Defense dominates again at GSU scrimmage

Georgia State’s defense has stifled the offense for much of preseason camp.

It’s not the ideal situation for the Panthers but, for coach Bill Curry, it’s the next best thing.

“if you have to choose, it’s a lot better to have the defense ahead at this stage of the year–a lot better,” Curry said. “Because that’s how you win. I know today’s football is different. You have got to drive and score. You have to. But you’d better play some defense.”

The Panthers have done a lot of that during camp.

The defense dominated during the first scrimmage last weekend. GSU’s offense responded with a better effort Tuesday but the defense was back in command during the scrimmage Saturday, which Curry said would be the last featuring starters vs. starters.

The Panthers had six interceptions during the scrimmage periods.

“We always focus on turnovers,” freshman linebacker Joseph Peterson said. “We have to win the turnover ratio a lot in games. Turnovers are a big deal for us and that turns the momentum.”

That’s what happened early in the scrimmage, after it looked like the GSU offense was going to have its way.

Starting from the 20, the Panthers moved crisply down the field with quarterback Ben McLane keeping a good tempo in the no-huddle offense. GSU earned a first-and-goal at the 10 after converting its second third down in nine plays.

But on second down, Peterson stepped in front of tight end Alex Smith to intercept McLane’s pass in the end zone. That started a trend for the Panthers: McLane had two more interceptions on the day, Kelton Hill also had two and Ronnie Bell had one.

McLane said the quarterbacks have to improve their decision-making.

“It’s in critical situations taking care of the ball: red zone, third downs,” he said. “Being mentally tough so when we get behind or have a drives stall we need to pick it up.”

It wasn’t all bad for the GSU offense.

The Panthers ran the ball effectively, a good sign because they are breaking in four new starters on the offensive line. Curry also noted that the offense played a lot of reserve offensive linemen and wide receivers, which contributed to some issues with protection and route running.

Still, Curry said the Panthers should have finished drives better.

“What’s disturbing is there ought to be sometimes we sustain an offensive drive no matter what the defense is doing where we take it and score,” Curry said. “We didn’t do that and that’s going to be demanded when we play [games].”

Notes

Players who sat out with injuries included cornerback Jamal Ransby, defensive linemen McClain Head and Nermin Delic and offensive linemen Treavor Flannigan and Grant King. . . .

With Christian Benvenuto suspended for the season opener because of his role in a fight, Curry said David Miller is the No. 1 kicker and Matt Ehasz is the backup. Wil Lutz, a freshman walk-on from Newnan, is handling kickoffs.

The Panthers have yet to receive word from the NCAA on the status of transfers Bell (Ohio University), Delic (Kentucky) and Theo Agnew (Massachusetts). They must be cleared to be eligible to play in games. . . .

The defensive line starters were David Huey at tackle, Terrance Woodard at nose guard, and John Kelly and C.J. Stephens at the ends.

– Michael Cunningham, filling in for Doug, ajc.com. Follow on twitter @ajcgsu

21 comments Add your comment

GSUWI94

August 18th, 2012
4:51 pm

Good job D. The secondary has always been a fav for me. Maybe we ca run the ball and check down a lot the ferst couple of games. PLAY MARK WEIDENAAR.

GSUWI94

August 18th, 2012
4:52 pm

JOE PETEY MUST BE A BEAST, HE MISSED ALL OF SUMMER WORKOUTS!

GSUWI94

August 18th, 2012
4:54 pm

I believe Delic may be a little injury prone.

GSUAlumBaseball81

August 18th, 2012
5:05 pm

Hope the NCAA makes the right call on all three given our current status as FBS transitional. Don’t understand what’s the hold up. Should we hear before the opener? Thanks for the continued excellent coverage Doug! GO PANTHERS!!!

RidgeRunner

August 18th, 2012
5:11 pm

Hope this is a sign that we have a good defense (for a change) and not an ineffective ofense. It looks we will overall a lot better and with a tougher schedule, we will have to be. A little than a week and we will at the Dome.

CAA Fan

August 18th, 2012
6:14 pm

Pathetic.

Why again are you moving up when it is a lock you will go winless in the CAA? The more plausible outcome would be for GA State to drop to D2 or NAIA.

ODU will roll you by 60 points this year.

RKelly

August 18th, 2012
6:15 pm

GSU won today! Panthers take it one game at a time and ‘Make Your Move’! Hope to see Panther Parents and Fans at the Dome supporting our football team, marching band, cheerleaders, managers and coaches! AJC thank you for the coverage, keep it coming– Go Panthers! We love you!

zgoldatl

August 18th, 2012
7:27 pm

CAA fan- you bitter bro?

VSU Alumnus

August 18th, 2012
7:28 pm

Open question. NCAA baseball has open transfers. In other words any player can transfer to any other school regardless of division and not lose a minute of eligibility. I like it. Coaches change jobs all the time without penalty yet players are penalized for transferring. Thoughts?

Anderson

August 18th, 2012
8:22 pm

If the GSU defense develops to become very good to borderline dominant,defensive coordinator Anthony Midget will be Bill Curry’s replacement as the head coach.

CAA Fan

August 18th, 2012
8:30 pm

I am bitter AF!

GSUAlumBaseball81

August 18th, 2012
10:30 pm

VAA Fan, just watched our second NFL player play tonight for the New York Giants. #43 Jake Mausau, He did pretty well for his NFL debut. Not to bad for a SECOND year program that’s leaving most of you all for FBS next year, Enjoy FCS bro! GO #43 JAKE and #96 CHRISTO with the Oakland Raiders. Wish ya’ll the BEST. GO PANTHERS!!!!

Ga StateGrad

August 19th, 2012
3:46 pm

So stupid GSU is wasting money on starting a new football program, won’t ever play on the big stage, BCS bowls, etc…I would love to see a P&L for the football program
Oh well, Go Dawgs

@Ga StateGrad

August 19th, 2012
8:38 pm

So what’s the difference between GSU and your mutts considering they don’t play on the big stage and they sure as hell won’t be sniffing a BCS bowl anytime soon? Try worrying about the likes of UCF and Boise before you dream about the “big stage”. And alums like you are pathetic but not too shocking in the fair weather capital of the world.

Go Panthers!!

August 20th, 2012
12:04 am

The offense is starting to worry me.

[...] LB Joe Peterson: He will provide depth at the middle linebacker position. [...]

GSU_MEX_ALUM

August 20th, 2012
9:19 am

Really wish we had some consistency at QB… That could make or break our season. Hoping to see either McLane or KH4 take the wheel on the 30th and just roll through the season!

Ga StateGrad

August 20th, 2012
9:52 am

Laughable, UGA is top 10 in preseason polls, no clue where GSU is, UGA plays in the SEC with packed crowds every game

Sidewalk Alum

August 20th, 2012
11:55 am

Go Dawgs! If I can find Athens I will go to a game!

Chicken Bone

August 20th, 2012
12:12 pm

Agreed GSU_MEX_ALUM, QB is the key to 2012 season and beyond. Offensive line too. Someone needs to step up and lead! I believe the Defense is in good hands with Midget!!!

Well-Endowed Panther Fan

August 21st, 2012
3:35 pm

Now the Georgia Southern trolls are pretending to be from UGA? What next, Mercer? Emory? Agnes Scott?