Georgia State’s football team entered the 2011 season with many questions that never got answered.
After a 3-8 record punctuated by another offseason of disciplinary problems, those questions haven’t gone away as the Panthers begin practice on Wednesday. They have less than four weeks before they open the season hosting S.C. State on Aug. 30 at the Georgia Dome. They will then dive into their first and last Colonial Athletic Association in a schedule that should be much more difficult than last year’s. The Panthers are joining the Sun Belt next year.
Here’s the first part in the five-part look at August’s practices:
Will focus be an issue considering this is the last year of the CAA, and coach Bill Curry hasn’t announced if he will lead the team into the Sun Belt next year?
Curry said focus shouldn’t be an issue for several reasons:
First, every season has been unusual so this one shouldn’t be any different. The program played its first season three years ago. The second season consisted of a patch-work schedule of opponents. Now, the third, the Panthers’ only one in the CAA, is at hand.
Second, Curry said the team finally has a senior class that has experienced different things, but the main point is they are still at Georgia State, “determined to make this thing work.”
Curry said the team has never made a conference championship, so that shouldn’t be a distraction. The players chant national championship, something he didn’t ask them to do.
“With the incredible thing that happened in April [Sun Belt announcement] we have to teach the guys the truest of the most boring statement coaches make: You really do have to play them one day at a time,’ “ Curry said. “That’s what we didn’t do a year ago. That should make us better.”
Curry praised the spirit of this year’s team.
“I’m really proud of this team already because of the way it has worked in the offseason. I expect very good things from this team. We are all of the same mind: we haven’t played football up to our capability.
“We have a legitimate senior class. Some are great students, some struggled early and are now very good students. Some learned to work hard and are getting the job done.
“One of the things I hated about coaching in the NFL was I had to cut people. In college, people cut themselves. If you do this and this, you are fine. If you don’t, you remove yourself. That has bothered me since the first day I was a coach in 1976. When that happens, you may lose a talented athlete, but it strengthens a team because those who are left are guys who chose to stay on the team.”
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajgcu