GSU questions, answers

Greetings, all-

I am working on a story for Wednesday about the team’s 5-2 start and hoping to put that in some kind of perspective compared to other start-ups. For the story, I talked to Cheryl Levick and Bill Curry, who gave me a lot of time this past Thursday for the story. I’ll give you some snippets of the interview and also toss out a call for any questions you might have for Coach Curry. He has his weekly press conference today (Tuesday) at 1 p.m. I am not saying I will ask every question, but hopefully can get to at least a few.

CL on attendance:  “In July I thought, if I can get an average of 10,000 a game, I’ll be happy. And we are at 17, almost 18,000 a game, so I’m ecstatic about the attendance. That goes back to great support by the students,  faculty and staff, as well as alumni and fans . They’re coming and they’re enjoying it and they’re already passionate about the team.”

on kickoff times for 2011: “I’d like to do a survey of our season-ticket holders and others to see. I actually like the afternoon time. But I’d like to get feedback and see what other people might want to do. Originally we chose that time because we wanted to make sure we weren’t in the later time slots where there’d be other games on television. We really wanted our fans to come to our games  and still be able to go to others if they wanted to.”

On the negatives of the season:  “There are not many challenges that I see as negatives. I just don’t see them right now. There are things we will tweak that we know we can do better on. Sure, would I love to have the place sold out every game? Yes. But I’m so pleased with the average attendance. I’m so pleased with the chemistry on the field. I’m so pleased with the coaches and the athletes. I’m so pleased with the community response that we’ve had. They have wrapped their arms around us.”

BC, on if the season has met his expectations: “Performance, it has not. Win, lose or draw, it would have been great to not have just one real bummer and we came out and had one. And I know why. So hopefully that won’t happen again. Even in that one, our kids fought back and went ahead, found a way to take the lead and then, ‘Oh, we’ve got it now because we’re so terrific like everybody’s been telling us since the Shorter game.’ And we get beat in a game we shouldn’t have lost. Those don’t leave you but those are motivators for us coaches to be sure to think about how fragile and how delicate the balance is with this age group.”

On if there was a recent start-up that he’s held as a standard: “ODU. We didn’t say we can do this. We said we would like to. They were 9-2 their first year. Their schedule was different. You can look at the schedule and compare and contrast and argue and I’ve got to say (ODU coach) Bobby Wilder’s been wonderful to me. We’re playing each other.

(Yet) he was helping earlier in the year and even last week (sent an) encouraging text message. Those guys have done a great job wit their football team. We looked at a lot of the things that they did and, not in terms of specific plays or defenses but I asked Bobby, ‘Good gosh, man, how did you do it? You can’t do that. You can’t start a football team and be 9-2.’”

On FCS/FBS: “I don’t think about I-A 10 seconds. We’re thrilled to be in the CAA. The closer we move towards it, the more impressed I am with the operations.”

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39 comments Add your comment

Veskit

October 19th, 2010
9:04 am

Can’t wait for the story! I’ve been wondering how our start compares to other start-ups. GO PANTHERS!

jwizzle

October 19th, 2010
9:08 am

Please ask about the kickoff times/days. I think they should have at least one if not two Thursday night games. This way you’ll get more students and less competition for attention from UGA/Tech games. Does every game have to be 1pm? Is it because of the dome contract? I’d like to see some 3:30/7pm game times. Also, has the schedule been announced for next year? Any big names again like AL?

Ken, keep up the good work!

Beef

October 19th, 2010
9:12 am

@ jwizzle They have to play early so the GA Dome crew can redo the field for the Falcons games

jwizzle

October 19th, 2010
9:13 am

@Beef, thanks!

lanier

October 19th, 2010
9:21 am

All this has made us want to see a game so we will be at the next home contest. ODU should be a test on GSUs progress

GStateBen

October 19th, 2010
9:43 am

@Beef Not always the case and I haven’t confirmed this. We’ve played 3 games so far this season when the Falcons played on the road (vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Cleveland and this past weekend vs. Philly). I’m not sure if it’s a Dome contract issue or not.

Something that people are not taking into account, Georgia’s poor start put them in the 12:21pm time slot for several of their games. Like it or not, we have many alums and fans who follow Georgia. I agree that a marquee night game would be fun.

The last home vs. Lamar should have a good turnout if we can promote it within the student body and fans. Two games away should have the fans hungry for a home game. Add to that, Georgia is playing at home vs. Idaho State and Georgia Tech is not playing that Saturday after playing at Virginia Tech on Thursday night.

GSU Mens BB Fan

October 19th, 2010
9:54 am

@Ben – are you saying that if UGA had performed better there games would have been in the evenings? Is this an SEC thing? A TV thing? Why is this? Thanks.

