Hill moves to safety from QB at Georgia State

Kelton Hill has been moved to safety from quarterback, Georgia State coach Bill Curry said after Tuesday’s practice.

Curry said the decision was made to get the best possible athletes on the field. Hill said he will still play in wildcat formations and will also return kicks and punts, something he couldn’t when he was a quarterback. Ronnie Bell will back up starting quarterback Ben McLane.

After appearing as a backup in Thursday night’s 33-6 loss to South Carolina State, Hill said he approached offensive coordinator John Bond about the move on Sunday before talking to Curry.

“I was tired of the two-quarterback rotation,” Hill said. “I thought this has got to stop. It was just holding the team up.”

It turns out, Bond had also been thinking about the move for some of the same reasons as Hill. Bond said the team has performed at its best during its first season when it had one quarterback, Drew Little, taking most of the snaps. Last year, because of disciplinary issues, injuries and lack of effectiveness, the team used three quarterbacks, each with a different style, and the offense suffered, scoring five less points a game than in 2010.

It appeared the team was going to go through the same identity issues this year. McLane is more of drop-back passer like Little, while Hill is better at running option packages.

Playing both McLane and Hill on Thursday, the offense had one of the worst games in the program’s short history. Its 229 yards was the third-fewest in program history. Its six points the second-worst. The 27-point margin of defeat was the worst for Curry against an FCS team. Instead of running at least 76 plays, which was a preseason barometer of success for success, the  offense ran 58. Its inefficiency forced the defense on the field for 78.

The differences needed in play-calling and strategy had become an unnecessary hurdle.

“We have such a different identity depending upon who the quarterback is,”  Bond said. “It’s hard to get better. It’s hard  to game plan. That’s a tough situation. We are going to make a decision and roll with it.”

Bond said he didn’t make the move earlier in August, which would have given Hill more time to work out with the defensive backs, because he wanted to give him every opportunity to win the job. The fact that Bell wasn’t declared eligible by the NCAA until last week didn’t factor into the decision, Curry said.

The move may help settle the offense in other ways. Without Hill running the option, Donald Russell may get more carries. He rushed for 120 yards but only carried the ball 12 times against South Carolina State. After the game, Curry said the coaches should have gotten the ball to Russell more.

Hill, now wearing No. 11 instead of No. 4, worked out with  the second team safeties on Tuesday. Curry said Hill picked things up intuitively. Hill was an all-state performer as an athlete at Lithia Springs High School, where he played quarterback and safety. He said the fundamentals came back to him during practice. Hill planned to meet with defensive coordinator Anthony Midget later today to go over the playbook.

“It makes me happy because I’ll see the field a lot more,” Hill said. “It’s going to be a lot to get used to, but I’m up for the challenge.”

The move continues another chapter in the strange trip it’s been for Hill at Georgia State.

Hill was dynamic as a freshman, playing as a backup in every game and leading the team with 416 rushing yards. During the offseason, he was arrested and charged with burglary. The charges were dropped and Hill was re-instated to the team in August. He started as the third-string quarterback but took over as starter midway through the season, passing for 1,021 yards and rushing for 609. But he completed just 54 percent of his passes.  He was the presumed starter heading into the spring, but McLane won the job because Bond and Curry said they liked his accuracy and game management. Hill appeared as a backup against South Carolina State, passing for 76 yards and rushing for nine.

Curry raved about how proud he is of Hill, saying the two have walked many paths together and that this move wouldn’t work if Hill didn’t have such a great attitude.

“It’s made me the man I am today,” Hill said. “[I've learned] How to handle adversity, just learn from it and know everything’s going to be all right.”

Your questions

1. What does the depth chart look like? It appears that Georgia State’s quarterbacks have one career start between them. McLane has one, Bell has none and Nate Schuster has none. Curry wouldn’t rule out Hill returning to quarterback depending upon injuries.

2. Why now, with Tennessee this weekend?  That’s a good question. I assumed that Hill would start against the Volunteers’ big and fast defensive line because he is the more mobile of the quarterbacks. It appears the move was made because Bond said it’s time to move forward. The offense couldn’t do that.

3. How is Hill? He seemed fine during our interview, focused on what’s next. He later joked that with the change in number he has to change his license plate and a small medallion on his necklace. He seems like he’s looking forward to the change.

4. Will  Hill play at safety? I’m sure he wants to, but he said this is about trying to get ready for next year. The Panthers are deep in the secondary, but two of the starters are seniors.

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

38 comments Add your comment


September 4th, 2012
10:59 am

If he is not going to be the full-time QB, I like the idea of getting KH11 on the field as much as possible. Make him our honey badger.


September 4th, 2012
11:02 am

Meanwhile we’re leaving a statue to play QB. Mr. Accurate was 7 for 15 against our easiest opponent. Got it!


September 4th, 2012
11:05 am

This has to mean that Ronnie Bell is that much closer.

Thinking can be useful

September 4th, 2012
11:06 am

Very logical coaching decision – Kelton can contribute better in other ways than QB.


