Matt: Obviously, the story for Georgia Southern is the QB position, with Kevin Ellison being lost to suspension for two games. What's the outlook for the backup and how much of a drop off are you expecting?
Haisten: I wish this wasn't the story for us but you're exactly right. Our backup, Favian Upshaw, played a lot last season and not just in garbage time. Coach Fritz basically used a two-quarterback system ala Steve Spurrier, although Ellison definitely played more. Upshaw is extremely fast and may be able to pass a little better than Ellison, but doesn't seem quite as comfortable running the offense. The other question, if we still rotate out two quarterbacks, is how well the new second-stringer plays.
Matt: The triple option means run, run, and more run; but do the Eagles have any sort of WR threat that can be used to keep WVU's defense honest?
Haisten: We run sort of a hybrid option at this point, a little more Auburn and a little less Georgia Tech. Our top receiver comes back this year but the No. 2 and 3 guys left. In 2014 we had some killer long-bomb passes in the early games but seemed to rely on the run more as the season progressed. We definitely like to pass in order to open up the run, like everyone else, and word on the street is coach Fritz wants to do more throwing this year than last year. If it works, watch out!
Matt: This really is a clash of styles. Do you expect for the Eagles to stay in this thing by controlling TOP and can the defense defend the big play enough to keep it close?
Haisten: Time of possession is always what you're looking for as a running team. Keep the defense on the field, wear them down and frustrate them with a steady stream of four and five-yard plays. Our secondary has historically been a weakness and is one thing I'm especially worried about. A couple of picks will go a long way toward keeping us in this game.
Matt: What's the general outlook for the season at large? Is there potential to run the table in the Sun Belt again?
Haisten: Southern fans definitely feel we can repeat as Sun Belt champions. Ellison will be back for the conference slate and the biggest question at that point will be how we fare with four new starters on the offensive line. Fritz is still just in his second year and we're all excited to see how it plays out this time around.
Matt: (Bonus) Who would win in a race between Sonic the Hedgehog and The Flash?
Haisten: I was firmly in the Nintendo camp during the SNES-Sega Genesis wars. Therefore I'll go with The Flash.
Thanks again to Haisten for the insights, and I'm looking forward to another season of Staring Down the Musket. You can follow Haisten on Twitter