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.
Making the first start of his college career, McLane looked shaky in last week’s 33-6 loss to South Carolina State. He completed just 7 of his 15 passes for 54 yards and was sacked five times. He didn’t show the accuracy, game management or presence that he showed in winning the job during the spring, and holding onto it during August.
McLane said he didn’t like how he played, but he wasn’t entirely disappointed. He didn’t throw any interceptions, something that was preached to him, but he said he did hold onto the ball too long sometimes.
“I thought at times, pretty much the whole game, I was too timid,” he said. “At times there were throws that I should have made that I didn’t because I was trying to take care of it too much.”
McLane said he learned a lesson from that experience.
“I need to be more aggressive and trust my preparation and trust that I’m ready and trust that I can make plays,” he said. “Don’t be too scared to make plays but don’t be too careless either.”
McLane wasn’t helped by an offensive line featuring four new starters. Two of his sacks were the result of him holding onto the ball too long. Another came on a safety blitz that McLane either didn’t recognize, or one of his teammates missed the call to block the blitzer.
Tackle Grant King said it doesn’t matter how long McLane holds onto the ball, the line needs to keep defenders off him. King, who has started 23 consecutive games at right tackle, said the line needs to focus and get their minds right.
“A lot of guys were somewhat inexperienced and we are trying to overcome that right now,” he said.
King said the linemen are working on keeping their heads raised so they can find the linebackers and identify blitzes. He said they are also trying to improve their blocking when the defenders stunt.
“Everybody can do an all-around better job,” he said.
Though it was statistically one of the worst games Georgia State’s offense has played, coordinator John Bond said he saw a lot of encouraging things when reviewing the film.
“We had many, many plays and many pays within series where we looked like a talented football team,” he said. “Our offensive line didn’t protect like they are capable but I feel we’ve really got a chance to be pretty good.”
McLane could be helped by the offense focusing on using running back Donald Russell more. He rushed for 120 yards on just 12 carries, prompting Curry to say that the coaches didn’t use Russell enough. On Tuesday, Curry said Russell needs to get at least 20 touches (carries or receptions) a game, which would mean the offense is playing well.
- Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu