GSU defense dominates offense and special teams in scrimmage

Georgia State’s defense dominated the offense and special teams during Saturday’s scrimmage.

The offense, playing long stretches without several key starters at the skill positions, scored three rushing touchdowns and the special teams missed or had blocked three point-after attempts and a field goal.

Coach Bill Curry said it was difficult to tell if Saturday was a result of the defense playing well or the offense playing poorly. He did praise the defensive line, led by redshirt sophomore John Kelly, who had numerous sacks.

“Defense did play really hard and with enthusiasm, but when the offense is struggling to that extent it’s really hard to tell,” he said. “You’d love to have really good execution on both sides and put the defense in a lot of tough situations but the offense wasn’t able to do that today.”

Defensive coordinator Anthony Midget said he was happy that the defense played well throughout the scrimmage, which it didn’t do on Wednesday. The offense dominated that first half, which was devoted to situations inside the 20-yard line, before the defense rallied in the full-field situations in the scrimmage’s second half. Midget said wants the players to understand that the expectation is to play as hard as they did Saturday all the time.

“We gave up a play or two here or there, but we bounced back and our guys let it go,” Midget said. “Up front, we are stopping the run and that’s the focus. The guys played really physically.”

Projected starting quarterback Ben McLane struggled for the third consecutive practice. He completed 5-of-9 passes for 98 yards, but 73 came on a pass to Emmanuel Ogbuehi, who was left open when the defender covering him fell down. McLane, a redshirt freshman who won the job during the spring practices, was leading the offense for long stretches without starting running back Donald Russell and starting wide receivers Danny Williams and Jordan Giles. Offensive coordinator John Bond said they didn’t play as many snaps because they wanted to look at some other players.

Bond said McLane’s struggles haven’t changed the depth chart. Kelton Hill is the backup and Ronnie Bell, who scored one of the two touchdowns, is third. Bond said McLane has made just two bad decisions in the past three days and that some of his turnovers were the result of tipped passes or other bits of bad luck.

The offense, playing with four new starters on the line, struggled in most phases from lining up correctly to breaking the huddle with the correct number of players, and were called for numerous penalties.

“We didn’t play nearly as hard as we have to play, and that’s at every position,” Bond said. “We’ve got to play a whole lot better and we will.”

Even after the long pass to Ogbuehi that put the ball at the 4-yard line the offense failed to capitalize. McLane was sacked on third down by Kelly, who said he had three sacks and three hurries.

“The key was just the pass rush, mainly,” Kelly said. “I saw the offense sitting back in the shotgun and the defense was able to key in with the pass rush. That’s something we’ve been working hard on.”

Matt Ehasz followed the sack of McLane with a 26-yard field goal, snapping a stretch in which the Panthers missed a point-after wide, had a field goal blocked, missed another point-after that hit the upright of the goal post, and had another point-after blocked and returned for two points.

Again, Curry said it was hard to tell if the special teams were playing poorly or the defense played well.

“There was some things that we needed to do better that we did better today, now we need to do them in the games,” Curry said.

FBS scholarships

Georgia State and representatives from the NCAA met via teleconference on Monday to discuss the details of the school’s FBS application as the school begins year one of the two-year transition. Georgia State resigned from the Colonial Athletic Association, which plays football on the FCS level, in April to join the Sun Belt Conference, which plays football on the FBS level.

Among the topics discussed, the school must meet a two-year rolling average of using 90 percent of the 85 scholarships (76.5) allowed on the FBS level.

The university currently uses 64 football scholarships and plans to use a minimum of  68, either by awarding four more full scholarships or by a combination of partial scholarships, which can’t be done once GSU becomes a full-fledged FBS member but it is still allowed to do now because it’s in transition.

Georgia State will award 85 scholarships for the 2013-14 year to meet the rolling average of 76.5 scholarships awarded.

– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu

15 comments Add your comment

GSU is in Atlanta

August 11th, 2012
12:38 pm

Did Albert Wilson or Kelton Hill play at all today, and if so, how did they look?

The kicking game needs to improve one hundred percent, or they should ask Coach Surrency to borrow one of his players.


August 11th, 2012
12:55 pm

This is about the time that Offense should win some drills and defense should be ahead.

Game prep for SC State starts Monday.


Doug Roberson

August 11th, 2012
1:05 pm

They both played. Neither stood out. Again, it was a bad day for the offense.

Concerned "supporter"

August 11th, 2012
1:46 pm

Only a matter of time until McLane crumbles under pressure, like Drew Litte, and the offense has to count on Kelton Hill to win games. Im sorry, I don’t have faith in GSU football and their discussion making. The things GSU will do to keep a good qb down never seizes to amaze me.

Another potential winning season down the drain. KH=the real QB!


August 11th, 2012
2:06 pm

The O Line and special teams issues are troubling. Hope they can get it together by the 30th. Good to hear about the dominant play of the defense. Any idea when we will know something about whether Agnew and Delic can play?

English Student

August 11th, 2012
2:56 pm

To Concerned “supporter” – your understanding and “discussion making” about the QB situation amazes me to seizure.

Kelton Hill

August 11th, 2012
3:15 pm

Sorry about the above post

A person SMART enough to know.....

August 11th, 2012
3:42 pm

I am still irrelevant and just another small minded Georgia Southern fan.

Doug Roberson

August 11th, 2012
3:47 pm

No news on Agnew and Delic. No one knows when they will hear.

Jee S. You

August 11th, 2012
9:48 pm

Please, not special teams problems again……who was kicking those missed extra points?

GSU freshman

August 11th, 2012
11:44 pm

What’s out South Carolina State and UT. Her e’s your GSU Panthers!!!

A person SMART enough to know.....

August 12th, 2012
1:08 pm

Interesting on the Scholarship situation.
Is GaState going to be forced to take players they really don’t want in order to get to the level the NCAA wants?
If that is the case CURRY would have to make some scholarships just for 1 years and not be Forced to keep a guy for 4 years as the transition takes place.


August 13th, 2012
10:28 am

@ A person SMART enough to know… – Seems like Curry would look at providing some of his walk-ons with a scholarship. I saw where UGA just awarded several scholarships to hard working walk-ons – AND, they are renewed annually, so this sounds like an ideal situation for rewarding one or more of those guys.

As far as the scrimmage and poor output by the 1st team offense…Was there anything positive taken away from Saturdays Scrimmage on the offensive side of the ball? Any TD’s? Any positives from anyone…2nd string or 3rd string? The Ogbuehi play was clearly a fluke. Why can’t someone provide stats like we receive from UGA’s scrimmages (I’m also a UGA fan). And, I agree – If the O-Line can’t protect McLane (doesn’t look promising), we’re going to have to go with Kelton. He may not be a QB in the true sense of the word, but he is a playmaker.


August 13th, 2012
11:49 am

“Is GaState going to be forced to take players they really don’t want in order to get to the level the NCAA wants?”


Doug Roberson

August 14th, 2012
9:59 am

There wasn’t anything to take away on the offensive side of the ball. None of the units looked good.