Georgia State offensive lineman Michael Davis is the latest part in the AJC’s preseason Q&As. Davis suffered a broken ankle last season that sidelined him for the last eight games. He is healthy and will be one of the leaders that must replace at least three starters on the line:
Q: How is your injury?
A: I’m back to 100 percent. I have absolutely no limitations at this point. I’m out there running around with the rest of the guys.
Q: How is your strength?
A: The strength is coming back really good. Coach Pollard has been working with me really well. The strength is back.
Q: How would you say the state of the offensive line is right now?
A: I think we are expecting to be much improved this year. I think our athleticism is a little bit better this year than last year. We’ve been working really hard as a unit. From the starters to the third string, we’ve been working really well, bonding as a group, which is going to help us a lot.
Q: How are y’all bonding?
A: Sometimes we’ll go out and hang out together and eat together. We spend a lot of extra time on the field together. We’ve been working hard together, pushing each other to get better.
Q: What were the areas that the line can improve on this season?
A: There are areas that we needed to work on. I feel like we needed to play consistently together a little more. There were a lot of things we could have worked on. We will continue to improve in those areas and we will be better this year.
Q: A redshirt freshmen is the starting quarterback right now. Does the line feel any more pressure with an inexperienced quarterback?
A: Not at all. I feel like all of our quarterbacks are working hard together and I feel like they will be much improved this year. They all have the offense down so we’re confident that any of them can go out there and execute the offense this fall.
Q: What did the line do well last year that those who are returning can replicate?
A: We really did last year in pass protection. We didn’t give up many sacks at all last year. That was one of our strongest points. We will able to replicate that next year and improve on that and hopefully improve in the run game as well.
Q: Which freshmen are performing well?
A: I can talk mostly about the offensive and defensive linemen. There are a lot of freshmen that are working really hard. Garrett Gorringe is doing really well. Mark Ruskell is doing well. All three of our offensive linemen are doing well. [Joe] Lockley is working really hard. And those are just the ones I’ve seen closely.
Q: Coach Pollard talked about how much stronger and faster everyone looks this year compared to last summer. What evidence do you see of that?
A: It’s night and day. You can just tell we’re moving a lot faster. You can just see from our numbers that we are a lot stronger. We are testing off the charts compared to last year. It’s a product of having coach Pollard for the whole summer.
Q: Does the line have any goals this year?
A: We haven’t set specific numbers this year. We just want to be able to go out there and on any given 3rd and 1 convert on running the ball or passing the ball. We want to keep our quarterback safe. I feel like we, with the skill position player we have, we should do a lot on offense.
Q: Will that improved strength help win some of the fourth-quarter battles that y’all were losing last year?
A: I think it definitely well. What will also help is we are a lot closer team this year. That’s going to pull us through a lot of those fourth-quarter games.
Q: Are you closer because you’ve spent another year together?
A: We’ve spent another year together, another full offseason together. I think we will continue to bond and when we get to the fourth quarter we will want to pull through.
Q: Has the team been talking about the Sun Belt Conference?
A: I don’t know every detail but we are excited about it. We will have to work that much harder to compete at a higher level.