@Ken – interesting that Levick said that they will survey the season ticket holders. That’s not a bad idea. But honestly, I’m more concerned about the students showing up, they are the future, and I’m more worried about accommodating them since they get in for “free,” than I am the folks who paid, and made a “commitment” and “investment” in the program by purchasing tickets. I guess what I am saying is – the alums who paid for their tickets will be there – because they paid – while the students who get “free” tickets – may take attending the game for granted. If that makes sense.

spider

October 19th, 2010
9:55 am

i dont like thursday night games because of the traffic problem going into a big city like atlanta, also taking marta home late at night for a old guy like makes me very nervous..i stopped going to GT thursday night game a few years ago. i really like the saturday 1 pm games.

GSU Alum '83

October 19th, 2010
10:22 am

Curry has done a fabulous job! For an old College Park guy, that’s not too bad.

I am proud of this team and the University for how it has managed a start-up program.

I missed homecoming but will be there next year. I live 6 hours away.

Go Panthers, proud of you.

GStateBen

October 19th, 2010
10:55 am

@GSUMBB Fan Yes. If Georgia is playing better they will be in the 3:30 or even a night game. That would have helped us more. All SEC games are on TV due to their contract. The better teams get the prime slots. Georgia received back to back 12:21 kickoffs and that happend to coincide with us having back-to-back home games. Directly related.

I think we do not need to worry as much about the students and their investment. Praise them, coax them yes but they aren’t exactly getting in free to the games. Their student fee is paying the freight of football. We’ve gotten their money. Continue to grow the student base by winning. We will have a brand new crop of 3000+ students on campus next Fall and it’s a good chance that the current students who have been going to games will tell them how good we are and they’ll show up. We are building our brand and with that will take some time.

Itsmeagain

October 19th, 2010
10:56 am

Everything I’ve seen of coach curry has shown me that he’s not just an awesome coach doing an excellent job starting this program up, but he’s also a real gentleman who has the ability to encourage and inspire. He really is a great man

Debbie Downer

October 19th, 2010
11:08 am

@ Ken – ask CBC if he visited OD in person when starting up the program, and whether there stadium/facilities are as good as people say they are. We have the Dome but I think there stadium is on campus which is why they get 20K in the stands every game.

RoguePanther

October 19th, 2010
11:08 am

I’m home every weekend from Savannah, and 1:00PM Saturday is perfect for me to see Panthers in GA Dome. They exceeded my expectation, and I will support them years to come.

Please don’t let them change the schedule, one Thursday night is fine.
Panthers will become strong enough to keep fans against UGA or Tech games even plays same time.

My son is Clemson, and so was I then, now 100% behind Panthers, my school.

Fire Rodney Ho

October 19th, 2010
11:20 am

I think the biggest reason for drop in attendance was having home games 6 out of the first 7 weeks, with 5 coming at 1PM. People want to support the team, but not everyone is going to convert to a die-hard fan right away. There are plenty of people who show up to support GSU, but still have allegiances to GT, UGA, Auburn, etc. Some people just enjoy being able to catch the Big 10 game at noon, followed by the SEC game at 3:30, and then the prime time ESPN game at 8 every now and then.

I fully expect 19-20k for the Lamar game, simply because we have 2 weeks away from the Dome. I think the students just took having all these home games for granted, but they should definitely pack out the student section against Lamar.

Ken Sugiura

October 19th, 2010
12:23 pm

BB fan – I am quite sure she also said that she’ll talk to students.
Also, the way Levick talked about it, I think games later in the day are a possibility, for the reasons Ben mentioned. I don’t think they’re locked into 1 p.m.
jwizzle – schedule hasn’t been announced yet and, as of yet, no fbs team that has been signed. it may be the case that there isn’t one. i know lambuth, campbell, morehead state are on the schedule. i want to say jacksonville state is, too, and savannah state is, i think, at least a good possibility.

GSU Real Man

October 19th, 2010
12:48 pm

Q: Coach Bill Curry how did you become such a Real Man?

Veskit

October 19th, 2010
1:10 pm

I definitely hope we keep the games mostly on Sat at 1pm… Perfect time for me. I’ve heard some people say that we’ll get more student turn out if we move to Thursday nights. Perhaps… though I’d argue students might be studying more on week nights.

However, I’d venture to guess that a lot of alums, especially ones that live out of town will not be willing to come out on Thursday nights nearly as often as on Saturdays. Definitely the case for me. I will not be able to leave work early enough and then struggle with traffic to get to the Dome by 7 on a week night.

PantherMike

October 19th, 2010
1:19 pm

Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. are perfect. I get home by 5:00 p.m. to relax and watch the 2nd half of the 3:30 SEC tilt. One big-game thursday night a season (max) would be great. I hate that we have to play Lambuth, Campbell, and Morehead State again. We must have inked a “return” contract with those guys. I was hoping for some flexibility to schedule other, more appealing, schools.
I think long-term we should consider being a part of the Southern Conference (SoCon) and develop rivlaries with Ga. Southern, App State, Furman, Chattanooga, etc. CAA is just too far away. UNLESS, the master plan is to jump to FBS in 3-5 years….maybe Big East or Conf. USA. Fun to think about our future!!

