Curry reviews Georgia State’s season

First, I want to apologize that you haven’t had a blog for the past few days. I was on vacation last week and Monday.

I’ll be at the basketball games on Thursday and Saturday. Hope to see you there.

Anyway, enough about me.

Here’s an end-of-the season review with football coach Bill Curry. Answers have been paraphrased in some instances.

Q: What will be the emphasis in the offseason for the team?

A: The priority coming off the severe disappointment is to have a plan to immediately get to work on the things that really matter.

No. 1 is final exams

No. 1a. is any sort of misunderstandings or controversies related to academics…violations, that sort of thing.

We have to go right to work, getting ready for our football team to be improved. We are already back in the weight room. The team is enthused to work, to get better starting now; not starting in January, starting now.

Coaches are meeting with players, talking academics and performance. And I am meeting with players. I’ve met with 20 so far. We will talk about goals, aspirations, why we played the way we did. We’re trying to incorporate their goals into what we are doing. We started doing this last Monday.

I’ve learned that immediate positive work reinforcement improves grades, morale, strength, conditioning, all those things. You need to strike while people are feeling the sting of knowing we didn’t come close to fulfilling their potential.

These are things that would seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times things are allowed to linger. We aren’t going to do that.

The short answer is to go back to work.

Q: Were things allowed to linger last year? Do you think that contributed to the problems?

A: I think what lingered was the notion that somehow we had done so well. The immature response to having done well is, ‘Oh it’ll be easy now.’ We didn’t anticipate that. As we began to have disciplinary issues, we realized that we weren’t the same. We were working from that point forward to correct it. We didn’t have the same psychological mindset as we had during the season.

Q: What position is the priority in recruiting?

A: We really need some of everything. That’s the truth. We need defensive linemen, linebackers, a corner; we need a wide receiver, we need some offensive linemen, a quarterback.

Q: Every coach sets up their recruiting differently. I didn’t know if, because you are about to lose a lot of offensive linemen, if you were going to try to replace them man for man.

A: We have backups that will be ready on the offensive line. Defensively, we need more people.

Q: Speaking of the defense, will you switch your base to the 4-3, instead of the 3-4. The change seemed to work.

A: We have discussed it. We won’t get into that. Right now the coaches are mostly on the road recruiting.

We will make decisions about structure and strategies and those kinds of things after we get back off the road. The coordinators will be here in December most of the time. They’ve already begun work on it.

Q: Do you anticipate any changes on the staff?

A: There’s always a possibility that there could be changes, but there’s hasn’t been any change to this point.

Q: To be more direct, will you make any changes on the staff?

A: I haven’t made that decision yet.

Q: Have any players approached you about transferring out?

A: [Long pause] I have had a player or two talk about quitting football, but not about transferring. Nobody has come in with an ultimatum, or ‘This is what I’m thinking about.’ That’s why I’m having face-to-face meetings.

Q: How did this year better prepare for the team for the CAA in 2012?

A: I think it was slap in the face, a reality check. ‘Here’s what you have to do to win.’ Everybody knows we are going to play tougher teams next year. I think five of them are still playing.

It was, I think, a huge spark, to launch our enthusiasm. It is evident in our work already the last few days.

Q: There were a lot of negatives last year. What were the positives?

A: Guys didn’t quit. They kept fighting down the stretch. Even though we didn’t do well in the fourth quarter, which was the most obvious shortcoming of all, neither did we fold the tent. I think a lot of teams would have thrown in the towel under similar circumstances, teams that wouldn’t go out and try to win the last few games, but we did, we tried.

I think that’s important.

I think, too, that we learned the real hard way, how priceless field position is, when we went through that stretch of letting people return kickoffs to the 40-yard line over and over, and the penalties.

Football is a game of field position and turnovers.

While our running backs committed zero turnovers on the season, we did turn it over more than we should at times. When we did, it really hurt us.

We relearned some of the basics of football in some of the most important of ways, and those things tend to stick.

Q: A lot of coaches like to use different scores or moments from the previous season to motivate the team for the next season, Saban using the Auburn game as an example. Is there anything you will use from last season?

A: I’ve never been big on looking back. We’ve already had a team meeting and talked about what happened and specifics. We’ll only look back to reference what we have to do going forward.

There may be a phrase that we will come up with when we come back in January. For now, it’s strictly school business, getting in the weight room, keeping your body working right.

Having the breaks are important.

Q: Was there a position group that you were pleased with?

A: I’m proud of our running backs for hanging onto the ball. It’s hard to go through a season without turning over the ball. I almost don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to jinx it. Our running game improved. It wasn’t 100-percent consistent, but it improved. We hung onto the ball well.

The most obvious key in today’s college football is that the quarterback now dominates. There was a time when you could be a big physical team and the quarterback could be like a conductor. You can’t do that anymore.

The quarterback has to think on his feet, see things, thousands of repetitions based upon working with his receivers.

We ddin’t have privilege this year. We had a variety of people playing quarterback. That changes with each personality on the field. Things change drastically.

We had four people play center. Those are facts, but facts you usually don’t deal with. They were never used to say ‘Don’t expect us to play well this week.’ We didn’t bring it up. We wouldn’t unless you asked.

Defensively, there were times when we were short-handed, especially with the absence of Jake Muasau, who was our playmaker. That doesn’t change the fact we have to tackle better, and do things better.

Q: You still plan on coaching through your contract?

A: Yes.

Q: You and athletic director Cheryl Levick will talk about a succession plan at some point?

A: We will talk about it.

Q: To say a succession plan will be discussed implies one might be needed, that you won’t coach after your contract. Or is it just that you will decide once your contract is done?

A: You’ve got it right, when the contract is done [I'll decide].

Q: Who will you miss most?

A: I’m going to miss all these guys. They pitched in. They came here because they believed in something that might happen and helped us put it together, even though we didn’t put it together on the field.

I expect all of them to graduate and I want them to remember this as a tough proving ground and a time to grow up. I believe they all have. They’ve learned how to deal with something without complaining and how to deal with the rest of their lives.

I hope I hear years from now how much they said they respect each other after the game. It’s an open time. It always has been.

Naturally, you have certain people who give you a lift. I’m going to really miss Brandon Jones. Who at 6:15 in the morning is going to give me a lift. If I was feeling sorry myself, I could look up and Brandon is sitting there ready to write down the next thing I say. Certain people help motivate the coach.

Brandon, because he was here from day 1, I’ll always remember being that attentive upbeat presence.

Q: Will you continue to look at transfers?

A: Yes. I didn’t expect to have this many. We never anticipated this many seniors. But you don’t turn down Joseph Gilbert and Clyde Yandell if they show up. If we are fortunate and if we have a spot, then we will anticipate that there will be some. It’s a fact of life in today’s football.

Q: I didn’t know if there had been a philosophical shift away from transfers to start building the team through four-year players.

A: There is a philosophical change there. We aren’t visiting junior colleges the way we were a few years ago. I felt we needed to make a splash in the first two years. I felt like this year would be a step up. I was wrong. We have to live with that and go about our business.

I’d have given anything had this year fulfilled my expectations. Go on with the plan, which is to build the program in a league that is very sound academically and athletically. We want to be good members in the league, competitive members.

– Doug Roberson

Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu.

23 comments Add your comment

hammer22

November 29th, 2011
7:39 pm

Great interview

hammer22

November 29th, 2011
7:40 pm

If we could get an interview from Bond and Thompson, that would be great as well. I particularly like to hear from John Bond.

GState

November 29th, 2011
7:41 pm

FIRE CURRY!!!

GStateBen

November 29th, 2011
8:00 pm

Great work Doug. I think this should answer many questions. We have the personnel to play 4-3 right now with an improved NG Terrance Woodard, DE CJ Stephens, DE AJ Portee and multiple candidates to play DT.

Onward and upward.

BTW, we got commit #17 for the 2012 class. As Curry mentioned, jobs are on the line this offseason. Recruits are better than current backups.

Get Left or Get Right.

Les Wilson

November 29th, 2011
8:17 pm

I have known Bill Curry since we were in Little League baseball in College Park and on the football field at College Park High, and he has always had a knack of deep thinking and planning that was unique to his persona. While I was surprised that he took this job at his age, I feel that the beginning of a football program at Georgia State could not have chosen a harder-working, more dedicated person than Bill Curry and I feel certain that he will get the program off to a good start because no one will commit more energy or quality leadership than my old friend from CPHS. He and Carolyn have been a dynamic duo for a long time and I am sure that Ga. State used the very best starting coach they could have found anywhere because he CARES.

Panthersville.com

November 29th, 2011
10:20 pm

I get the feeling he is a little bothered by the obsession over his contract. How many times does he have to say that he will re-evaluate when it is up before we just take him at his word? I am a little surprised that he left open the question about staff changes though.

English

November 29th, 2011
11:55 pm

That’s been the best interview I’ve ever read regarding Coach Curry. Kudos to you Doug for asking very difficult questions. IMO, CBC has evaded these types of questions in the past but after having a poor season someone needed to ask him these. His radio show often gets watered down with trivial questions that don’t mean much. Once again, thank you.

Go State!
(Continue to improve)

Butler

November 30th, 2011
12:40 am

Excellent interview. I appreciated Curry’s transparency. As disappointing as the results of this season were and as disheartening as the 4th qtr collapses were watch, I remain optimistic about 2012.
Go Panthers!

Alec Baldwin

November 30th, 2011
12:46 am

Too bad he didn’t let loose on what he really thinks. I bet some Ga. State fans would be surprised as to what he has to say.

Sluggo

November 30th, 2011
12:55 am

Let’s get better this offseason and compete next year in the CAA. It can be done with the right mix of guys, coaches, etc. Go Panthers!

Paddy

November 30th, 2011
8:08 am

Next season State is going to be where ODU is this year after 3 seasons. A couple goals might be to avg 20,000 fans per game and make the playoffs. ODU is a commuter school like State but with a much smaller enrollment and population base. They play in a state where HS football is not “king”. State has so many advantages that ODU does not have. This should have been so much easier for State but has not happened to date. I like CBC alot. His answers to Doug’s question did not inspire much confidence about the progress of the program. Lets wait and see and hope for the best!

GStateBen

November 30th, 2011
8:46 am

ODU was and continues to be a very poor comparison to Georgia State. They have little market competition and a 20,000 seat stadium. I respect what they have done with a very good HC and talented players but FCS is their ceiling.

As a Norfolk, VA native I am openly rooting for them to upset Southern this weekend. As I have many times, ODU athletics does everything right from marketing, to coaching hires to creating a tremendous culture that has spanned decades.

Dr. Phil

November 30th, 2011
9:47 am

If all college coaches stressed character issues, for players as well as themselves, college football would be much better off. Good luck, coach.

GState

November 30th, 2011
10:11 am

FCS is not the ceiling for ODU. In just 3 years they are in the playoffs and selling out their stadium. Over 60,000 people requested tickets to their game vs. Norfolk State this past weekend. Tickets were selling as high as $250. ODU will be in the FBS within 10 years.

STATEment

November 30th, 2011
10:54 am

Good read! Thanks for the interview. I am optimistic about next year. We need to find a quarterback that will be OUR quarterback early and ride him through the spring summer and fall. No team in the country could have found success with rotating 3 different QBs throughout the season not to mention that one was a WR last year. Couple that with keeping a starting center healthy and we would have seen much, much better results this year. Too much to overcome there, not to mention all the other injuries we endured.

The schedule is going to be brutal next year playing a CAA schedule, a Tennessee team that should be healthy and much improved, and opening at home with SC State! We better right the ship ASAP!

English

November 30th, 2011
11:23 am

I agree with GState. FCS is not the end for ODU. They will always be competitive and will get their chance to move to FBS. We’re no where near that and should not talk like we are. We need to win on a consistent basis.

Panthers need a Paladin

November 30th, 2011
12:07 pm

The Panthers need to lock down Jacob Miller from Fellowship Christian School! He is 6′5″ 260 lbs and growing. The kid is quality through and through and will add depth to the offensive and defensive lines! An immediate impact player with a high level of integrity!

Stateside

November 30th, 2011
1:54 pm

Thanks for the great interview. I definitely have high hopes for 2012!

GSUtimes2

November 30th, 2011
4:27 pm

Good article Doug. Already looking forward to signing day and the 2012 season…

GSU student

November 30th, 2011
5:14 pm

Go Panther! we have faith in you.

Paddy

November 30th, 2011
6:43 pm

GaState Ben……I must disagree. ODU can and will move up in football classification. My guess is that the next step will be the MAC. A 20,000 seat stadium does not deter the MAC schools. GSU had a chance to follow the model set by ODU and declined. Yes there is less compitition for them but Hampton Roads is 7 times smaller than greater Atlanta’s population. There are fans out there for GSU, it just stumbled and bumbled in their marketing efforts. I just don’t see GSU with a 20,000 avg game attendance and a play-off berth next season!

GSU Band Fan

December 1st, 2011
12:07 pm

Great article! GSU is still in the growing and developing stage and my group totally supports Curry and his efforts. Already locked in our season tickets for 2012 and looking forward to an improved team.

The band is already great and we’re hoping the team will be great in 2012!

Go Blue!

GStateBen

December 5th, 2011
7:17 am

HAIL SOUTHERN!