How GSU plans to stop the run

Greetings, all

Hope you’re doing well. Five items for you.

1. I talked to linebacker Olufemi Opanubi after practice about the run defense, and he brought up run fits, which is where a lineman or linebacker is supposed to be lined up to defend a run. Theoretically, if each player has his run fit correct, every gap in the line will be plugged up for the running back.

“At the beginning of practice, we’re doing run-fit drills,” he said. “Coach (John) Thompson is on everybody’s butt about run fits. Everybody’s trying to get their assignment right and know what they’ve got to do so we can be more physical at the point of attack.”

Opanubi practicing proper run-fit technique.

Opanubi practicing proper run-fit technique.

A lineman can be beating his guy off the ball, but if he’s not in the right place in the scheme, the running back can go through the space the lineman just vacated. It’s sort of coach-speak, which I loathe, but that sort of explains why  talent isn’t the only factor in a team defending well or poorly – knowing the scheme and executing it are important, also.

Said Opanubi of the team’s run defense problems in the first three games and their relation to improper run fits, “I think it was more of, let’s say, not being used to it, the comfort level with it. That’s getting better.”

2. It sounds similar on the other side of the ball. Offensive line coach Mike Riddle said the line coach is becoming more consistent in recognition, finishing blocks, combination blocks and run fits (the same thing as on defense, except the other way around. An offensive lineman has to know which player(s) he’s trying to move out of the way, and in which direction.)

“We’re definitely going to get the running game cranked up in a hurry,” he said.

Point worth noting: Riddle said pass protection comes more quickly (at least in this scheme) than run blocking. There are three pass protections, but “a dozen or more run plays with nuances within those plays,” he said. “You can focus more on technique when you’re working your ‘pass pro’ than with your run game. You’ve got to hammer scheme and technique, so it takes a little bit longer because you’ve got a bigger menu of plays.”

3. Bill Curry said he’s interested to see his players’ comportment on the trip.

“We have very specific parameters about how you handle yourself whether you’re in a public conveyance or whether you’re in a lobby,” said Curry, who may have become the first coach in NCAA history to call a plane “a public conveyance.”

It’ll be the first road trip for many as a college athlete and Curry said some players will be flying for the first time. Among the “parameters”: “We’re polite to every single human being, even people who might tend to be obnoxious fans. We don’t talk back to anybody.”

Players will be wearing GSU warm-ups. My favorite rule: Everyone has to have his shirt tucked in.

According to the athletic department, about 30 fans bought tickets through the GSU ticket office. That does not include players’ and coaches’ families, though.

Don’t know if you all caught it on the last blog, but you can watch the game on streaming video from Campbell. Here’s the link. (the good folks at Campbell had better mail me some swag for sending all this business their way.) (kidding.)

If you’re wondering – and I know you’re not – Campbell actually isn’t the only NCAA school nicknamed the Camels. First with the answer (I know of at least one other school nicknamed the Camels) will get some sort of prize. I haven’t figured out what yet. Maybe the awesome swag I’m not going to get from Campbell. For the record, I think Googling is against the spirit of the competition.

4. After much deliberation after I asked him who the most improved player after three games was, Curry decided on strong safety Fred Barnes, the redshirt freshman from M.L. King Jr.

Said Curry, “He can get people lined up and get his own alignment and help others and still make plays. You don’t know if a guy’s going to do that when he’s never played before.”

5. Your Star Jackson update. I asked Curry if Jackson was ready to play. Curry: “I think Star’s been ready for a couple of weeks. It’s just a matter of having the right situation to put him out there.”

You can flog me for not asking the obvious follow-up – “What’s the right situation?”

So apparently, Jackson could have played last week (last Thursday, you might remember, Curry said, “Star is better each week, that’s all I can say. ‘Ready’ is a very different term from improving every week.”). Obviously, Drew Little’s play made it pretty hard to put in a backup quarterback. If memory serves, Kelton Hill played one first-half series, didn’t move the ball, and then didn’t come back in again until the final play of overtime. We’ll see what happens in Buies Creek, N.C.

I’ll say this – from afar, Jackson has had a good attitude about the waiting game. When I see him in practice, he’s encouraging his teammates and seems engaged.

I talked to Campbell coach Dale Steele and will post blurbs Friday. Interesting note: He was Georgia Tech’s recruiting coordinator for about four weeks. Explanation forthcoming.

Thanks for reading. Follow me on Twitter. I’ll be posting game updates from Campbell, if that sweetens the ole Twitter-following pot for you. (Cue sounds of chirping crickets and a howling coyote, followed by a rolling tumbleweed.)