September 4th, 2012
11:10 am

You know what, I don’t blame anyone for trolling this one. Here’s hoping this falls under the “just so crazy it might work” category.


September 4th, 2012
11:15 am

I’m speechless at how our coaches are ruining our football program.


September 4th, 2012
11:47 am

Love the idea, he has to be better than our current guys. Why we keep getting burned on fades is beyond me. Ronnie Bell need to start as QB and we need to get Rid of this coaching staff all together ASAP!! Hire PETRINO NOW!!


September 4th, 2012
11:51 am

Ok, the more I read, the more it makes sense. Kudos to KH11 for stepping up and pushing the coaching staff to get rid of the two QB system. I hope he does well at safety and we get a consistent QB going. Ronnie Bell deserves to have more reps.

It doesn't matter

September 4th, 2012
11:51 am

1. Ben McClane performed terribly in his debut and I doubt that getting decimated by Tennessee this week will do anything more to help his confidence. He has no pocket presence and didn’t even throw the ball away once to avoid a sack. He lacks the confidence and apparent QB IQ to run this team successfully
2. Kelton Hill is arguably the best athlete on this team and the idea of moving him around to get him on the field makes complete sense. But it only makes sense under the condition that there is a QB who is better than him and performing well and there were only limited touches for him on offense. that is not the case though because in limited action Kelton out performed Ben as you would expect from a RSJR who’s been with the program since it started.
3. Rome wasn’t built over night but I’m sure when they started to build it that they didn’t constantly self destruct the project and start over. This may be GSU’s 3rd year but it might as well be their first considering that it is a lame duck season with a new no huddle offense that also should be called a no scoring offense.
4. This better be our last QB move because as anyone knows you can’t win football without offense even if your Alabama and unless you have a solidified QB position your offense will not be successful . So I think that it is absolutely wonderful that Bill Curry’s coaching career is going to end with a whimper as we slowly and agonizingly watch our team mercilessly beaten game after game due to our lack of good coaching.


September 4th, 2012
11:56 am

Positive move. Historically dual QB’s doin’t work well though there are exceptions.


September 4th, 2012
11:57 am

Where is the Screen Pass, the option, the I Formation, the halfback pass. Has John Bond EVER watched a good college football team?


September 4th, 2012
12:00 pm

Hill said he feels he was holding the team up. That bothers me because his talents showed the coaches he needed playing time at QB. Playing time isn’t giving out because of pity.

Chicken Bone

September 4th, 2012
12:20 pm

Amen Alum! Bond has never ever ran a traditional screen pass at GSU. Also, how about a fullback for THE DONALD!!! The Power I may be our only hope considering McLane is no Drew Little. Ronnie Bell needs to see the field and soon! Once UT’s D-Line breaks through Bell and Schrepfer and Schuster better be ready! It’s going to be a long day at Neyland Stadium. Good luck KH11!

GSU Alum 88

September 4th, 2012
12:26 pm

Wow this kinda angers me. If Kelton’s not on offense we’re just gonna average 6 points a game

Bobby Petrino

September 4th, 2012
12:32 pm

Get me a motorcycle and a sexy assistant, and I’ll come back to the Dome TONIGHT. Oh, and she better be real damn sexy!



September 4th, 2012
1:53 pm

What I don’t understand is since McLane RS’d last year he had to know our O line sucked. I would have had him practicing getting pressure ALL spring and summer. Heck, I would have played 7 on 11’s just to beat the crap out of him so he knew what it was going to be like.

Red Panther

September 4th, 2012
2:13 pm

Onwards and upwards Panther Nation. We need to take a look at Bell.


September 4th, 2012
2:49 pm

Good quote #1
“We have such a different identity depending upon who the quarterback is,” Bond said. “It’s hard to get better. It’s hard to game plan. That’s a tough situation. We are going to make a decision and roll with it.”

Quote #2
The move continues another chapter in the strange trip it’s been for Hill at Georgia State.

Why didn’t you make the decision when McClane won the job as a starter. I am not trying to question Bond, but seriously it looks as if you have no clue what you are doing with the constant adjustments. One thing is clear and can be agreed upon by both GSU fans and Trolls alike. Whoever replaces John Bond is going to look like an offensive genius. Playing musical QB again in the 3rd season is how you kill an already tiny fan base. For every dollar marketing and athletics put into the program Bond take $5 out.

Pennsylvania CAA fan

September 4th, 2012
5:06 pm

I thought it violated NCAA rules to be a player coach?

After appearing as a backup in Thursday night’s 33-6 loss to South Carolina State, Hill said he approached offensive coordinator John Bond about the move on Sunday before talking to Curry.

“I was tired of the two-quarterback rotation,” Hill said. “I thought this has got to stop. It was just holding the team up.”

Sounds like Coach Hill is ready to lead this team to victory! Bleed blue!

This team is in major trouble if the “adult” coaches don’t see this. Seriously this is really embarrassing

Let the troll, Yankee and psu comments fly. (I don’t believe in trolls, I was born in the south and don’t care about Psu).

