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.
Will the offensive line come together?
Another group hurt by injuries, the line must now replace four starters who graduated. The injuries did allow the line to build depth, but it will need to improve chemistry. Grant King, who has started 22 consecutive games, Michael Davis, who missed the last eight games because of a broken ankle, and Ulrick John will anchor the unit. There are a few true freshmen who could push for playing time.
Look for the line to try to improve its run-blocking to take advantage of a stable of running backs, led by Donald Russell.
Davis said the line is much stronger than it was last year after a full offseason in strength and conditioning coach Ben Pollard’s workout program.
It needs to be. Georgia State scored 34 points in the fourth quarter last season. Improving that total will provide evidence that the line has improved its strength, endurance and technique.
“The offensive line will come together,” coach Bill Curry said. “I say that not because I’m hoping they’ll come together but because of the hard work. The offensive line has always had a reasonably good attitude, this time they have a terrific attitude. I don’t think it will be automatic. I think it will be a progression.”
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu