Georgia State’s running backs are beat up, but the coaches like what they are seeing from the group through the first two weeks of camp.
Coach Bill Curry didn’t want to brag on his players, but said Travis Evans and Malcolm Smith are practicing well. Smith, from College Park, has been consistently praised through the first two weeks.
The group was bolstered on Tuesday by the return of Rendell Wilder, who has been out with a concussion.
“Running backs have been valiant because there have been so many of them injured,” Curry said.
Curry expects a lot from the running backs, who averaged 123.3 yards per game last year. He wants more yards, and he wants them to protect the ball better. The group had two of the team’s 12 lost fumbles last year. New running backs coach Joe Hamilton said that’s still two too many.
“You never know when they are going to come, could be a game-winning drive,” Hamilton said. “If we keep on preaching enough and honing it on enough they will believe it.”
The group has lost three fumbles in camp, despite the concentrated efforts otherwise.
“Our No. 1 job is ball security,” Hamilton said. “They are running hard and the defense is making great plays, but we have to find a way to get the ball at the end of the play and throw it back to the ref.”
Hamilton said he’s having fun in his first season coaching. The former Georgia Tech great was promoted in the offseason.
“Nothing I’d rather be doing than be out there coaching these guys,” he said. “I tell you what, I feed my competitive edge through this. I’m excited.”
Curry is big on leadership, and said he likes what he’s seeing from defensive end Christo Bilukidi, tight end Arthur Williams and wide receiver Albert Wilson.
Wilson, 5-9, 180 pounds, seems a half-step quicker than many of the players in practice.
“He just might be a real big-leaguer,” Curry said of Wilson.
Tackle Clyde Yandell (knee sprain) and running back Rosevelt Watson (undisclosed) will likely miss at least the season opener against Clark Atlanta with injuries.
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu.