The day after

Walking into the Sports Arena for last night’s basketball game, after watching the football team suffer a humiliating loss to NAIA level St. Francis, someone asked me if there was any Georgia State could lose to an NAIA team and a Division III team in the same day.

It was a joke of a question but it does provide a glimpse into what seems to be a fragile mental state of the school’s two most important teams.

Of course, the basketball team, under new coach Ron Hunter, ran Oglethorpe (Trustee 15 was my old stomping grounds) out of the Arena last night. It was an up-and-down performance. The team looked sharp for the first 12 minutes, and then sloppy for the next few. It settled down at halftime and then came out and rolled. The same thing happened in the first exhibition game against Southern Poly. The ability to make adjustments at halftime is a good, albeit early, sign for a team starved for success.

The football team, on the other hand, loses its way at halftime.

It’s said that few coaches have the ability to alter game plans during games. Most wait until halftime. Because I’m in the press box and not present in the lockeroom at halftimes, I’m not sure what goes on in the warroom inside the Georgia Dome. But it’s clear that something isn’t being communicated or processed correctly.

The Panthers have been outscored 92-13 in the fourth quarter of games this year. Fans say that’s an indictment of everything but the quality of the opponents, with apologies to St. Francis.

Fans have called for a list of firings as long as a newspaper page. They don’t like the coaches. They don’t like the play calls. They don’t like the administrators.

I’m not here to give you answers. I am here to provide some analysis and start some conversation.

It seems safe to say there’s enough blame to go around to everyone, without singling anyone out. I wouldn’t know where to start and if I did, I certainly wouldn’t say. That’s a job for a columnist, not for the beat reporter whose job is to remain objective.

I will provide a few facts to chew on.

First, there was no film on Georgia State last year until they started playing. This year, opponents have lots of film. That difference can’t be understated.

The team has had three quarterbacks this season. One hadn’t played quarterback in college before. One missed the entirety of spring practice. One dealt with an issue this summer that must have been the most challenging thing he’s experienced. I would imagine that their lack of experience could make it difficult to process changes made by defenses at halftime. You’ll say the coaches should help them. That’s true. They could be. I assume they are.

Some fans have said the coordinators don’t know what they are doing, they have been out of it for too long. Looking at formations and plays, that doesn’t seem to be true. The offense runs everything from the shotgun option to the wildcat, and very little of the old-school power I. The defense runs the upward trending 3-4, as well as the 4-3 with some zone blitzes.

There have been lots of plays this year in which the wide receivers have been open and the quarterbacks, perhaps because of their inexperience or perhaps because of what the defense is doing, have missed them.  Perhaps they were open because they ran the wrong routes. Who knows? It happens in every game at every level. It happened in the LSU-Alabama contest.

The offensive line has had to deal with numerous injuries and a suspension. That affects everything on offense, especially one that is still trying to find a cohesion. It especially affects the running game, which seems to have taken a step backward the past two games.

The defense thought it had things working after playing in the 3-4 last year. It seems stepping up in competition proved otherwise. So, doing something that doesn’t always happen, the defense used the bye week and made some subtle but significant changes. They seemed to work until the Saints, running fairly basic plays, ran over them. Some on the defense said earlier this year that perhaps they weren’t studying film like they should have been earlier this year when they were getting ripped for 400-plus yards per game. As soon as they started doing more of that, the results improved. Of course, they were also playing teams that weren’t quite as good as those earlier in the season. And then came yesterday’s performance against the Saints, who did nothing fancy in rolling up more than 450 yards. Actually, it seemed like they had about 6-8 plays, with the only variation being which side of the field they ran it toward.

We spoke with four players after yesterday’s game. Just one, senior and captain Christo Bilukidi, said that they overlooked the Saints. It was an honest answer to what seemed evident to most watching the game. Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson once said that if the players need him to motivate them in the locker room before the game, then’s something wrong. It made sense then and it makes sense now.

The Panthers have two games remaining to try to put a cherry on top of the 2011 sundae. They have had injuries. Everyone has injuries. They have played a tougher schedule. They put the schedule together. They have shown their potential in a few games. They have also shown what they can’t do.

They need a good finish because 2012 isn’t going to get any easier. Most of the offensive line will graduate. There will likely be the customary turnover within the roster. Plus, the team will be playing a CAA schedule.

Adding to the issue is that Bill Curry’s contract expires in 2013 and he hasn’t signed an extension. Athletic director Cheryl Levick has said she wants Curry to coach as long as he wants to.

To those who have called for firings, it could take two-three years for a new coach and staff to even begin to make sustainable progress. Do you have the patience to wait? I’m interested to hear you thoughts.

111 comments Add your comment

GSU_Grad_2002

November 6th, 2011
12:35 pm

I am a season ticket holder and a firm supporter of Bill Curry. He has coached football longer and knows more about the game than I or anyone else criticizing ever will. However, this team lacks an identity. They seem to change any identity based on their personnel on the field at the time, which is what you normally do. But that’s also why you recruit certain players, to hopefully play in a certain scheme. There is no reason a bunch of non-scholarship/walk-on players can come into your home field and run you up and down the field. Either the coaches aren’t making the needed adjustments or the players have quit on this coaches. That’s it. I hope Coach Curry can figure it out and right the ship back to where we were last season.

Alum03

November 6th, 2011
12:43 pm

Last Season? Huh…we were supposed to be better than last season. We haven’t even gotten any better this season. We are learning nothing. Finally bothered to “study film” before the UTSA game? I am tired of the excuses. Curry needs to start looking for replacments of his coordinators. Pugh needs to load up on Juco transfers. Ben Mclane needs to start next year and we all need to get used to losing.

FIRE LEVIK!!

November 6th, 2011
12:49 pm

can·cer  /ˈkænsər/ Show Spelled[kan-ser] Show IPAnoun1.Pathology.a.amalignantandinvasivegrowthortumor,especiallyoneoriginatinginepithelium,tendingtorecurafterexcisionandtometastasizetoothersites.
b.anydiseasecharacterizedbysuchgrowths.
2.anyevilconditionorthingthatspreadsdestructively;blight.

Synonym: John Bond

G-State

November 6th, 2011
12:52 pm

Frankly I am ready for the O line to graduate. Hopefully they are better at finding jobs than they are blocks.

theRealGsuMy@$$

November 6th, 2011
1:00 pm

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA – But CBC was an SEC coach…….he’s been on Mike and Mike…….GSU belongs playing in the SEC, no wonder they over looked a NAIA school, they are focused on beating LSU and BAMA when they get the invite from the SEC. That whole Missouri story is just to take the pressure off.
Kinda bad when the fans want to fire a coach in just the 2nd year of the program. What happens when you finish last in the CAA next year? You guys need to get some realistic expectations. Until then, be prepared to get troll’d away.

KBonner

November 6th, 2011
1:13 pm

Throw Thompson on the list of folks to go. Two weeks in a row he softens up or Defense at the end and allows a team to tie it up under a minute. He did the same thing in the USA game but fortunately we won that. Our lines should have dominated and our secondary should have had at least 4 picks. On the other had, Bond should have never allowed the game to be that close however in either game. Our offense is incompetent.

RidgeRunner

November 6th, 2011
1:27 pm

I am done with this team that seems to find ways to lose the way basketball did for the last couple of years. Now that we have an energized basketball program I will turn all my attention there. Scratch the last couple of football games which they are sure to lose and spend my emotional currency on basketball. Who know, maybe just scratch season tickets next year and wait until they find a way to use their talents more productively. Being embarrassed once a season is one thing, but darn near every week is not in my alumni fan contract.

We lost to NAIA?!?!?!?!

