Tim's Take: Willie Fritz - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Tim's Take: Willie Fritz

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STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) -

Saturday pressure is one thing in college football, but it's nothing compared to the pressure of the last 18 days in Statesboro for the man selected and the one doing the selecting in Georgia Southern's most important coaching hire since Erk Russell.

"I told him, you're not going to have to change this program, we're winning,'' said GSU athletic director Tom Kleinlein after introducing Willie Fritz as the Eagles' new coach. "The change you're going to have here is you're going to have to take a winning program and move it from a good program, a great program, to an unbelievable nationally ranked program at the highest level. That's the challenge, but he embraces it.''

Fritz gave Eagle fans the first reasons to embrace him today by saying he would value Southern's past such as the triple-option offense and the signature yellow school buses players ride to Paulson Stadium on game days a s he leads the program to its future.

"We've got to go out and find, really BCS players to win a lot at the FBS level,'' he said.

It will take more than an afternoon to decide if Fritz is the right guy to shepherd that transition.

Even his FCS success with Sam Houston State, which was at least equal to Jeff Monken's success, doesn't guarantee he can duplicate it at the next level.

But what he said about himself this afternoon should work wherever he is.

"I've learned everywhere I've been that going out, being honest and working hard is the key to being successful," said Fritz.

Eagle fans have been here four times in the last nine years, looking for the next coach in a line of good ones.

They have already seen that a big name isn't always the best fit. Most recently, they saw that someone with a smaller identity can do big things.

What Fritz hopes to show is that it will take someone who's been where they were to get them where they want to go.

"This guy was successful with limited resources,'' said Kleinlein. "And he was successful not only with his people, he was successful with people other people recruited.''

Fritz joins a work in progress again now, a critical addition to one of the most important steps Georgia Southern football has ever taken.

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