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.”
Thanks for reading. Please follow me on Twitter!