November 6th, 2011
1:47 pm

Dear God… I do not ever want to hear ” We will be fine… we will move up in FBS so this really doesn’t matter”. DELUSIONAL!!! WE ARE GARBAGE!

takerjw

November 6th, 2011
1:57 pm

Cant wait till you guys play in the CAA. What a joke!

straightshooter

November 6th, 2011
2:10 pm

If something doesn’t change at GSU, things will only get much worse. The CAA is down a bit from the past this season, but the teams GSU will face next year are light years better than most of what they faced this year. The road trips are longer, the weather much colder and the teams much more experienced. The really tough part of this is that CAA teams are so far removed from Atlanta that their fan base won’t travel well. As a result, GSU will have to count on its own fan base (if they really have one) to put butts in the seats.

Let’s not forget that Atlanta is a UGA/GT town and only a winning GSU team will have any chance of even getting their students and alumni away from TVs and radios when UGA or GT are playing.

Like most schools, I can assume that GSU counts actual tickets sold in their attendance figures. Season ticket holders get counted as “present” whether they are at the game or not. From what I’ve seen, the announced attendance figures for GSU games at The Dome have been seriously inflated, and I doubt that the Fighting Camels are going to do much to raise the attendance average.

I can’t say whether the coaching staff needs to be changed, but it does appear that they have pretty much lost the team, and the team chemistry is just not there. GSU should keep in mind that no matter how much ESPN or the AJC love Curry, a losing program is a losing program, and fans simply won’t support that with their attendance or money.

takerjw

November 6th, 2011
2:18 pm

HAIL SOUTHERN!

GSunPnthr

November 6th, 2011
2:34 pm

Very troubling loss, chin up Panthers. Yeah this year has been a bumpy road but we’ll be stronger for it. The folks yelling “fire” are uninformed. Not going to allow myself to be distracted by this. Curry and Levick will get this figured out and we will be fine.
GO PANTHERS!!

GSUAlumBaseball81

November 6th, 2011
3:08 pm

Maybe we should pretend the 4th quarter is the 2nd quarter since we forget everything we know on offense and defense in the 4th quarter. It’s mind boggling to sit in the stands and watch the offense forget how to move the ball and the defense get run over every 4th quarter except our home opener. Call it lack of conditioning, strategy/execution or coaching or a combination of all three. We do need an offensive strategy/identity to build on from week to week as we seem to be all over the place. Have we thrown the ball to our tight end “Bully” at all this season? Maybe a traditioanl screen pass when their defense is over pursuing? How about a fullback to add another blocker for the lone running back? Also, four down defensive linemen seems to work better against the run when we use it. Just some thoughts and observations from a loyal fan who has attended all but the Houston game.

VSU Alumnus

November 6th, 2011
3:14 pm

Wow….As you know I have always supported you,but this is not good. If you want football you have to make this work in the CAA. State is too big to be D2 because I doubt any D2 conference would want a public U with 25K plus students. This also rules out 1-AA non-scholarship like the Pioneer League. They are mainly private U’s. You need to get creative.Fire Curry. Hire a coach in his late 20’s and give him and his young,hungry coaching friends the op of a life time.Give them base contracts with lots of bonus clauses.Let him change the unis. Let the team burn the old ones. Get wild with it. Go Panthers and Blazers !!!

GSunPnthr

November 6th, 2011
3:15 pm

@GSUAlumBB81,
Great points, agree with all of them. Sorry you missed the Houston game except for the score it was a lot of fun. I know this is very ignorant but have you noticed that most opposing teams have sophisticated call in system of signs, pictures and numbering schemes. I know that we hold up a two digit number on a note pad but are we doing anything that is more sophisticated or is it possible that our signs are being read.

FIRE BILL CURRY NOW

November 6th, 2011
3:25 pm

BLAH BLAH BLAH. The bottom line is we are being outcoached week in and week out. FIRE THIS OLD DINOSAUR NOW! He is a career loser, enough said. No seriously just shut up with the excuses and other reasons. Bill Curry is in charge of this program and is doing a terrible job. Look at the wins and losses. This boggles my mind!

Alec Baldwin

November 6th, 2011
3:51 pm

This couldn’t have happened to a better dysfunctional athletics department. Can’t manage, can’t sell tickets, can’t raise money. So much for your image as a leader CL.

GSUAlumBaseball81

November 6th, 2011
4:41 pm

@GSunPanther

Not sure but it’s painful to watch the offensive play calling late in the game in critical situations. It’s like we forget what has been working earlier in the game. Watched DR20 out run all of UTSA’s defense after running to the short side of the field, which we seem to do alot, and reversing the run to race 30+ yards to the end zone.Give DR20 a blocking back like Arthur “Bully” Williams and it could possibly spring him into the secondary for even bigger gains! Or maybe put DR20 and TE21 in a split backfield to offer some mis-direction/extra blocking in our running game. We are running twins and trips formations with a lone back and running the ball without a blocking back. I don’t get it? But the 4th quarter is the big mystery at this point as we cannot get the ball accross the goal line?

theRealGsuMy@$$

November 6th, 2011
4:54 pm

again – HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA – the crying and whining by all the “fans” is just as pathetic as the program itself……whenever gag state does decide to clean house, they should have no problem finding replacements with all the football guru’s on this blog……let’s go STATE!!! I heard Berry College is starting football – maybe ya’ll can schedule them!

Itsmeagain

November 6th, 2011
5:03 pm

Having a terrible season and still people care more about us than they do Southern

GSunPnthr

November 6th, 2011
5:07 pm

@ itsmeagain….LOL!! Sad how pathetic and transparent some folks are.

KBonner

November 6th, 2011
5:11 pm

HAHA itsmeagain. Very true. Funny but if we shut down the program and went back to circa 2009, GASo would still suck, no one would care about them and these losers would have nothing to do. What did you idiots do before GSU had football anyway?

theRealGsuMy@$$

November 6th, 2011
5:13 pm

@itsmeagain – yeah, the whole 1000 people that traveled from St Francis to fill up the dome sure do care more about you than Southern. I love how every other football program in America is irrelevant to gag state. You people are mind-blowing.
Just exactly what people are you referring to that care more about gag state than Southern?? We have a fan base – oh that’s right, gag state has DA DOME.

theRealGsuMy@$$

November 6th, 2011
5:15 pm

@KBonner – 8-1……leading the conference – playoff eligible…yeah that sucks. I guess beating Clark-Atlanta and losing to NAIA schools is #WINNING – stay thirsty my friends.

theRealGsuMy@$$

November 6th, 2011
5:19 pm

hahaahahahhaha –
gsu fan 1 – fire everyone, we suck
gsu fan 2 – come on fan 1 – these Southern fans are sooooo envious of us, i’m sure they are not just a fan of college football and read the ajc like a million other people do and choose to voice their opinions on irrelevant football teams like ours just to kill a few minutes of their day.
gsu fan 1 – yeah but they suck, all they do is win down there in the middle of the country, nobody cares about them, it’s not like they average over 20k people a game, did i mention they are out in the middle of no where and can still draw a crowd 4 times as big as we can
gsu fan 2 – yeah they do suck, nobody cares about them at all – let’s go roast marsh mallows and wait for our BCS conference invite – i’m sure its already been signed sealed and delivered.

straightshooter

November 6th, 2011
5:38 pm

The real truth here is that no one in Atlanta cares about GA State football but the few posters on this board. That is evidenced by the fact that out of 30,000 students in the school, only a very small percentage of them regularly attend games. With performances like yesterday, that number will continue to go down.

I’m sure there are a few select alumni giving a few bucks every year, but at the rate this program is imploding, good luck with the fund raising campaign next year. Some even wrote big checks early on, thinking the transition to bigger and better things would be an easy one. This is sad, but I think many fans had no idea how difficult getting the program going would be.

I hear a bunch of jaw flapping about big school. big city, pro arena to play in and all the great athletes being recruited and signed, but so far it’s just lip service.