21 comments Add your comment


September 23rd, 2010
6:30 pm

Lol. Picture of the camels made me laugh


September 23rd, 2010
6:55 pm

Ken- Not sure of the other school with the nickname Camels (will not google to play nicely), but was wondering if you knew that Campbell’s mascot name is Gaylord?! That is pretty menacing if you ask me. See you in Hickville, NC Saturday…


September 23rd, 2010
7:04 pm

That’s great news about Jackson. I’m glad he’s keeping a good attitude. It’s also good to see that GSU will be well represented by our team on the road. Coach Curry runs a very tight ship.

Ken Sugiura

September 23rd, 2010
7:51 pm

thanks, itsmeagain. can’t go wrong with pictures of dromedaries.

nick I actually did know that about Gaylord, thanks to GSU sports information staffer mike holmes. he’s named after campbell alum (and baseball hall of famer) gaylord perry. something tells me he’s the only mascot named gaylord in all of the ncaa.


September 23rd, 2010
7:57 pm

I think Perry the Camel might have been more appropriate…


September 23rd, 2010
8:15 pm

I’ve been watching footage of Star Jackson playing for Alabama. It’s really hard to get a grasp of what he’s capable of because most of the plays are hand-offs. I’m curious how much different the Jacksonville game would have turned out if Jackson was QB (if different at all)

GSU Mens BB Fan

September 23rd, 2010
8:44 pm

What is Connecticut College Ken?

GSU Mens BB Fan

September 23rd, 2010
8:46 pm

Sorry Ken. I will admit, I was so excited to get your prize that I googled the question before reading your admonition about googling for the answer.

Mr. Beach Bum

September 23rd, 2010
8:52 pm

I really want to make the picture of the Camels my computer wallpaper just for this weekend! Priceless!

Ken Sugiura

September 23rd, 2010
9:41 pm

congratulations, bb fan. i didn’t say it was against the rules.
beach bum – if you do a googles image search on camel, it should be in there.
itsmeagain – you might try looking for jackson’s high school highlights.

Panther Prowler!

September 23rd, 2010
9:49 pm

Hey, Ken! I’m one of the 30 that bought tickets, and I WILL be in Buies Creek to cheer the team to victory and get into some local action. Word is, that east Carolina talent is worth the 7-hour trip. Well now, it better be!! GO PANTHERS, and Buies Creek gals, HERE I COME!!!


September 24th, 2010
2:31 am

Wish I could make the trip but I will be there in spirit. Let’s get back on the winning track Panthers!!


September 24th, 2010
9:02 am

Ah ha ha ha!!! That camel picture/caption is funny! I’ll be streaming this game to my TV. Can’t wait to see how the team will handle A) their first away game, B) their first outdoor game which will be 90* and C) getting back into the W column after their first losing streak.


September 24th, 2010
10:20 am

Keep up the good work Ken


September 24th, 2010
10:48 am

I’m impressed with both the blog and the coverage of GSU. It’s an excellent job of writing (with nice touches of humor) and good solid information. I read all the football blogs this time of the year and this one has been a special treat even though – like many – I haven’t had a chance to really get to know the GSU football team. But I will follow them and this blog will make that fun and easy.

Ken Sugiura

September 24th, 2010
11:20 am

thanks for the kind words, Mike and williamg. I appreciate it.

Prowler – I don’t have a lot of game, but I’m going to guess that not introducing yourself to the ladies of Campbell as “Panther Prowler” is probably wise.


September 24th, 2010
1:14 pm

Team just arrived in Raleigh. Flying in a charter with the GSU logo on the front, I might add:

Team will have a walk through at NC State then head back to the hotel for dinner.


September 24th, 2010
3:56 pm

That charter plane with the GSU logo is FREAKING AWESOME!!!


September 24th, 2010
4:23 pm

I just saw pics from the team getting on their “public conveyance” for the first time and it looks totally cool. curry makes me laugh. so, is it too soon to give a prediction for tomorrow’s game?

Steven Western

September 25th, 2010
4:50 am

Campbell actually isn’t the only NCAA school nicknamed the Camels. First with the answer (I know of at least one other school nicknamed the Camels) will get some sort of prize.
100% Google or Yahoo free
That would be Connecticut College of New London, CT formerly Wesleyan College. CC is the only college in the US that broadcasts Polka over its radio station, why I haven’t a clue, but its unique.

[...] is not meant to indict the running game. As offensive line coach Mike Riddle said last week, the running game will take more time for the line to master because there are more plays and [...]