Georgia State will be without 14 players on defense for Saturday’s spring game.
Ten of those missing will be because of injury, while four are out because of team-rules related suspensions.
Of the 14, six were listed as first-string on the pre-spring depth chart. Those who won’t play because of injuries include defensive linemen Allen McKay and C.J. Stephens, and linebackers Robert Ferguson and Mark Hogan. Coach Bill Curry said all of the players should return by May. Those who will miss because of suspension include defensive lineman Terrance Woodard and linebacker Dexter Moody. Also suspended are linebacker Jarrell Robinson and defensive lineman Roderick Thompson. Curry said, with the exception of Moody’s, the three suspensions should be lifted by next week. The suspensions weren’t related.
The spring game will be held at noon Saturday at the team’s practice facility.
Curry said the team’s injury situation is so thin, if any more are suffered in Saturday’s scrimmage they may end the game and switch to drills.
“It will last as long as we have enough people to play,” he said.
The team doesn’t have its full roster because the seniors have already left and most of the signees haven’t enrolled yet.
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The injuries have provided opportunities for several players, including safety Mitchell Vinson, who has been repeatedly praised by the coaches.
“Mitchell tries hard and I love him for that,” Curry said. “He’s smart, lines up and makes plays.”
Curry said Vinson almost tries too hard, so much so that he’s afraid he’s going to pull a muscle. It reminded Curry of his first day of practice in the NFL, when apparently he was pushing himself so much it was obvious to those watching.
Finally, coach Vince Lombardi pulled Curry aside.
Curry thought he was going to be cut.
Instead, Lombardi said he was trying too hard (”I didn’t think that was possible,” he said) and told him to relax.
“Just do your best,” Curry remembers him saying.
Vinson, 5-11, 195 pounds, originally enrolled at Benedict College after graduating from Monroe Area High School. He said he wanted to improve his education and enrolled at West Georgia. He then realized he wanted to come to Georgia State. So, he transferred again in 2010. He played in four games last season.
“I’m just coming out every day and working hard,” Vinson said. “They preach effort every day.”
Curry said linebackers Kyle Vorster, a January enrollee, and Dillon LiVecche, a transfer from Morehead State, and safety Rashad Stewart, who transferred from Louisville last year, have caught his eye. Stewart is playing with the first team.
Tennessee wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers is reportedly interested in transferring to Georgia State. However, Georgia State said it hasn’t been contacted by Rogers.
Panthersville.com reported on Thursday that Rogers said if he were to transfer, the only school he would consider is GSU. Rogers, 6-2, 203 pounds, was a standout at Calhoun County High School. He was long-time commitment to Georgia, but changed his mind a few days from Signing Day and went with the Vols.
Rogers caught 78 passes for 1,207 yards and 11 touchdowns in two seasons. He skipped Tennessee’s practice on Thursday amid reports that he was facing an undisclosed disciplinary action from coach Derek Dooley. Dooley told ESPN that he had no knowledge that Rogers wanted to leave.
“Da’Rick has some things he has to do internally,” Dooley said. “When he does them, he’ll be back. It’s an internal team issue. It’s something he has to finish doing some stuff and when he does, he’ll be back.”
Rogers wasn’t allowed to work out with the team for a short period earlier in the offseason. Rogers also got into trouble with Dooley at the end of the 2011 season.
A message to Rogers hasn’t been returned.
If Rogers were to leave Tennessee for a FCS school, he would be able to compete immediately. He has two years of eligibility remaining.
Georgia State will play Tennessee in Knoxville on Sept. 8.
Offensive coordinator John Bond said neither Kelton Hill, Bo Schlechter nor Ben McLane have secured the quarterback job yet.
McLane, who will be a redshirt freshman in the fall, is starting to see more snaps with the first team. Hill is the presumed starter after finishing the 2011 season with five consecutive starts and passing for 1,021 yards and 11 touchdowns. Schlechter started four games but gradually ceded time first to Drew Little and then to Hill.
Bond said the quarterback that wins the starting spot is the one who is the most consistent in the team’s new no-huddle attack.
“All three of the guys have to be a lot more consistent throwing the football in order for us to be as good as we can be,” Bond said.
Bond said McLane has been the most consistent of the trio, though he said he reverted to his freshman form during Thursday’s practice.
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu