the depth charts. Larry Long, Benjie Shirah and incoming freshman Bryce Carter also are trying to unseat Ford and Austin at No. 1 and No. 2.


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