Georgia State’s Ben McLane wants to make people believe

Perhaps only Ben McLane believed that he could win Georgia State’s quarterback job in the spring.

His offensive coordinator, John Bond, wasn’t sure because McLane had yet to play a meaningful snap. McLane’s dad Ben Sr. wasn’t sure because his son was still a true freshman, competing against guys who started last year.

McLane just wanted an opportunity to make people believe.

On Thursday, when the Panthers open the season against South Carolina State at the Georgia Dome, McLane will debut at quarterback as a redshirt freshman. He got his opportunity. He made people believe.

“That’s the job of a quarterback,” McLane said. “You have to make other people believe in you and make them believe in themselves. And then the whole team can start believing and win some football games.”

McLane was named the No. 1 starter coming out of the spring because coaches liked his accuracy and game-management, areas that needed to be improved after the three quarterbacks Georgia State used last year combined to complete an average of 49.7 percent of their passes – nowhere close to the 65 percent Bond wants — with 15 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Knowing McLane was accurate, Bond asked him to work on his leadership during the summer.

“It’s natural when you aren’t a junior or senior to sit back a little bit,” Bond said. “I’ve told him, ‘This is your football team and you have to be more aggressive in your leadership.’ He’s done that.”

For advice, McLane turned to those who have led him: his dad, Ben, an assistant coach at Brookwood; Curry, and others.

The most important thing he learned was to lead by example.

“He’s always been kind of a quiet leader,” Benjie said. “As a coach, you can appreciate that. He works his tail off in the weight room. He studies film and is prepared. That’s the leadership role you want him to have.”

It turns out his teammates were ready to be led after going 3-8 last year. McLane said he had no trouble rounding them up to work on seven-on-seven passing drills.

The work showed in the first two weeks of August. McLane looked sharp in his competition with Kelton Hill, who started last season’s last five games, and transfer Ronnie Bell. McLane estimated he was completing at least 70percent of his passes during the first two weeks of practice. He hit receivers in stride, allowing them to make plays. He seldom read the defenses wrong as he learned the no-huddle offense, which is more complicated than the I-formation run-based attack he led at Brookwood.

But then he hit a rough patch. He said he didn’t know if it was a mid-camp lull, or him “being an idiot,” but he started throwing interceptions in bunches. Some of there were tipped balls. Some of them were busted routes by the receivers, many of whom were back-ups. Some of them were poor throws. He joked that hopefully he threw so many that he won’t throw any during season.

Whatever the reason, McLane took responsibility and has since improved his performance, which Curry appreciates.

“He’s bounced back and that’s what quarterbacks have to do, especially young quarterbacks, but he’s shown what he can do,” Curry said.

McLane said he will play guitar and do other things to keep his mind off Thursday’s game, the first meaningful game he’s played since leading Brookwood to the Class AAAAA championship in 2010.

McLane gives off confidence in an understated way. Though he said there’s more pressure, he seems ready to make other people believe.

“It’s been a few years, but I’m ready,” McLane said.

Other links for you

Breaking down Georgia State vs. South Carolina State (with Theo Agnew ruling by NCAA)

Notes from Coach Bill Curry’s press conference

Georgia State’s defensive line hopes to continue to surprise

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

32 comments Add your comment

Panther Pride

August 30th, 2012
5:24 am

7:30 can’t get here soon enough…and it’s nice to know the game will be on CSS just in case I don’t have time to get to the Dome…Finally The College Football Season is HERE!!!


August 30th, 2012
6:30 am

Nice story, looking forward to seeing him play. Go Panthers!!!

East Lake Panther

August 30th, 2012
7:50 am

McLane sounds like a good player in practice, but let’s hope it translates onto the field tonight.



August 30th, 2012
7:50 am

Sports Page would look much better with uga,gt,&gsu banners. The high school one should not be a banner Imo. Go Panthers

Coach King

August 30th, 2012
8:00 am

Have known Ben since he was in middle school and coached him as a Ninth grader. I know he will respond to the challenge as he always has. The team is in good hands. Good Luck Ben and Go Panthers!


August 30th, 2012
8:15 am

Let’s go Panthers! Ben I hope you can prove that your our starter for the next couple of years. Game day!

