Thursday, July 27, 2017

Five burning questions for Southern, starting with the obvious: How does it replace Tillery and Quinn?

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana -- This is the biggest question facing Southern this season. It must find a way to replace production from its all-time leading rusher, Lenard Tillery, and its all-time leading receiver, Willie Quinn. Those two were a massive part of Southern’s success last season, accounting for nearly 3,000 yards and 26 touchdowns from scrimmage. That is a lot of game changing ability to replace in one year, and there's simply no clear answer yet. But, looking back on it, who would’ve thought a former walk on and a 5-foot-5 receiver would’ve made such a big impression when they first walked on to campus?

2: Can the defense carry the load?

The Jaguars’ explosive offense often overshadowed their big-play defense last season. Southern intercepted 19 passes — led by Danny Johnson’s SWAC-best seven interceptions — and also recovered 13 fumbles. A strong finish by defensive end Aaron Tiller (nine sacks) helped Southern rack up 24 sacks as a team, as well. And, unlike the offense, all of the big-name players are returning for 2017. This may be the year when Southern’s hopes are pinned largely to how well its defense performs, especially in momentum-swinging categories it scored well in last season like turnovers and sacks.


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