TV, recruiting, punt formations – it’s a blog trifecta

Greetings, all-

Five gleanings from Tuesday’s press conference

1. Georgia State and Jacksonville State are already recruiting rivals. I guess it doesn’t come as a surprise. JSU is about two hours due west of Atlanta out I-20 and, obviously, has established itself at the FCS level. The Gamecocks have 29 players on their roster from Georgia, several from metro Atlanta. Bill Curry said Tuesday at his press conference that his staff goes up against Georgia Southern, Appalachian State and Jacksonville State a good bit in the area, as well as a lot of MAC schools.

As such, the game carries added importance in the battle for the allegiance of brawny 18-year-olds. At first, I wasn’t so sure. JSU and GSU are such disparate products at this time, both on the field and the schools themselves, that it’s hard to imagine a recruit taking into account how the two played against each other.

But I would say this. How the game goes – like if GSU gives JSU fits, or if the Gamecocks roll over the Panthers – it would certainly inform a recruit on how the two teams compare.

2. There doesn’t seem to be much excitement on the team about playing on television. This might have been the thing I was most surprised about from the press conference. Being on television, I’ve been told, is a pretty big deal for athletes of any stripe. When I covered the Falcons and they played on Monday night, they often talked about how excited they were to have that platform. Same thing when I covered Tech and they were on ESPN.

But both players at the press conference, safety Brandon Jones and running back Rosevelt Watson, completely downplayed the game being on CSS, and I don’t think they were parroting a company line. Obviously, CSS isn’t ESPN, but they didn’t seem to care much. If I were a GSU fan, I’d take that as a good sign.

3. Rosevelt Watson has 40 pairs of Air Jordans. He was wearing a pair yesterday and I commented on them and we started talking about them. He has multiples of a lot and I think he said he has every model that’s come out. Not sure what else I can add, but that is a lot of shoes. He said his mom pays for them.

4. Curry has plenty of respect for Jacksonville State. He was asked about what he could learn anything from watching a team like Jacksonville State, and he was saying you can learn something from watching any well-coached team. He said that his staff had worked months trying to find an unconventional punt formation that would be hard for teams to prepare for, and then when he started watching video of Jacksonville State, he realized they had the exact same formation.

“We don’t know quite how that happened,” Curry said.

5. However, Curry is hoping for an emotional letdown from Jacksonville State. JSU has played two big games in a row, the win over Ole Miss and then a comeback win over Tennessee-Chattanooga, in the dedication game of the Gamecocks’ expanded stadium. On top of that, both were comeback wins, which require a lot of emotional and physical energy. It sounds like Jacksonville State is pretty revved up about playing in the Georgia Dome – the school has sold its 1,000-ticket allotment and fans are still buying more tickets.

Curry noted, however, that it’s “incredibly difficult” to play three emotional games consecutively. If the Panthers play their best, he said, “then we’ve got a chance to compete.”

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67 comments Add your comment


September 15th, 2010
10:20 am

Great to see the game on TV! I wish they would have all the games…even if it was on a local access channel. I think that helps with recruiting of fans as well as players.

Go State!

Go Jackets!!!


September 15th, 2010
10:30 am

Ken, can you give to info about what set of skills and abilities that made Hughes, a true freshman, get the starting nod at cornerback


September 15th, 2010
10:38 am


Najeh Davenpoop

September 15th, 2010
10:58 am

Enjoy this blog while you can. Once those ad dollars sail away…

I remember when I could follow UGA gymnastics through the until those ad dollars went away. And then, as they say, that was that.


September 15th, 2010
11:19 am

While we can? Where’s the advertising dollars going away to? We generate more than $4 million from student fees directly for football. We wil llikely play one FBS team per year to completely pay for our Georgia Dome lease.

It’s football man, not gymnastics.


September 15th, 2010
11:51 am

The only thing the Owls will ever be better at is Hockey

Doc Cheney

September 15th, 2010
12:29 pm

I went to the inaugural game the Dome. It was awesome. I groped a girl in the beer line. She seemed mad, but probably more embarassed than anything. Go Panthers!!


September 15th, 2010
12:30 pm

UGA fans tend to struggle with math at times Ben take it easy!


September 15th, 2010
12:31 pm

This game will tell us a lot about our team. JSU is a quality program. Similarly, we will be able to tell which QB is the real deal. I am growing soft on the notion of Drew Little as the long-term solution. From what I can tell, Kelton Hill has out played Little in games. Whoever is able to run this team against JSU–Little, Hill, or Jackson–should probably solidify their position as starter.


