Archive for August, 2012

Bill Curry tries to keep Wednesday about focus, not about him

Bill Curry wasn’t going to let the news of his retirement on Wednesday alter his belief that discipline can lead to great things.

After the news broke Tuesday night that Curry will retire from coaching football after Georgia State completes its season in November, he told his team Wednesday morning and led everyone onto the practice field less than an hour later.

Bullhorn in hand and wearing his customary tan pants, long-sleeve shirt and canvas hat, Curry led the team in special-teams drills. If he told the players once, he told them a dozen times: “This isn’t a day off.”

So after practice, Curry re-affirmed that this year’s team will have his full attention as their 69-year-old leader completes his 20th year as a head coach and 58th in organized football.

“I do want to finish this contract and I want to finish it well,” he said.

Curry’s choice affects more than Georgia State as it continues its transition to the highest level of college football. It brings an end to …

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Bill Curry’s retirement press conference…now live

Georgia State football coach Bill Curry will retire after this season so that he can spend more time with his family and pursue some personal interests.

Curry, who will turn 70 in October, has spent 58 years in organized football as a player, coach or announcer.

His press conference will begin at 1 p.m. I’ll post quotes (some may be paraphrased) here as fast as I can, so please bookmark this link.

From athletic director Cheryl Levick:

For the past four years Georgia State University has been blessed by Bill Curry. I say university and not football team.

He has been the perfect coach to develop  and lead Georgia State football.

It’s time to let [him] go.

The integrity, leadership, value and class, every day, all day in everything he does is what makes him so special and the cornerstone of this program.

Curry asked Levick not to call him a legend. Instead he’s a hero to his players, an ambassador for the university and a life-long friend.

From Curry:

There will be a time for …

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Retiring Bill Curry: “I want to finish this contract and finish it well”

Georgia State’s Bill Curry will retire from coaching football at the end of the season. A news conference was held at 1 p.m. and then he led a normal practice session.

He doesn’t plan on going out quietly as the team prepares for its third season of play with many challenges upcoming.

“I do want to finish this contract and I want to finish it well,” he said after today’s practice.

Curry’s choice affects more than Georgia State as it continues its transition to the highest level of college football. It brings an end to a storied playing and coaching career for Curry, a College Park native who captained Georgia Tech in 1964 before playing 10 years in the NFL with three championships.

Curry, who will turn 70 in October, said there were several factors that helped him decide, including that he was missing the lives of his five grandchildren and that he didn’t want to hurt the program by delaying the announcement until November, which was when he repeatedly said he would …

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Bilukidi makes GSU history — updated

Christo Bilukidi made Georgia State history Monday night when he became the first former player to appear in an NFL game.

Christo Bilukidi / mysanantonio.com

Christo Bilukidi / mysanantonio.com

Bilukidi played defensive end for two years for the Panthers, but has transitioned into a defensive tackle for the Oakland Raiders, who drafted him in the sixth round.

Bilukidi, wearing No. 96, came in with the second-teamers and appeared to play well. He was credited with two assisted tackles and it looked like he forced a holding penalty when the Cowboys’ center was flagged.

David Wilson of the Raider Nation Times wrote:

On the defensive side of the ball, the rookie that stood out most to me was Christo Bilukidi at defensive tackle. The Raiders have him listed at 311lbs, but he looks heavier than that to me. What he showed against the Cowboys was not only that he has the strength and technique to anchor vs the run, but that he has some pass rush ability.

He demonstrated that he had the power to collapse the pocket, …

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Q&A with GSU wide receiver Danny Williams

Albert Wilson figures to be the focus of most of Georgia State’s opponents. But they can’t forget about Danny Williams. He caught 30 passes for 485 yards last year as a redshirt sophomore.

Q: How fast are you right now?

A: I’m fast. I feel as fast as I’ve ever felt in my life. Last year I was a little hampered by a little hamstring. This year I’m full go so I’m as fast as I’ve ever been.

Q: What are you clocking? Do you know?

A: I haven’t run a 40 in a while. The last time I ran a 4.61, but that was about seven months ago.

