Accompanied by KSU’s Director of AthleticsVaughn Williams and Director of Athletic Communications Al Barba, KSU football coach Brian Bohannon gave a briefing on the progression of Owls football as a guest speaker at the Georgia Sports Writer’s Association’s meeting and awards dinner, held Sunday afternoon at the Marietta Daily Journal offices.
Bohannon’s enthusiasm energized the room as he gleamed about the future of the football program, which is set to kickoff in the Fall of 2015.
“KSU is the best kept secret in the south,” Bohannon said. “When Erk Russell began his program at Georgia Southern, he had to go across the street to buy a football for a press conference. We’ve already got so much in place here.”
“The kids aren’t even asking about the weight room because everything around this campus is so exciting to them,” Bohannon said.
No, the Owls don’t have a weight room—yet. What Bohannon has learned, however, is that the 24,000 student University, featuring top-end housing, dining, and a new stadium have helped make the recruiting pitch much easier than what most start-up programs have to deal with.
“I had driven by the stadium a few times before, but never had actually been in it. Once I walked in I started getting excited, and as soon as I saw the locker room I knew this was where I wanted to be,” Bohannon said.
Bohannon said at least 25 families have visited in the past month as the staff have officially begun the recruiting process.
Freshman commits who enter next year will be redshirt freshman, while the rest of the first team will be composed of true freshman in the 2015 season and walkons. The team will hold open tryouts to get current students involved, and will begin practicing next Fall.
“It’s two years away, but man it’s going to be here before you know it,” Bohannon said.
Part of Bohannon’s pitch to prospective players will be his unique offense, which will be an evolution of the triple-option— the offense Bohannon learned as a 17-year disciple of former Georgia Southern and current Georgia Tech head coach, Paul Johnson.
When asked about pitching the idea of a niche offense during the recruiting process, Bohannon described a more reactionary approach to building the system.
“We’re going to run the usual under-center, triple-option,” Bohannaon said. “But, we’re also going to be in the gun. It’ll be more of a pistol type attack.”
“Whatever our guy is more comfortable in, that’s what we’ll do,” Bohannon said.
As far as the defense is concerned, the plan is to run a 3-4/4-2-5 hybrid. Bohannon said the defensive coordinator has already been hired, but the announcement will not come until later this month.
Grant Chestnut was hired on April 16 to be the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. Other hires include Shane Bowen (assistant coach), Tim Glanton (A-backs coach), Brett Gilliland (quarterbacks, B-backs coach) and Liam Klein (assistant coach).
Williams insisted that there have been no further developments on what conference affiliation the Owls will make by the time kickoff comes around, other than the fact the Southern Conference has been scrapped as a possibility.
“We just are focused on finding a place to play football,” Williams said. “We’re also very happy with the Atlantic Sun Conference; it has some great athletes.”
KSU has seen much success in the A-Sun, and Williams indicated that the plan is to implement football as an associate member to a football conference. The A-Sun currently does not sponsor football.
Conference possibilities that were mentioned include the Ohio Valley, Big South and Colonial Athletic Association. KSU’s rival, Mercer, which begins play this fall, will join the Southern Conference along with East Tennessee State, which is re-starting its program.
Bohannon doesn’t see the team trying to make a quick jump up the ladder, either. Georgia State, which began its program just three seasons ago, is set to play at the FBS level this season as a member of the Sun Belt. Georgia Southern is also beginning play as a Sun Belt member in 2014.