Archive for September, 2010

The view from Jacksonville

At the suggestion of his uncle, I talked to Jacksonville State offensive coordinator Ronnie Letson Thursday. Letson is a local, having graduated from Norcross High before going on to play quarterback at Ole Miss. Letson is just 33 but has been the Gamecocks’ coordinator since 2005.

He had some stuff to say about Georgia State that I think you’ll find interesting.

A bit about Letson: He didn’t actually intend to go into coaching after he earned a business degree at Ole Miss and even started working as a loan officer before graduation in 2000.

He took a grad assistant job at Jacksonville State, anticipating earning his MBA and moving on, but then the wide receivers coach left and Letson got a full-time job and a future profession.

“When I got here, I realized how much I loved it and (that) it was what I wanted to do and been in it ever since,” he said.

Some notes:

1. Letson called the shots for the offense in Jacksonville State’s upset of Ole Miss in the opener. You’ll Gamecocks …

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Georgia State-JSU preview, including Star Jackson

Greetings, all-

Hope you’re well. A few tidbits.

1. I think you’ll see Georgia State give a much better account of itself Saturday. I’m not saying the Panthers are going to, you know, burn out the scoreboard, but you should get a much better indication of what the team can do. After a bad week of practice led to the loss to Lambuth, the focus has been higher this week. Wide receivers coach/assistant head coach George Pugh said players have paid more attention to detail this week than they have since the team opened camp at the beginning of August.

“You’ve got a choice (after a loss),” he said. “Either you can get better or you can just wallow in it and never overcome it. But I think we’ve got some good kids and that we’ll bounce back.”

2. Wrinkles. You will likely see some new stuff offensively on Saturday that you haven’t seen in the first two games. The rumors are true: Georgia State is going to the Wing-T. Heh, heh. Just a little formation humor for you.

Actually, though, …

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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 …

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Star Jackson expected to play for Georgia State

Georgia State quarterback Star Jackson is expected to make his debut this Saturday against Jacksonville State, according to offensive coordinator John Bond.

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Jackson has shown enough “good film” in practice to merit playing time, Bond said after Tuesday’s practice. Jackson, who transferred to Georgia State from Alabama over the summer, has been taking snaps in practice behind starter Drew Little, along with backup Kelton Hill.

“I do see Star getting in,” he said. “He’s earning that.”

Coach Bill Curry said on his radio show Monday that Little will remain the starter on the principle that he won’t unseat a starting quarterback based on one poor performance. Little was 5-for-12 for 33 yards with three interceptions against Lambuth last Saturday.

Jackson stayed on the bench in the Panthers’ first two games. He was suspended for the first half of the Shorter for being late to a team bus.

“The more good film he continues to show in practice, I think he’s working his way into a role …

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Where Lambuth, Bobby Bowden and Drew Little meet

Greetings, all-

Hope you’re well. I said I would try to have a post up Monday and I did not do that. Kind of a crazy day, but not an excuse.

Anyway, I talked to Bobby Bowden Monday, which was fun. (This ends up getting around to Georgia State.) He is a pretty entertaining guy and was at the Atlanta Touchdown Club in part to help push his book, “Called to Coach.”

1. Book plug alert

"Buy my book, dadgumit!"

"Buy my book, dadgumit!"

I say this without having read it – knowing Bowden’s gift of storytelling and also knowing that my friend and former AJC colleague Mark Schlabach would never put his name on something that he didn’t do good work on – I feel pretty confident saying that if you love college football, it’d be a book worth reading.

Anyway, two things GSU-related (for the purposes of the blog, Georgia Southern fans, we’re going to call Georgia State “GSU.” If I were doing a Georgia Southern blog, I’d use “GSU” there also.).

2. Bowden on Curry

Bowden talked up Bill Curry pretty good, saying …

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Quick takes, Georgia State-Lambuth

1) I think we saw how far Georgia State has to go. The Panthers got handled by a team that is probably better than we all think, and even then is nowhere near the level of competition GSU will see in coming weeks. There are challenges that coach Bill Curry faces in his running game, passing game and on the defensive line.