Tom Yeager

August 30th, 2012
8:47 am

Not having a GSU flag on the AJC sports page is bush league. Just like the CAA.


August 30th, 2012
8:50 am


Lets get it. Go Panthers


August 30th, 2012
9:12 am



August 30th, 2012
9:17 am

I hope that McLane has built a rapport with the receiving corps. I would love to see him hit Albert in stride a few times tonight.


August 30th, 2012
9:27 am

Time to show up and support your school. See you all tonight.

Red Panther

August 30th, 2012
9:30 am

Bring it! Just Bring it!


August 30th, 2012
10:02 am

GState banner should replace the High School one. I am pumped for tonight! Come out and bring friends! Give a homeless man a ticket! Whatever you have to! Let’s go!

The Jury's Still Out On This

August 30th, 2012
10:26 am

I wonder if this is GSU and AJC hype or is young McLane really that good. I hope he is for GSU’S sake. The Bo kid was hyped and he was awful on and off the field. He was a Center playing QB for christ sakes! Kelton Hill has great ability and should be utilized in some other way. Good Luck GSU!!!

A person SMART enough to know...

August 30th, 2012
10:50 am

Meanwhile, I am still bitter that my team is in JV league.


August 30th, 2012
10:54 am

Let’s do it, Ben! About to head down to the Dome now. Go Panthers!


August 30th, 2012
11:12 am

Game day! All the talking means absolutely nothing at this point. Let’s go Ben, lead us to a victory!


August 30th, 2012
11:15 am

Also, I have no idea how good Ben is, but I’m sure he’s no Bo! Bo won the job by default. Ben grabbed the bull by the horns and took the job from last year’s starter.


August 30th, 2012
11:16 am

release the panthers!!


August 30th, 2012
11:39 am

This kid has a great name! #STATEOFSHOCK


GSU is in Atlanta

August 30th, 2012
11:40 am

Bo was a punter, Ben is a QB…big difference. Ben earned it, Bo had it fall in his lap due to suspensions


August 30th, 2012
12:10 pm

I hope he hands the ball to number 20 about 25 times. The secondary is the strength of their team, no need to throw more than 15 – 16 times unless we get down early.

With that said, I am sure John Bond will do the exact opposite and the kid is forced into making bad throws.

@ GSU is in Atlanta

August 30th, 2012
12:31 pm


Bo was a punter, Ben is a QB…big difference. Ben earned it, Bo had it fall in his lap (top) due to suspensions

John Faulkner

August 30th, 2012
1:01 pm

Best of luck Ben and Nat – The Faulkner’s and the Brookwood community believe you both.
John Faulkner

A person SMART enough to know.....

August 30th, 2012
5:01 pm

Sounds like a good kid with good skills and mind. He will need it in a few hours for sure.

Yo yo

August 30th, 2012
7:38 pm

Very thin crowd on TV. End zones empty and lots of gaps everywhere.

Yo yo

August 30th, 2012
7:41 pm

looks like 15k. I am sure 25k will be the “reported” attendance.

Who Cares

August 30th, 2012
10:17 pm

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahha – da dome is really packed tonight. looks like the corky kell classic….#media market……terrible.

Who Cares

August 30th, 2012
10:21 pm

Taken from Wiki – For most Georgia State football games, the dome is configured with 28,155 seats, with only the bulk of the lower level plus the club-level seats available for sale.

So – 18k in attendance…wouldn’t that mean the lower bowl would have to be more than half full???


August 30th, 2012
10:22 pm


A person SMART enough to know.....

August 30th, 2012
10:43 pm

A person SMART enough to know…..
August 29th, 2012
1:44 pm

I will be impressed if GaState can put up more than 17 points even more impressed if they can keep SCState to 21 or under on the scoreboard.

Not a Debbie Downer but GaState stepped up in class tonight and is just not ready yet.
Please talk your crap about wanting some of Ga Southern and TECH now.


September 3rd, 2012
9:51 pm

Ben Mcclane is a loser and he will lose more games in the history of the program.. if Curry believes in him.. look at his Brookwood films and see how many games he lost because he was never a QB….Karma is a b—-th.. Huh.. daddy Mcclane.. lol..