September 15th, 2010
12:39 pm

KSU’s mascot is an owl, really?


September 15th, 2010
1:45 pm

Ken, thanks for the blog. It gives me access to information that I crave, despite being in another country. I can’t wait to go to a game when I return to the good ‘ol US of A. Go Panthers!

Johnny Comelately

September 15th, 2010
1:48 pm

I am glad GSU has a team. I have been to both home games. I like to sit close to the field because the cheerleaders are really pretty. I like to touch myself.
Johnny Isakson


September 15th, 2010
3:07 pm

The article written after the Shorter game said everything. The lack of urgency, goofing off, and cockiness will hurt you every time. It was Shorter, not the Crimson Tide. Once that attitude sets in, its hard to break it.

GSU made too many mental errors against Lambuth. 1.)Punts were horrible. The long snapper or someone else ran down the field with no idea of where the ball was. On every punt, someone was running into the ball. No excuse.

2.) Penalties- ok some of these kids are playing college football for the first time. But they’ve played before right? Looks like UGA of last year.

3.) turnovers-nothing else I can say on that

4.) lack of execution and effort-GSU is way more athletic than Lambuth. GSU made plays such as fumble recoveries, 3rd down stops, and scored on a half-back pass. But there were drives that stalled b/c of a lack of execution. We’d could have easily scored 28 points last Saturday. Big plays and penalties hurt us. But Lambuth’s players were fat and small. But this goes to show you that even athletic players lose.

One thing that really alarmed me was a lack of attendance. Since thursday is a busy day on campus, did the students only come for the Thursday game out of convenience? As an alumni, I am so proud we finally have football. I’m giving up my UGA season tickets to attend GSU games.
Alumni and students need to show up!!!!

Ken Sugiura

September 15th, 2010
3:29 pm

jtaylor, i agree. i think you’ll see GSU play much closer to its potential. it doesn’t necessarily mean the panthers are going to win, but you’ll get a better picture of what the team is. the first two games didn’t necessarily do that.

PantherPride – are we really going to start picking fights with KSU?

Hammer – i confess I haven’t paid enough attention to Justin Hughes to know what his strengths are, other than his speed.

JSU! – thanks. glad to be of service.

Tom – i agree with pretty much everything you said. Better offensive execution, particularly penalties, in the first half could have changed the game a lot.

Harry the Hat

September 15th, 2010
3:32 pm

How can an NCAA team play NAIA teams? Please explain.


September 15th, 2010
3:39 pm

More than any game in the early part of this season we need a big crowd folks.


September 15th, 2010
3:51 pm


I agree to a point. 5 penalties for 55 yards (one being a personal foul for a late hit out of bounds). The punt coverage was pretty good (with the exception of Bailey Woods running into the PR) and Bo averaged nearly 41 yard per punt. I’ll take that all day, every day.

The turnovers will not happen again or Drew won’t be starting. Coach Curry said as much. I cannot blame any QB for tipped passes as they got one and we got one. Also, anytime, on any level, that you let the other team keep the ball 41 minutes you’ll likely lose. It’s as simple as that.

GSU! – Come read Ken’s blog and then come join the party at Panther Sports 24/7!

Johnny Comelately

September 15th, 2010
4:08 pm

Re attendance, I think the number of people who attended last week was indicative of the reality of a brand new program.
If GSU wins more games than it loses, attendance averages will double in two years.
It’s a great venue and it will be exciting to see this class of freshmen and sophmores get better together in the next few years.
The inaugural game was misleading because a bunch of math professors showed up because their dept head told them to and local busybodies showed up because they saw it on the news. They sat on their hands and then cheered when we were trying to score in our own endzone. Eventually real football fans will fill those seats. I’ll be back for every home game on wknds when the Falcons are out of town – football games twice in one weekend is bad for your marriage.


September 15th, 2010
4:55 pm

I just hope GA State (GSU), takes all of the georgia southern recruits as well as all of the KSU recruits. I think GSU ( GA State) can become the second most important football playing school in Georgia.

Jerk Russell

September 15th, 2010
4:55 pm

Panther Pride: Georgia State’s original mascot as also an Owl. We were a night school after all ;)

Ken: You quoted Dooley as saying he was bringing football to “Kansas State University.”