2) It’s hard to say how much of a barometer the game was, but attendance could be a real battle all season. The crowd was announced at about 12,000, but it didn’t look like that to me. The lower bowl seats 28,000 and it looked like it was a quarter full. Athletic director Cheryl Levick said she was “disappointed” in the student section turnout, which was maybe half full – which would be about 3,700 – and I think I’m being generous.

3) How about the state of Georgia taking it in the shorts today? Georgia, Georgia Tech and Georgia State all fall in winnable games and Georgia Southern is losing at Navy. Hopefully we had a winner on the intramural fields at Emory …

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Game thread, Georgia State-Lambuth

Linebacker Olufemi Opanubi and safety Fred Barnes will not start. They were late to a team meeting this week. Brad Chafoy and Jocquez Fears will start in their place, respectively. They’ll likely play after a quarter.

Crowd is fairly sparse. I write at 12:53, about 14 minutes before the game. I’d bet there’s maybe 2000 people in the stands. The student section is maybe a quarter full and I think I’m being generous. We’ll see who filters in from the tailgates. I guess Lambuth isn’t quite the draw I thought it was. (kidding)

Game on.

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GSU QB Schlechter moves to WR

Fourth-string quarterback Bo Schlechter moved to wide receiver Wednesday, a voluntary move that brought him the praise of his coach.

“He jumped on it with exactly the right attitude,” coach Bill Curry said. “He’ll be really good at it.”

I sort of figured something like this would happen eventually. Schlechter, Kelton Hill and Drew Little all came to Georgia State last fall with the intention of being the starting quarterback, an aspiration that became only more challenging with Star Jackson’s arrival over the summer.

They entered fall camp basically even, and it shook out that Little won the job and Schlechter, from Wellington, Fla., ended up running the scout team. He took it magnanimously. I talked to him for a story about the quarterback derby towards the end of camp, and without prompting he said he said he was running the scout team and that now his goal was to run the offensive scout so well that he would make life miserable for defensive coordinator John Thompson.

Moving to wide receiver

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Parris (Lee) in the fall

Five insights into running back Parris Lee, the leading rusher in Georgia State history. Lee ran eight times for 62 yards and two touchdowns against Shorter last Thursday. It looks like he’ll keep a prominent role in the backfield.

"Just don't get tackled and everything will be fine."

"Just don't get tackled and everything will be fine."

1. Lee came to Georgia State as a slot wide receiver after playing the position at Fletcher High in Jacksonville, Fla. In preseason training, after nearly a year of practice, Bill Curry moved him to running back.

“Coach said, ‘Would you like to play a little running back?’” Lee said Tuesday. “I said, ‘Sure.’ From that day on, it became natural. Just play football.”

2. Lee actually wanted to play running back – he played both slot and back in high school – but accepted his assignment and said he didn’t bug Curry or offensive coordinator John Bond about switching.

“I sit back and I play my role,” he said. “Whatever they ask me to do, I do it and I do it to the best of my ability.”

3. I remember …

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From the press conference

Haven’t listened to the recording of the press conference yet, but here’s three things I can tell you.

Your starting quarterback (on the right)

Your starting quarterback (on the right)

1) Coach Bill Curry said quarterback Drew Little will start, that backup Star Jackson may play and that Kelton Hill will play. It’s interesting to note, as it appeared that Hill was the No. 3 behind Little and Jackson going into the first game against Shorter. (Jackson did not play for being late to a team bus.) I’m not sure this is a great surprise – Little did nothing to merit being taken out – but it was one of the first things Curry brought up.

Hill, though, handled himself well – a delay-of-game penalty withstanding – and apparently earned himself some time.

2) Lambuth University is a grade above Shorter. Curry talked up Lambuth, noting the team’s size and experience, and then, in a quintissentially Curry moment, acknowledged that he’d also said that he thought the Shorter game would be decided in the fourth quarter (final score: …

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