Curry sees progress, but rues unforced errors by Georgia State

Georgia State coach Bill Curry saw progress in the 51-13 loss to Tennessee, but said the team can’t keep making unforced errors on offense and defense.

Though the offense totaled just 34 yards more against the Vols than it did in the season-opening loss to South Carolina State (263-229), Curry liked that the offense had two 13-play drives, scored its first touchdown this season on a run by quarterback Ben McLane, and showed “some spunk” in the fourth quarter.

However, the team wasted an opportunity to score a touchdown on first-and-goal on its first possession. The Panthers settled for a field goal.

“Once you have the drive you have to take it in the end zone,” Curry said. The Panthers will host Texas-San Antonio at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Georgia Dome.

The progression of the offense, facing a bigger, faster, deeper opponent, can be traced to the improved play of the offensive line and McLane, a redshirt freshman who was making the second start of his career.

Neither looked settled in the opener, resulting in McLane being sacked five times and passing for just 54 yards. He later said that he was too worried about not throwing interceptions and that he needed to relax and trust his technique.

He seemed ready (mostly) against the Vols. Curry said a slant to Jordan Giles on the first drive showed that McLane seemed to be trying to do what he showed in the spring and August. The pass was thrown into a small window that resulted in 25 yards and converted a third-and-20 situation.

“I think that settled him down more than the rest of us,” Curry said. “And then he proceeded to make more good throws in the game.”

McLane passed for 176 yards, completing 18 of his 41 attempts. One area of concern was his fumbles, six of them, that Curry said must be fixed. McLane took the blame after the game, saying he needs to focus on the ball rather than trying to get one more quick look at the secondary.

“We have too many unforced errors right now,” Curry said.

McLane was helped by a line that pass-blocked much better than it did the first game. While McLane was sacked three times by the Vols, he didn’t need to scramble as often as he did against South Carolina State.

“The whole offensive line performed grade-wise much better than it did the first week,” Curry said.

The offense may be without two important weapons this week in starting wide receivers Giles and Danny Williams. Giles injured a shoulder against the Vols. Williams suffered an ankle injury against South Carolina State the prevented him from playing in Knoxville. Curry said both are day to day.

The defense showed progress but the secondary, which was supposed to be a strength before the season because it features two seniors, a redshirt junior and a junior, continues to struggle.

After allowing the Bulldogs to pass for 300 yards, the Vols rolled up 374 more with four touchdowns. Two touchdowns were the result of play-action passes in which either the linebacker or defensive backs mis-read the play, allowing a receiver to run open.

“I know that our guys can play,” Curry said. “We just have to play with more confidence. We’ve got to stick with them and believe in them. They do have the ability to perform.”

Just like McLane was helped by the improvement of the offensive line, the secondary should improve as the front seven of the defense improves its pass-rushing efforts. They failed to post a sack for the second consecutive game, though Curry said they did play much better as the entire group continues to learn the 4-2-5 system.

“It all works together,” Curry said.

Other headlines for you

Notes, quotes and observations after the loss to Tennessee

GSU falls to Vols, shows potential

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

25 comments Add your comment

Orlando Panther

September 10th, 2012
1:32 pm

John Bond screwed up that 1st and goal opportunity with a bonehead play call.

Avery Sweeting should be starting at WR if Williams & Giles cannot play.

McLane needs to build upon his toughness he showed against Tennessee, and fix his fumble and passing confidence issues.

Doug, can you interview SBC Commissioner Benson after the game and see what his response is to what he saw at the UTSA game (Attendance, quality of play, etc…)?

Citadel Bulldog Fan

September 10th, 2012
1:53 pm

Wait, I thought we beat GSU in Charleston this weekend?

GSU_MEX_ALUM

September 10th, 2012
2:12 pm

Spot on Orlando… I was proud of our boys!

Good info Doug!

GSU_MEX_ALUM

September 10th, 2012
2:13 pm

Gnats flying around….

Chicken Bone

September 10th, 2012
2:32 pm

When Ben tucks the ball and runs it adds another dimension to the offense. It appeared he had this opportunity a few other times other than the 4th quarter touchdown and chose to throw the ball away. Though there is risk with your QB running the ball, I believe Ben is strong and solid enough to make this a part of his repertoire. On another note, loved the shovel pass but will we ever throw a traditional screen pass. I believe our line is athletic enough to make some big plays with it. Come on CJB give it a try! Also, give Kelton a shot at cornerback please!!! He has the height and the speed we need for covering the taller receivers!