Q: If you had to guess, what do you think you’re running?

A: Hopefully in the 4.56, 4.58 range.

Q: What about your strength? Everyone’s talking about how much stronger they are after the summer workout program.

A: I’ve gotten tons, loads stronger. Coach P[ollard], I can’t say enough about him. I can bench 225 pounds 10 or 11 times now. When I came in here I was a little twig. I couldn’t do anything.

Q: How will that help you on the field?

A: It will help a …

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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 …

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Q&A with GSU defensive lineman Theo Agnew

You fans, the Pantherratti, seemed to like my open call on twitter for Q&A subjects, so I did it again Thursday. Some of you wanted to hear from one of the new defensive linemen.

So, here is a Q&A with Theo Agnew, a Connecticut native who transferred from Massachusetts.

Agnew is listed at 6-4, 260 pounds. I’ll bet he’s up to about 280 right now. He’s big.

Agnew should start at defensive end, as long as the NCAA rules that he can. Because Georgia State is transitioning from the FCS to the FBS, there’s a chance the NCAA could rule that he isn’t eligible this year as a FBS-to-FBS transfer.

Agnew is well-spoken and seems to be performing well during the practices. The big question is will he be more like Christo Bilukidi, who transferred from Eastern Arizona and produced on the field, or A.J. Portee, who came in from Connecticut and didn’t have the expected impact. He was dismissed for violating team rules during the offseason.

Agnew had 36 tackles and a sack last year for the …

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Thursday’s post-practice observations

A few post-practice observations on this soon-to-be-rainy Thursday:

I would point out that some of these were posted on twitter earlier today, but I’ll combine them into one solid post.

The offense moved as fast as I’ve seen it, which was the subject of this morning’s blog. One of the reasons was there wasn’t a lot of substitutions. The coaches worked on leaving (mostly) the same people on the field on offense, lining up, getting the play, and going.

The players seems to line up correctly most of the time. There were a few hiccups, but for the most part they looked smooth.

Were they able to take advantage of the tempo? There weren’t a lot of scores, but they didn’t run the offense during a lot of sessions.

I think the bigger point is the pace was increased and the players did look like they were handling the basics.

Backup quarterback Kelton Hill looked sharp during all of the sessions on the short throws across the middle and to the sidelines, which was an issue for him last …

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Georgia State trying to pick up the pace on offense

One of Georgia State’s priorities during August’s practices is to improve the tempo of the offense.

Coach Bill Curry and offensive coordinator want the players lined up faster and executing the plays faster. The goal is to create situational advantages for Georgia State’s offense. The coaches also think they can get at least 12 more plays per game, which would improve last year’s average to 76.5. Opponents averaged 73 last year.

There has been progress in the first week, but all agree they can be better.

“We’re slow,” quarterback Ben McLane said.

The team worked on it all in 15 practices in the spring, and were getting lined up and the play called in 16 seconds in some situations. Curry said they don’t have a goal for time between snaps. But to improve the tempo he is pushing everyone to pick up the pace, even when moving into the practice facility and to film sessions.

“That’s the way football is played now,” he said. “Other teams have been doing it for years. They are ahead …

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Impressions from Georgia State’s first August scrimmage

I promised a blog this morning about the offense working to improve its tempo. But after the team scrimmaged this morning, I figured I would blog about that first and then blog about tempo later today.

If you weren’t following on twitter earlier today (what were you doing instead, working? Watching the Olympics? Come on, man!), the offense dominated the first session, which was devoted to red-zone situations. The defense dominated the second session, devoted to full-field situations.

Coach Bill Curry couldn’t have been happier afterward. During Tuesday’s practice, Curry called the team over and began reminding them of the 2010 Iron Bowl.  In that game (sorry Alabama fans), the Tide were blowing out Auburn. In the first half, running back Mark Ingram broke into the secondary and seemed destined to score another touchdown that would put the Tide ahead 28-0. Defensive end Antoine Carter chased down Ingram and forced a fumble that the Tigers recovered. Auburn would go on to win …

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