GStateBen

October 19th, 2010
2:31 pm

I believe the tenative schedule was:

Home Games: Lambuth, Campbell, Old Dominion, Lamar, Savannah State, Murray State
Away Games: Morehead State, Jacksonville State, UT-San Antonio, Youngstown State, Coastal Carolina

Scheduled to change as contracts get bought out and things sometimes fall through. We’ll know more soon.

Ed

October 19th, 2010
3:39 pm

I’m not sure how many people were GSU students recently (I was) but at best, the student opinion on athletics could be described as ragingly apathetic. That will take a lot of time to change. That’s the only way GSU students will come to games regularly is with a cultural change at the Concrete Confines.

VSU Alumnus

October 19th, 2010
5:25 pm

Why is this board in favor of playing Lambuth and Savannah State while I can’t sell the idea of starting a series with Valdosta State? Good gate in the dome and an easy ride 4 hours down I-75 on the road. Good South Georgia exposure for your young program.By the way your attendance will be directly effected by Tech and Georgia’s TV times.VSU has the same problem with UGA ,FSU, and UF TV games. Go Panthers and Blazers !!!!

GSUtimes2

October 19th, 2010
5:40 pm

The Lambuths and Savannah State’s of the world, (and I would include VSU with those) are schools we are fine with playing because we are only going to be playing them in our first two years of existence. Once we begin conference play, our number of choices become limited. If we are looking to move up in the college football world, I’d imagine we would start filling our vacancies with lower end regional FBS teams like a Louisiana LaFayette, Alabama-Birmingham or a Duke for that matter.

proudpanther

October 19th, 2010
5:42 pm

talked to a student today and asked if he liked the football program, and this guy looked like an upper classman, and he replied that he was a waiter, and had to work on sat, and that was his big money day, and had not been to a single game. Once we get more traditional students (freshmen and soph) that are living downtown and the HOPE scholly contributes to families financial stabiity, then the students wont be going home-they will already be downtown. I know that was an incredibly long sentence to read. it would be nice to know what the age breakdown is on our attendees and then where do you go from there??

itsmeagain

October 19th, 2010
5:46 pm

@ed – The student population is changing and has been since i’ve been here. When i lived at the Village my first year nobody went to anything cus it was such a hassle to go back to campus. I remember the next year when i lived at the Commons, i saw kids walking up Piedmont avenue from the Commons back to the Sports Arena for basketball games, thats something i’d really never seen the year before. This year, to have over 1000 students alone for a football game bodes well, and we’ve seen 5000 students this year in football. Hopefully this will continue onwards with basketball and whatever else. Dont give up faith yet, as the new freshman come in it will change!

VSU Alumnus

October 19th, 2010
5:56 pm

Please do not take this wrong,but GSU needs to crawl before it walks. VSU played football for over 20 years before winning its first national championship ( 2004 and 2007).Play VSU and Georgia Southern and you will grow.I wish you the best of luck,but be patient. Southern was lucky that it got Erk as its first coach. That is the exception and not the norm.Grow in small steps and build traditions. Good luck from Title Town USA.

GStateBen

October 19th, 2010
6:30 pm

@VSU Alumnus. I’m almost positive that we had to sign a two year agreement with Lambuth (NAIA) and Savannah State (FCS). These contracts can easily be broken and replaced if someone else came calling. Georgia Southern has no interest in playing us right now because it’s a no win situation for them. Lose and it’s devastating to recruiting and their stance in FCS. Win and you’re beating a 2nd year team as you’ve been a powerhouse (not really in the lsat 10 years).

As far as playing Division II Valdosta State, it doesn’t make much sense to play them except in Year 2. When CAA play begins we will likely schedule an FBS school, a local FCS school (Savannah State) and then mid to upper tier FCS school (possibly like a Furman, Citadel or other regional school).

wsj

October 19th, 2010
6:37 pm

Any scheduling of VSU would probably have had to have been done in the first two years of Ga State’s program. After that, GSU formally joins the CAA leaving only a few OOC games. Those games will probably be other FCS opponents and a money FBS game. I don’t think there will be any DII or NAIA opponents unless GSU finds itself in a bind to fill out a season’s schedule. That’s probably what happened to Alabama when it scheduled Ga State.

The obvious solution, VSU should move up to FCS.

English

October 19th, 2010
6:41 pm

I agree with what Ben said. There’s no reason for us to play VSU. It’s good for Georgia football but doesn’t help our program.

G-State

October 19th, 2010
7:12 pm

A lot of thoughtful comments on here, I’ve enjoyed reading them and just wanted to add my two cents.

