Hope this finds you well. Got a few things for the blog.
1. I spoke with Star Jackson Tuesday morning about not playing, which leads the notebook in Wednesday’s paper. He was diplomatic, saying he understood why he’s not playing and that he’s just waiting for his opportunity.
“Right now, I feel like I could go in at any time,” he said. “If Coach (Bill) Curry feels that I need to wait until he’s comfortable with that, that’s Coach’s decision. That’s why he’s paid to coach.”
Curry said he’s anxious to put him in, but that he wants to wait for a game in which Georgia State is comfortably ahead, which hasn’t happened since the Shorter game. Curry said he has “enormous empathy” for Jackson and his situation.
“I think it’s very much to Star’s credit that he’s had as good an attitude as he has,” Curry said.
2. Turnovers are high on Curry’s priority list, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever spent more than five minutes around any football coach, especially Curry and especially this team. Georgia State’s turnover margin is -4 and the Panthers have dropped several would-be interceptions, including one by cornerback Justin Hughes last Saturday that would have been a touchdown had he held onto it.
I would think it would be especially important this week against Morehead State. The Eagles are quite adept at passing and putting up points and don’t need much help from Georgia State.
3. Not sure how much run stopping will be a factor for the Panthers this week, given that Morehead State isn’t much of a running team. (The Eagles average 2.3 yards per carry, which is remarkably low.) Regardless, I talked to defensive line coach Chris Ward about the line’s play against the run. He sounded like the problem was execution and technique.
“We’ve got to get better at using our hands and getting off blocks,” he said. “These guys, they’re trying to do whatever they can to scrap, but they’ve got to take the things that we’re teaching and learning on the (practice) field and transition them into games.”
Curry said the goal is for the defense to average under 4.0 yards per carry. (GSU is at 4.2) Ward was more ambitious. He said under 3.0 yards per carry.
4. Curry, a big baseball fan, gave a pat on the back to retiring Braves manager Bobby Cox for an unlikely reason. Curry said he learned from Cox’s example after he was fired as Braves manager in 1981, when Curry was coaching at Georgia Tech.
“[Being fired] is a very public, embarrassing thing for your family,” Curry said. “You never forget that and it’s really important to have role models that handle it with great dignity and Bobby Cox has been one of those for me.”
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