Big school, yes, but not many students live on campus. Most are apathetic about coming downtown to a game when they can sit at home and watch GT or UGA on TV with their buddiies and a few beers. Big city, yes, but not all players want to play in big cities and in the wrong part of town. Pro arena to play in, yes, but you can hear echos in that empty place when GA State has a home game. Recruits who can really play aren’t usually impressed by that. Finally, great athletes being recruited and signed….signed is the only part of that statement that is true. A team full of no star recruits and transfers who couldn’t make it where they signed does not a championship team make.

ODU has had some success because the school isn’t right on top of their two top state universities, and because the area has been long accustomed to FCS football with Richmond and Norfolk State so close by. If you look at how ODU did things, you can see they did them the right way. They built a stadium that they could manage to fill for every home game and they understood that the FCS level of competition was good enough to allow the program to properly grow.

GA State fans, not necessarily administration, saw FCS as merely a speed bump along the way to some big FCS conference. Well, that speed bump is now a big, very tall and thick WALL!

GStateBen

November 6th, 2011
6:30 pm

Great write up Doug. It seems only the lunatic fringe post here.

Excellent post and I hope you are able to make the West Alabama trip.

Panama

November 6th, 2011
6:44 pm

Excellent analysis and spot on Doug.

agsu92

November 6th, 2011
6:45 pm

I’m going to blame GSU’s announcer Dave Cohen. That guy has probably called more losing games than any sportscaster in history. He’s bad luck.

Gsuwho

November 6th, 2011
6:51 pm

GSU sucks, plain and simple. Embarrassing for the city of Atlanta and their school, cancel the program now and save us the grief.

We lost to NAIA?!?!?!?!

November 6th, 2011
7:04 pm

GStateBen…. I’ve read your write up on going to CUSA… you really believe someone wants to add US??? Why would they do it? It would only diminish their how competitive they want to be. We need to at least win something right? Why do we feel that if we go up our problems are solved. I’m a third year at State and I’m really having a hard time from jumping the ledge on our program.

PT

November 6th, 2011
7:06 pm

Bill Curry has a life time sub .500 winning percentage. What did GSU expect from Curry?

Panthersville.com

November 6th, 2011
7:08 pm

A startup program loaded with young players, many of which had no other options. It will get better as the program matures. Too many Atlanta fans are used to BCS quality teams and unwilling to accept anything less. Well, our two BCS teams starting playing over 100 years ago. How about we give GSU at least 1/20 of that before we go calling for firings?

TVFan

November 6th, 2011
7:10 pm

As an outsider looking in, Georgia State should have started out DIV III and played in a smaller venue like the football stadium on the Morris Brown campus or the refurished Grady Stadium. Build the program slowly. Playing games in the Georgia Dome must cost a lot of money. Playing Alabama and Tennessee is just blood money and will not help develop the future of the program or make the fans happy. Ask Western Kentucky, UAB, and some Southern Conference teams.

If your AD wants to continue spending money, Ralph Friedgen, Mike Leach, and Butch Davis are available for the right price.

Panthersville.com

November 6th, 2011
7:10 pm

“We lost”…re-read Ben’s piece and you will answer your own questions. Then sit back and be glad that you have a program to be this passionate about.

Panthersville.com

November 6th, 2011
7:11 pm

TVFan….reading your post, “outsider” doesn’t cover it. “Doesn’t have a clue what is going on” would be more appropriate.

We lost to NAIA?!?!?!?!

November 6th, 2011
7:25 pm

We make the case we offer the TV market… what good is that if we can’t win anything?? I wonder what the Falcons tv raters were in 2007 when Vick got arrested, it could be in that range.

GSUAlum89

November 6th, 2011
7:30 pm

Well, my $5000/year donation to the athletics department is officially on hold until we get rid of Bill Curry.

Hail Southern!

November 6th, 2011
7:32 pm

OMG… I just read that article…. GStateBen…. or Ben “I have a panther up my butt” Moore… you sir are so delusional. Good luck Winning in the CAA, cause nobody will take you.