I’ve heard mention of the ODU attendance at football games and one of the main reasons they can pull like that is because their campus is in Norfolk, Virginia. They do not have local team competition like GSU has (Braves, Falcons, Hawks, Thrashers, Tech, UGA). So a lot of the people in that town (not just students and alum) have adopted ODU as their team. This helps out incredibly concerning attendance.

I will admit that last weeks student attendance was disturbing but agree that having 6 home games in a 7 week span along with UGA/Tech start times contributed to the low turn out. And I too have heard of quite a few people who want to attend a GSU game but either have to work or have prior commitments.

I think it should be noted that some FBS conferences really struggle with attendance also. C-USA 26,000 avg/ WAC 22,000avg/ Sun Belt 16,000avg/ MAC 15,000avg. Apparently, FBS requires that you average over 15,000 a yr when taking the average attendance of the previous two football seasons. If that’s the case some of these teams below the average need to start worrying or they may be dropped from FBS level football.

This is also something to keep in mind if you feel GSU is looking to make the move to FBS. I personally wouldn’t want that unless it is to a bigger FBS conference (maybe Big East if possible). I’d rather play for titles in FCS than be in a lower tier FBS conference.

Itsmeagain

October 19th, 2010
7:13 pm

Yes. Move up to FCS. Come on VSU Alumnus, make it happen!

VSU Alumnus

October 19th, 2010
7:44 pm

Tell your AD to call our AD Herb Reinhard at 229-333-5890. We need games in 2011 and we’ll gladly come to the dome. I would enjoy a meal at Teds Montana Grill prior to the game.A day game would be great ,because I like to bring my 9 year old son.
Regarding moving to FCS we are constantly looking at it. It is a matter of money which we don’t have at this time.There is another facter that I don’t like about that move.Playing 1-AA football sellsout all your other sports programs.What chance does a 1-AA team have at a national championship in any ther sport? VSU’s tennis program has recently won the national championship,our men’s basketball program went to the elite 8 last year ,and our womens softball team is 2010 national runners up.I hate to give that up for one sport.

Call Herb and let’s play in the dome. Go Panthers and Blazers!!!!

Goose

October 19th, 2010
9:36 pm

Great Article Ken

How can I watch the game if I don’t have Comcast? I have DirecTV? Is that channel surfing thing free?
If so, let me know how its done. Thanks.

My expectations for this team have been revised over and over, which leads to think this entire season as a success. We’ve had better talent in each gave we’ve played. Yes, even Jax State. I just hope BC lets Little throw it around the field more so the running game will work better.

Anyways, go Panthers!!!

gsu01

October 19th, 2010
10:02 pm

Ken: Just fyi but in your latest write up on the ODU game you have the wrong date for the Alabama game. That game is on Nov. 18 and not Nov. 20. It was moved up. Don’t want any fans confused on that one!!

itsmeagain

October 19th, 2010
10:18 pm

@VSU, i’m not sure that it makes a big difference to the majority of your sports (i’m guessing on this), but if all of your sports moved to division 1, it’s only football that has subdivisions. Your basketball team would be on the same level as Tennessee, Tech, UGA, GSU, etc, which would probably bode well for your basketball (if you’re already doing well attendance wise). You’d just have to find yourself a new conference

GSU Mens BB Fan

October 19th, 2010
10:31 pm

@VSU Alumnus – Ted’s Montana Grill?…there are a lot finer places to eat in the ATL…Ted’s (and I love Ted Turner by the way) is no different than going to Longhorns or Olive Garden…a nice night out…but not the place you go when you only have a night or two in town.

On playing VSU…I wouldn’t mind it personally…but I don’t think its fair to ask why play Lambuth and SSU when you could do a home and home with VSU?…because SSU and Lambuth aren’t asking for a home and home….and I doubt we’ll give a home and home to a non-FCS/FBS (low tier FCS (i.e. SSU)) school.

itsmeagain

October 19th, 2010
10:53 pm

Eat at the Porter in little 5

GStateBen

October 20th, 2010
9:02 am

I’d prefer to grab some breakfast at Murphy’s then head over to the Dome. Best breakfast spot in Atlanta.

Channelsurfing.net is always free. Still no definitive answer on watching the game. I tried to dial up 499 last night and it gave me an error message. Hopefully we will know more soon. There has been some talk about getting a viewing party together at 6 Feet Under (owned by a GSU alum) or some other spot. Stay tuned.

GSUtimes2

October 20th, 2010
10:58 am

For breakfast, go to the Flying Biscuit…. nuf’ said.

VSU Alumnus

October 20th, 2010
12:48 pm

I prefer Nickolai’s Roof,but Ted’s is more pregame cuisine. I’ll let up on you guys. I do want to play I think it would be a great rivalry game until you get things going full tilt up there.Good luck this weekend and you have our number whenever you want to play.