6- time national champs

September 15th, 2010
8:29 pm

You guys are delusional. How many great football programs are in major cities?

New York – no
Houston – U of Houston struggled mightily with attendance but has improved lately
Dallas – SMU struggles to get 15k a game playing in C-USA
Philly – no
Chicago – no
Charlotte – no
New Orleans – Tulane struggles to get 15k
Jacksonville – no
Nashville – MTSU struggles to get 15k
Memphis – struggles to get over 20k
Cleveland – No
Detroit – no
San Diego- SDSU struggles to get 20k

The only schools that do well in cities are those that are the flagship University in the state that happen to be in a city

Ohio St
Arizona St – Although Tempe is 20 min outside of Phoenix

Good Luck Ga State. History does not bode well for the #5 University in GA.

Ted Striker

September 15th, 2010
8:31 pm

Very nice column, Ken.

Ken Sugiura

September 15th, 2010
9:06 pm

Harry – I confess I don’t know exactly whom the NCAA says you can or can’t play, but evidently NCAA schools can play NAIA schools. I can say with some certainty that if GSU were eligible for postseason play, its games against NAIA schools would be disregarded.
Jerk – Dooley actually did say “Kansas State University.” that’s kind of what I was getting at in the story. The fact that the guy who led the school’s exploratory committee called it “Kansas State University” kind of speaks to why the school wants its name out there.

Ted- Thanks.

6-time champs – you make an interesting point. i’d say that georgia state doesn’t really aspire to be UCLA (you forgot USC, by the way. also, boston college, cincinnati, pittsburgh and miami) and it can’t be. all these schools are decades ahead of gsu.

the thing is, gsu is an outlier – fcs school in a major city in a major league stadium -so it’s hard to draw apt comparisons. the school is going to recruit well and you’d have to think it’ll eventually win. but whether they’ll draw well or not, i think we can only guess.


September 15th, 2010
9:17 pm

Awesome stuff Ken! Thanks!

Ken Sugiura

September 15th, 2010
9:29 pm

thanks, gsu01, i appreciate it.
i have to say, the blogs aren’t as easy to put together as you think they will be, but they’re usually more fun to put together, in part because of the interaction.
and i forgot to say – ted striker, i must be doing something right if i’ve managed to draw one of jeff’s favorite posters.


September 15th, 2010
9:40 pm

I waffle on what a realistic expectation is for State’s attendance.

I do think 15-20K regularly, after the first couple of years, is realistic as long as we’re still FCS level. If that’s profitable, that’s probably good enough. Remaining at FCS hasn’t exactly hurt Georgia Southern; assuming everyone can remember what the big picture is really about. Hint: enrollment.

But if GSU were to ever go to FBS, then what?

Seriously, then what?

Is 30-35K more realistic when, right up the street, Ga Tech with all of its history and tradition only pulls about 45k?

Or can a schedule with Big East or C-USA teams attract enough people with no ties to the ACC or SEC to draw in 40-50K? And will half that number be here for the other team? Is that worth it?

The question, as it always is in Atlanta, is “if you build it, will they come, or will they just prefer to watch it on TV?”

Ken Sugiura

September 15th, 2010
10:14 pm

good points about Tech’s attendance, Ryan. If GSU ever went fbs, it’d be difficult to imagine them out-drawing Tech or maybe even coming close. (for what it’s worth, Mark Becker said that he wouldn’t consider making a move until the school regula

6- time national champs

September 15th, 2010
10:22 pm

The big question for Ga State will be attendance. Ken, thanks for your honest estimates on the actual attendance vs inflated “ticket sales” numbers.

People can say what they want about Ga Southern, but even in bad years we average 17k. If we have another run like the early 00’s we will easily be in the low to mid 20’s.

Ken, the big city teams you mention above are relatively successful, but they are also in a major conference and are either the #1 or #2 school in state. Clearly in GA, UGA and Tech will be the top 2 dogs. There is just not enough support for another city team with all of the other options available. I will give Ga State credit for giving it the old college try though.

Ken Sugiura

September 15th, 2010
10:24 pm

oops. regularly filled the lower bowl (28,000). i guess i could see GSU averaging mid-teens, particularly if they keep the ticket costs relatively low. i guess what could change things over the long run is if young gsu alumni start going to games. as you noted, it’s hard to peg in this city. i think the more noteworthy thing about gsu outdrawing the braves isn’t necessarily that gsu drew 30,000, but that arguably the most popular team in the city, fighting for the playoffs, drew 25,000.


September 15th, 2010
10:25 pm

Uh, Ken, you gotta finish Becker’s quote.

What a way to leave us all hanging.


September 15th, 2010
10:26 pm

oops, nevermind

Ken Sugiura

September 15th, 2010
10:33 pm

ha ha. sorry about that. i guess it did cut off at a rather suspenseful point. gotta get hits somehow. regularly what? beat georgia
i’m done. talk to you tomorrow.

Ken Sugiura

September 15th, 2010
10:34 pm

there should be a question mark after georgia. my keyboard leaves something to be desired.

83 Alum

September 15th, 2010
11:19 pm

This will be a tough game. These guys are good.

Put in your best effort and see what happens. PLaying Star Jackson is a good thing.

Go Panthers!!!


September 15th, 2010
11:24 pm

As I said before, the big challenge for Georgia State will come in a couple of years when they are in the CAA. The name recognition (or lack there of) will hurt in attendance. I can’t see a big crowd at the Dome for a UMass vs. GSU, or Rhode Island vs. GSU and so on. I don’t think they have big alumni chapters here in Atlanta.

Georgia Southern is in a good situation with the Southern Conference because schools have name recognition in the South. They recruit against the same schools. Georgia State would do better attendance wise in the Southern Conference.

I think Georgia State will be a tough sell in the midst of ACC and SEC country. And not to mention all the other options that are in the Atlanta area.

Never Heard of Georgia Southern Until I Read This Blog

September 16th, 2010
8:57 am

@ 6-time minor league champions: The success of football programs in those other cities is completely irrelevant to Georgia State’s program; interesting how you discount UCLA’s success as a coincidence of some kind. Meanwhile, only someone from a hole like Statesboring would consider Memphis and Jacksonville as major cities.


September 16th, 2010
10:03 am

I’m loving it. I think the football publicity has already help attract a great basketball recruit. The power of football! I love it. Keep it up Ken.

Go State!

Woody Hayes' Book Club

September 16th, 2010
10:42 am

Ken – Coach Curry really seems to give you good access for stories. Thanks for running with them and reporting here. Appreciate the great work.


September 16th, 2010
10:51 am

Recruiting is a lot of things – mostly, it’s a popularity contest. Recruits are looking for so many different things, that any school could be a fit. Some want the school they’ve followed since birth. Some want a successful program. Some just want the most playing time. Some want to be at a fun school in a fun place. Some just want to get out of a sleepy little town and go to college.

GSU’s playing NAIA schools to gain experience and because these other schools want a reason to play in the Dome and see what it’s like. Apparently, they play NAIA schools to learn humility as well. When the team goes into Tuscaloosa and get hammered, They’re going to do it on national television and a lot of high-school athletes looking for a college program are going to start Googling “Georgia State”. They’ll find the 2nd largest research university in Georgia, located in downtown Atlanta, that plays their games in an NFL stadium under the tutelage of a big-name coach. If anything, that should be enough to make their list and consider a visit.

War Eagle and Go State!


September 16th, 2010
11:41 am

I’m laughing at at the suggestion that the “name recognition” for SoCon teams is superior to those from the CAA.


September 16th, 2010
11:58 am

Ryan: Never said “name recognition” for SoCon was superior to those from the CAA. Go back and read. I said GSU would do better as far as attendance with matchup against SoCon teams because they have a fanbase here in the Atlanta area. Work with, and know a lot of people that went to SoCon schools, and they always say CAA is a good conference, but wish GSU was joining the SoCon because there are some natural rivals there as compared to the CAA.

GSU’s biggest basketball draw, other than the William & Mary game, was against Georgia Southern, and their basketball program is crap like GSU. But Atlanta alumni came out to see their team. The CAA has a good brand of basketball, but Atlantans (and a lack of a big alumni base of those CAA schools) and a crappy GSU basketball program equals low attendance.

Although last Saturday was a tough sell because of some good TV games, it certainly didn’t help that you were playing Lambuth, even the legendary Ron Dickerson admitted when he took the job he didn’t know where the hell the school was. Jacksonville State will bring some people (two hours away) and I’m sure curious people want to see how this programs measures up against a solid FCS school.

Tell me Ryan, you would be more interest in a GSU vs. UMass, than GSU vs.Furman. I sure the people in UMass are gearing up to make that long trek to Atlanta for that one. Furman is only two hours with a big alumni base in Atlanta. They recruit heavy in the ATL and Georgia area.