Doug Roberson

September 10th, 2012
2:35 pm

A screen pass is most effective against a blitzing defense. How many times did S.C. State and Tennessee blitz? Or need to blitz? I remember 2 by South Carolina State. I remember two by Tennessee. Both times, they were on top of McLane as soon as he finished his drop.

RidgeRunner

September 10th, 2012
2:39 pm

No Citadel Bulldog Fan, you beat GS from statesboro rather than GSU in ATL. See GSU.edu for a reinforcement of my answer.

I hope all this optimism is real and it could well be.

Continue the good work Doug. It is so great to finally have an AJC reporter on GSU and its over 100,000 alumns here in ATL.

Red Panther

September 10th, 2012
2:54 pm

This week was much better but we can’t afford self inflicted wounds; not good enough to overcome too many mistakes

Herschworld

September 10th, 2012
3:21 pm

Only GaState finds moral victories in a 51-13 loss.

Orlando Panther

September 10th, 2012
4:04 pm

We find a moral victory b/c we have endured nothing but misery for the past 12 or so games, and to finally see some bright spots in a loss to a top SEC team, isn’t too much of a stretch for the GSU faithful.

[...] Curry sees progress, but rues unforced errors in loss to Vols [...]

Penna CAA Fan

September 10th, 2012
4:47 pm

AJC seems to no longer call Georgia State “GSU” anymore but simply Georgia State… nice to see battle is over and not one shot fired! Nice to see this resolved.

Heading to the Rhode Island game to see your team. I know many of you folks here really enjoy my comments. You guys buy the beer right?

Penna CAA Fan

September 10th, 2012
4:51 pm

Herschworld sounds very reasonable Panther fans….he is not being mean just making an observation. Orlando counters with a nice comment… this comment section is almost civil. What happened?

Penna CAA Fan?

September 10th, 2012
6:48 pm

I’m such a loser that I am trying to start yacking about the GSU name when we all know that there is only one GSU in Atlanta nd the whole State of Georgia. I’m a retard using a CAA handle – so FCS!

Hurt Park

September 10th, 2012
8:15 pm

Can GSU hire unemployed Bobby Petrino for next season?

Pennsylvania CAA fan

September 10th, 2012
8:20 pm

So the answer is no on the beer?

Dixie Normuss

September 11th, 2012
7:16 am

GSU made $500,000 to take an azz-whipping. I will do that every weekend.

Motocross Survivor

September 11th, 2012
7:27 am

@Herschworld, But Dawgy fans go apesh*t after two victories over nobody. In case you haven’t noticed, the GSU program still has the new car smell and did pretty well against a major team.

Motocross Survivor

September 11th, 2012
7:28 am

It is rather common knowledge that Georgia State is the real GSU, not the cow college from the land of gnats pickups.

Motocross Survivor

September 11th, 2012
7:29 am

Gnats and pickups that is.

Hurt Park

September 11th, 2012
8:03 am

georgia state became a U way before georgia southern,
look it up.

maybe the smaller school should change their name to
southern georgia, like southern mississippi.

Chicken Bone

September 11th, 2012
8:07 am

Agreed Doug! But I recall in 2010 and 2011, been to all home games and most of the away games, we have NEVER answered blitzing teams like Old Dominion, etc. with a traditional screen pass. Bubble screens yes but not a good ole fake the block pull the line and run behind the wall of blockers. Also, maybe we need to line up in the I Formation from time to time and give The Donald a full back. Tennessee did it and it couldn’t hurt us to try! Thanks for the coverage Doug!!!

[...] Curry sees progress, but rues unforced errors in loss to Vols [...]

MENDEL 82

September 11th, 2012
11:50 am

I don’t know what Curry saw in his QB but that was very hard to watch. The kid is flat out scared. Where is his deep ball? There has to be a QB on the side line that will atleast play with some poise. I saw better throws in practice by the back ups!

[...] Curry sees progress, but rues unforced errors in loss to Vols [...]