GSU hopes defensive line continues to surprise

On the day Georgia State reported to camp, defensive coordinator Anthony Midget gathered his linemen together and talked about perception.

He said people think, based upon last year, you are soft. He said other teams think they are going to run right over you.

He shared the stats as evidence: 180.5 rushing yards allowed per game.

“We talked about that was reality and how do we want to be remembered for this year,” he said.

If Georgia State’s defense is to improve, playing better must start up front. The line, which lost three starters to graduation, seems to have taken the talk to heart. Though its first two teams feature as many as six underclassmen, the groups manning the front four have been one of the biggest surprises in camp, making numerous plays in every scrimmage. The team will open against S.C. State on Aug. 30 at the Georgia Dome.

Midget also talked about expectations. He told them they will be expected to stop the run every week. He wants the opponents to average less than 3 yards per carry. They averaged 4.2 last year.

“We have to be physical up front, we have to be dominant up front,” Midget said.

Coach Bill Curry is high on this group of linemen for several reasons. He said the new 4-2-5 scheme, which allows the players to be more aggressive than they could be in the three-man scheme used last year, fits them better.

Curry said adding another coach for the linemen has helped teach and re-inforce the fundamentals, particularly for the young players. Chris Ward coaches the defensive tackles, and Ricky Thomas the defensive ends. Ward handled all of the linemen last year.

“Coach Ward has helped me tremendously,” said redshirt freshman David Huey, an offensive lineman last year who may start at defensive tackle. “I get off the ball way better, my hands are better my feet are quicker. I can re-direct players better.”

Curry said the players are in better shape than they were last year after spending another year in the strength and conditioning program, and that he likes their attitude.

Some of that improved attitude can be traced to the leadership of freshman Joe Lockley.

While watching film of NFL players early in camp, Lockley told his teammates that they needed to play like a pack of dogs. They nicknamed themselves the “Dog Pound.” Before scrimmages, they can be seen getting each other fired up.

“Us being so young and us pushing each other brings out the best in all of us,” Huey said.

Freshman defensive end Melvin King said the “Dog Pound” hangs together off the field, studying plays and working on techniques.

“That’s encouraging to see those guys are developing the closeness that will carry throughout,” Midget said.

Not everything is better.

Georgia State still awaits the NCAA’s decision on whether two projected starters, transfers defensive end Theo Agnew and defensive tackle Nermin Delic, will be allowed to play. Delic, a redshirt sophomore, hasn’t been able to work with the first team much in camp because of various injuries. Agnew, a redshirt junior, has played every day.

If the NCAA rules that Agnew must sit out, Midget said redshirt sophomore C.J. Stephens will move to first team, opposite redshirt sophomore John Kelly, with King backing them up. Junior Terrance Woodard will start at nose guard and Huey at defensive tackle. They have gotten reps, along with Lockley, in Delic’s absence.

With or without Agnew and Delic, Midget said the players know what people think about the defense. They want to change that reality.

“They’ve totally responded this fall camp,” Midget said.

17 comments Add your comment

ajg-marietta

August 22nd, 2012
1:03 pm

Thanks for this report, Doug. I will certainly be watching these guys closely on the 30th. Still have fingers crossed that Agnew can play.

Panama

August 22nd, 2012
1:16 pm

Love the attitude change. #STATEofSHOCK in 8 Days

Alum98

August 22nd, 2012
1:27 pm

Love the attitude. Anthony Midget has his work cut out for him but I believe we should be much improved since Thompson is gone(thank you). Last year not only we were hurt in the running game but also crossing routes. I don’t know if the 4-2-5 is going to help that but I certainly hope so. Cannot wait until next Thursday.
GO PANTHERS!!

GSUAlumBaseball81

August 22nd, 2012
2:00 pm

Do it Dog Pound! Love it. When will we hear from those DAWG fans on this? lol

NCAA what a joke

August 22nd, 2012
2:38 pm

What if the NCAA does not respond on Theo Agnew’s status before the first game on his eligibility? Can we play him due to the fact that the NCAA did not respond in a timely manner?
Furthermore, if State is ineligible for any post season play, who care if Agnew plays. I say play him and tell the NCAA that we can’t wait until the year 2027 for them to respond on a player’s status this season. NCAA is the biggest joke in the history of comedy. I pray for the day one of them sits next to me on a flight. To say the attendant would have to move me to another seat or another plane would be an understatement.

GSU_MEX_ALUM

August 22nd, 2012
2:46 pm

GSU_MEX_ALUM

August 22nd, 2012
2:46 pm

Pack the DOME on 08/30/2012!

RidgeRunner

August 22nd, 2012
3:02 pm

Waiting to see how the defense improves this year.

Doug Roberson

August 22nd, 2012
3:15 pm

I don’t think GSU will play Agnew, Delic or Bell until they hear from the NCAA. There’s no sense in risking anything.

Sluggo

August 22nd, 2012
8:31 pm

Can’t wait to see how this new attitude translates onto the field. #StateofShock coming to a city near you!

Techie

August 23rd, 2012
10:23 am

Can someone please walk me to class?

Paddy

August 23rd, 2012
10:54 am

Doug……have you been told how ticket sales have gone this summer? (season & game day)

Steve Nash's Pick and Roll

August 23rd, 2012
12:39 pm

@paddy – they’ve gone really bad. Trust me on this one.

Steve Nash's Pick and Roll

August 23rd, 2012
12:49 pm

There is a reason they are being secretive (again) about ticket sales. See the history of how this administration operates and the trend that is being established is downright scary. I would hold on to your hard earned money Panther fans and wait until a few folks on Decatur St are shown the door.

Georgia Tech is in Atlanta

August 23rd, 2012
4:31 pm

Georgia State’s defensive will be a surprise if they stop anyone at all. If the putrid Panthers beat more than one team this season that will be a surprise, too.

Well-Endowed Panther Fan

August 24th, 2012
7:48 am

These interlopers seem very interested in GSU Football. I wonder why?

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