Ryan Black filling in for Doug Roberson.
How the opening day of football practice at Georgia State went Wednesday depends on who you ask.
Coach Bill Curry was the lone voice in the pessimistic camp, calling it a “ragged” affair and not up to his expectations. And after spending a good portion of his interview session at Tuesday’s media day talking about effort, he thought the Panthers’ practice performance Wednesday was less-than-stellar.
“The effort was reasonable, but not what I had hoped for,” he said. “We need to continue to pick it up so that everybody is 100 percent all the time, but the will is there. The men are trying, but we haven’t gotten our skills anywhere near where they need to be catching the ball, exchanging the ball, those kinds of things.”
Others did not share Curry’s view of the proceedings, a group that included quarterback Ben McLane. He conceded that the team had lapses both physically and mentally, but thought the team had a successful day overall.
“As far as Day 1 goes, I thought it was a pretty good day,” he said. “Offense seemed to be clicking nicely at times, defense fought us for the football. Of course there is always something we can do better, but I like where we started.”
McLane’s chief competition for the starting quarterback position, Kelton Hill, echoed his teammate’s sentiment. He enjoyed running the no-huddle, hurry-up offense and gave himself an “8” grade for the day on a 1-10 scale. And speaking of the no-huddle, offensive coordinator John Bond said he was impressed with both McLane’s and Hill’s retention of the playbook from the spring.
“I thought Ben and Kelton did a really good job remembering all of the stuff they need to do, but both of them have to be much more accurate throwing the football in order for us to be where we need to be,” he said.
Bond believed some of the wayward passes had nothing to do with bad throws from his signal-callers. Rather, the most rudimentary responsibility of being a quarterback is forgotten amid all of their other obligations.
“There is so much they’re thinking about with all of the code words and the other things you’re trying to get communicated and orchestrated at that position, that sometimes the most fundamental aspect of all — just making a nice throw — sometimes gets lost,” he said.
Rounding out those who took an optimistic outlook from the first practice was defensive coordinator Anthony Midget, who praised the play of his big men.
“Good first day. Guys flew around, ran to the football,” he said. “Obviously, there are some things we need to clean up, but I was really encouraged by what I’ve seen — and I know we’re just in helmets and shorts — from the defensive linemen. We have some big, strong guys that are really going to help us out.”