How many people will you have around the Thanksgiving table tomorrow? Probably not as many people as there will be at a special Georgia Southern gathering. Players, coaches and coaches' families from Georgia Southern's football team are used to being in town and away from family as they prepare for playoffs.
WTOC talked with some of the women who'll feed the hungry team tomorrow. They'll cook plenty and open their homes to the players they call their extended family.
In between snaps at Georgia Southern practice, Chaz Williams will tell you touchdowns are more important than turkeys as the Eagles contend for another national title. With a game on Saturday, most players don't get home for the holiday.
"Having Thanksgiving with your teammates is a bonding experience," he said. "You sit around, laughing, joking with other players like family."
That's why coaches' wives like Robin Sewak include sometimes a dozen players at their Thanksgiving tables. "It's fun to see them outside football and realize they're kids, just kids, just people who want to have a place for Thanksgiving," she said.
She says, just like her own kids, the fun starts after lunch. One of the highlights of the day is taking on the Sewak boys in video football on the big screen. Chances are they'll play New Hampshire to prepare for Saturday.
But it still takes plenty of food to feed this army. "We'll have turkey and ham and I'll cook lots of vegetables and some of the other coaches will bring lots of deserts, so it's fun," said Judy Ware, wife of the offensive coordinator.
"There's a huge empathy, and you're always a mother, so you're always looking at the student athletes as your kids," added Patty Tresey, who's married to the team's defensive coordinator.
All hope a good meal Thursday leads to a good game Saturday. The only players who have the option to go home are the ones close enough to drive and come back the same day. But some of them still stay here to be with the team and get ready for the game.