GS4Life

November 6th, 2011
7:46 pm

You are all a bunch of bitches. You moan and whine about winning yet are you loyally at the games? Do you tailgate, go to the Panther Walk or the away games? Other than the fickle Mr. Alum89 do any of you contribute consistantly to the athletics department of PAC? If you do great but if you don’t then you do not get to have an opinion. Our program will get better, will succeed and will grow in stature. I only hope you can remember how pathetic you were back in 2011 whining like a bunch of little babies when it gets better.

Panthersville.com

November 6th, 2011
7:50 pm

‘We lost” – direct those questions to USF and UCF, they have the answers…and the BCS conference to show for it.

Panther85

November 6th, 2011
7:58 pm

@Gsu4Life, Amen brother totally agree. After 30 years I’m sure CBC has heard everything that any of us could possibly say. If you actually care about the program why don’t people stick to being constructive and post observations about our performance. I promise you that the coaches and staff read these posts and if we post suggestions they might help our program get better. A few weeks ago everyone was complaining about our punting and that became a focus and we got better. I suggest we get over the emotional part of this and start talking brass tax. With that in mind, we have got to start either running up the score or solve this 4th quarter issue we have with not being able to score. Also, we need to focus on our kicking game and the onside kick problem immediately.

NC

November 6th, 2011
8:00 pm

So people want to fire the AD and the Head coach? Really? Two years ago Georgia State had no football team. Last year we overachieved, and it raised our expectations too high for this team. Granted, Yesterday’s loss was unacceptable. Hopefully the team learns from this and will never want to feel this disappointment again and will work harder and be more attentive to detail. Building a program takes money, talent and most importantly time. Calling for the AD and Head Coaches heads is being ungrateful.

Please let the season be over

November 6th, 2011
8:06 pm

@Panther85 Here’s your constructive criticism: Bill Curry should resign because he has proven through his win/loss record that he is not a good coach. He’s an old fart and has never been a good coach. Hasn’t he been fired from every coaching job he’s ever had? Here’s your observations: Our players are unmotivated, have no heart, and are coached badly according to the product on the field. Get left or get out. I’m looking at you Bill.

Panther85

November 6th, 2011
8:11 pm

I also think Danny and Bully Williams have been under utilized this season. Last year they were monsters and this year not so much. Is this due to injury, incorrect or ineffective routes. It doesn’t seem that we have the same passing attack and while I understand that Bo and Kelton are not the Drew Little of last year, Kelton certainly has the arm.

GSU4Life

November 6th, 2011
8:17 pm

Our biggest problem besides bad play calling is by far our line play on both sides of the ball. I do not know how to correct this but our guys need to pick up blocks, focus on their assignments and tackle, tackle, tackle. I think our linebackers also need to step up and recognize run/pass plays quicker. They have been ripped by the run and screen pass all year and this MUST stop.

GSunPnthr

November 6th, 2011
8:31 pm

Danny williams should have dominated yesterday. He was WIDE open at least three times. Their little #8 was a foot and a half smaller and every time we was lined up with him Bond should have reckognized the mismatch. I have noticed also that Kelton had all day to trow on numerous occasions, at some point our tight ends need to get involved more.

GSunPnthr

November 6th, 2011
8:36 pm

Our secondary looked pretty rough yesterday too. Twice Demarius Mathews Was caught in coverage not even realizing the pass was on it’s way. The QB was telegraphing all day our safety’s should have been all over that and pick him off. Remember in both the USA and UTSA they have been hit in the numbers without a pick.

GSunPnthr

November 6th, 2011
9:08 pm

Hmmmm…. Ask folks to think about what they say and contribute? Crickets. We are all sheep and deserve to get slaughtered. Personally I think we need to start airing out the ball more. Considering Kelton is always a run threat we should pass more and get him to go through his reads and if nothing’s there take off. I also would like to see more screen passes.

Mark

November 6th, 2011
9:12 pm

Once again….this is a football program that should not have been created! Abolish it now and save the kids the huge athletic fee!!!