September 16th, 2010
12:15 pm

@at suckthern fan. You forgot about south florida. They average 50,000 and they play in Tampa. c’mon, son. Enough already with the hate. We all know in a few years a recruit would rather play in the dome then that mid-sized high school stadium down there in statesboro


September 16th, 2010
12:18 pm

I don’t think State vs. UMass is any less or any more compelling than Southern vs. Furman.

Actually, UMass has recognition from when it was a basketball power under Calipari. Nevermind the fact that Atlanta has a large population of former New Englanders that would probably love to go see UMass.


September 16th, 2010
12:20 pm

Please dont mention the tradition and the national championships because a 17/18 year old kid from metro Atlanta doesnt know about them and doesnt care. Recruits want to stay close to home, play in a major conference, and play in a big stadium. If you dont know…better ask somebody..


September 16th, 2010
12:58 pm

Ryan: Southern and Furman has a tradition of playing each other. Played for against each other in a few FCS championship games. Furman has several Georgia kids on their roster. I think we will have to disagree that GSU vs. most SoCon school is more appealing than GSU vs. Rhode Island. Oh, forgot most transplant New Englanders would remember that Jim Harrick coached their. You forget that football in the South is more passion than New England.

G-state.sooner: You can keep fooling yourself about Georgia Southern’s tradition because these 17-18 about it when they are being recruited. The pitch line is “you can be the one to help us bring back the championship swagger.” You may not know, but Georgia Southern has a lot of alumni that are in the high school coaching ranks. They were their championship rings around these kids all the time. The most ran offense on the high school level is some version of the Georgia Southern offense.
Your other points:
1. Recruits want to stay close to home? Not 100 percent tree. GSU has around 33 players from the Atlanta area (alittle less than half the roster) about 10 or so are JUCO and other transfers. Translation: Didn’t have grades to get into four-year school out of hight school or didn’t cut it at previous four-year school.
2. Play in major conference: You are correct, but like the Southern Conference, CAA is on the FCS level. Both have produced championships. GSU is not headed to a FBS conference ANY time soon.
3. Play in big stadium. You are correct that the Dome is a big time stadium, but when empty, it doesn’t matter. Paulson Stadium is cozy and has a lot of character and has a good crowd for every game. You have the option of the stands or the hillside.

If you dont know…better ask somebody..


September 16th, 2010
1:11 pm

Well, sir I have asked somebody. Ive played high school football and my brother played at Wake Forest. I also have a little brother at Parkview as we speak. He’s a Junior now and is getting looked at by a few schools. So..I have asked “somebody” and recruits would rather play in a pro stadium. As for the Big Time conference, CAA vs Southern. Thats my point exactly. Southern is not in a position to move up. State on the other hand can..

And try selling FCS championships to a black kid from college park. Laughable..


September 16th, 2010
1:17 pm

By the way kimosabe what “somebodies” have you asked lately..


September 16th, 2010
1:24 pm to continue discussions..

bring your screen name too, son.


September 16th, 2010
1:37 pm

G-state.sooner: You are correct, they all want to play in the bigtime. Heck, every high school player thinks they are bound for bigtime college and the NFL. But the reality is they are not. I work in the sports industry and talk to kids all the time. They have that dream, which fine, but I always tell them to have a backup plan.

“And try selling FCS championships to a black kid from college park. Laughable..” Really? Look at the roster of some of the FCS and they are filled with BLACK KIDS from the inner-city and other parks of Georgia. Some of those coaches I spoke about who are Georgia Southern alumni are from the inner-city. Stockbridge coach Kevin Whitley played at Lakeside High in DeKalb County. He speaks passionately about attending Georgia Southern.

My point is neither is in a position and should move up. Southern would have to expand their stadium. Georgia State has big stadium to play in (NCAA requirement of at least 30,000), but you are also required to have a certain attendance level to apply for FBS level. GSU doesn’t meet that.
I think its about 17,000.

You missed the point, it was that GSU would probably fare better in the SoCon from an attendance, recruiting and rivalry standpoint than in the CAA. In my opinion neither schools are ready, and need to move out of the FCS level.

Marshall did. Did well for a while, and now look at them. Just an also-ran on that level. Troy. They will pull off and upset here and there. There is no shame in being on the FCS level.


September 16th, 2010
1:46 pm

Just come to kiddo