STATESBORO - Georgia Southern exceeded expectations last season by advancing to the FCS semifinals under first-year coach Jeff Monken.
Now the Eagles are considered favorites to challenge for a Southern Conference title, but Monken isn't impressed.
"We didn't win a championship," Monken said. "We have no championship rings from our conference. We were fortunate to make playoffs, we did, won a couple of games, so there's still a lot of us left to accomplish."
The nucleus of Georgia Southern's 10-5 season returns, and Monken doesn't fret for a lack of dangerous skill position players in his option offense and 4-3 defense.
Fullback Robert Brown and quarterback Jaybo Shaw, a Flowery Branch High grad, who combined to rush for 23 touchdowns and 1,518 yards last year, lead a backfield that includes slotbacks J.J. Wilcox and Johnathan Bryant.
Wilcox had 484 yards rushing and a team-high 551 yards receiving.
Bryant earned the starting slotback last year before he broke his leg in the season opener against Savannah State.
Brett Moore, a former backup long snapper, emerged last year as a team leader and is an all-conference tackle.
The defense is led by all-conference selections Laron Scott, a cornerback and return specialist, and tackle Brent Russell.
Scott had six interceptions and 1,161 kickoff return yards last year.
Russell finished with eight sacks.