I have said all along I had high hopes for the school but the only reasonable fans on ajc this year are the tech fans.


Full Metal Jacket

September 4th, 2012
5:27 pm

Does being clever on blogs make you feel better about your small penis, Penn CAA fan?

Astonished Werepanther

September 4th, 2012
7:18 pm

I don’t know how to feel about this story, but I have a hard time imagining its outcome being significantly worse than where we were headed anyway. At least moves like this keep things interesting for those of us paying attention.

Still hopeful…

Coach A

September 4th, 2012
8:16 pm

Congrats Kelton, Lithia is proud of you.

Occupy ?ville

September 4th, 2012
8:36 pm

So, we’re still going to have rotating quarterbacks, just a different second choice?

May be a tough year. But, we gotta try to take the long view. Our friends down the street and in Athens have been at it for over a century. We’ll have our chances this year, and will get it all together some day soon.

PA CAA fan

September 4th, 2012
8:56 pm


September 4th, 2012
9:41 pm

It doesn’t matter. Still looking at 0-11; 1-10 season at best.


September 4th, 2012
10:22 pm

Hey “It Doesn’t Matter” – First off, if you are a Panther, you should be able to spell everyone’s name correctly. And no pocket presence? Get your eyes checked my friend. He will be fine. In order to make a play, everyone has to do their part. It is NOT ONE PERSON. It is a TEAM GAME! Instead of tearing people down, WHY DON’T YOU TRY AND BE POSITIVE?! These are college students for crying out loud. Get a damn life.


September 5th, 2012
3:10 am

This is ridiculous. A kid has been practicing QB all spring and summer camp and after one game you move him to safety because he does not like the rotation. The best Athlete needs to be at QB. dumb coaches. So you move him four days before playing a SEC team. This the dumbest coaching staff in the history of Coaches. I believe they are trying to get fired. It makes no sense. You did not see this move in the summer and you guys are suppose to professionals. if you fire them they still get their salary. That is robbery. Make Mr. Curry and the spaceballs complete this garbage they built.. It;s about monies by fourth game it will be 100 coming to the GA dome. In response to that the AD will let some of these coaches starting with Defensive Coordinator midget who will be coaching High School ball this time next year back in Florida…Fans will see a major change and will give the panthers another look by 6th game. Move Hill from QB to Safety. That will not save your job dummy

[...] With Kelton Hill’s move from back-up quarterback to safety earlier this week, Georgia State’s quarterback job seems like its firmly in Ben McLane’s right hand. [...]

Doug Roberson

September 5th, 2012
8:37 am

No, I don’t think you are going to rotate quarterbacks.


September 5th, 2012
10:57 am

Well they are half way there by moving Kelton Hill to a different position. He is too talented an athlete to leave off the field and with his issues of the past too risky to give the starting QB position in case he messes up again. Now they just have to realize that McLane is not athletic and does not have the confidence of the team that he can lead the way. Bond needs to admit he messed up and start over with Bell and Schrepfer before we are humiliated with a 0-11 season.


September 5th, 2012
12:19 pm

You obviously aint “Blueblooded” as your name suggests you are. If you are a true fan, you would realize that Georgia State has only played one game this season, and Ben only has one college game under his belt. STOP trying to bash him and say there is no confidence. YOU DON’T HAVE A DAMN CLUE.


September 5th, 2012
12:24 pm

Ben McLane starting QB??? Laughable..GSU get a CLUE..


September 5th, 2012
12:28 pm

@ TheChosenOne… sounds like Ben’s DAD!!!! your boy “aint” ready to lead. He didnt against SC State and will be a joke against Tenn. let’s be honest.


September 5th, 2012
2:27 pm

Yo “RadioRod” – I am not Ben’s DAD. You shouldn’t be talking about people’s parents. Also, if YOU knew his father, you would know that he has a lot better and more important things to do with his time than sit behind a computer and make comments on here. At the end of the day, these players are a bunch of 18 – 22 year olds playing the game they have loved since grade school. I have noticed a pattern of people who like to comment on here religiously are TRYING to live out their childhood DREAM of ever being good at something through making comments on here, and ACTING as if they actually knew something,. I imagine you are one of those people. STOP being a DOUCHE!


September 6th, 2012
12:01 am

Moving Hill could either be a genius move or an absolutely moronic one. He’s often one of the view bright spots on our very inconsistent offense. Giving Ben the majority of the snaps with a few designed plays for Kelton could work though. Honestly, I feel very uneasy about this season. Our coaching staff seems inept at times. Hope we can get it turned around. Go Panthers!

[...] Hill moves to safety from QB [...]

[...] his strength, was missing as he completed seven of his 15 passes for 54. He was sacked five times. But he is definitely in charge after backup Kelton Hill asked to move to defensive back on Sunday. Look for the Panthers to try to get running back Donald Russell going early, something they [...]

[...] his strength, was missing as he completed seven of his 15 passes for 54. He was sacked five times. But he is definitely in charge after backup Kelton Hill asked to move to defensive back on Sunday. Look for the Panthers to try to get running back Donald Russell going early, something they [...]