Georgia State’s practice on Wednesday was one of the most spirited this year, which may be a good sign for the team for the rest of the year. The Panthers (0-2) will host Texas-San Antonio (2-0) at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Georgia Dome.
On one play, a defensive end slammed into the ball-carrier, prompting his defensive teammates to cheer.
A few plays later, a wide receiver on a crossing route was interfered with, but still caught the ball as he was falling down, prompting his offensive teammates to cheer.
“There’s a lot of energy every day, it’s just a matter of getting them to expend it,” coach Bill Curry said. “We are improving and that (the energy) will be fine as long as we do it in the game.”
Practices before the season-opening loss to South Carolina State and last week’s to the Volunteers didn’t have the positive vibe that has been building this week.
“I’ve never had a poor team develop into a really good team without this,” Curry said.
Quarterback Ben McLane has yet to drop a snap in practices this week.
That wouldn’t be notable except he fumbled six times (losing one) in the loss to Vols, most occurring on the center-quarterback exchange. He said afterward that he was fumbling the snap because he was taking his eye off the ball as he tried to sneak one last look at the secondary.
Curry said offensive coordinator John Bond promised him that they would get exchange smoothed out this week with the goal of no more fumbles for the remainder of the season.
On the positive side, Curry said McLane didn’t miss a single check during the game against the Vols.
Starting wide receivers Jordan Giles (shoulder) and Danny Williams (ankle) are still day-to-day for Saturday’s game. Williams didn’t play against the Vols but participated in a few drills during Wednesday’s practice. Giles did not. Curry said if Giles can’t participate in Thursday’s practice the chances are slim that he will able to play Saturday.
If one or the other can’t play, Nathaniel Minor will be one of several receivers, including Bo Carter, Avery Sweeting and Lynquez Blair, who will fill in.
Minor played with McLane at Brookwood. He caught two passes for 18 yards against Tennessee and one for nine yards against the Bulldogs.
“I’m the kind of guy who has got to do everything right because I’m not the fastest guy,” Minor said. “I have to be technically sound with everything I do.”
Tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi could also provide a target. He has started the past two games but has yet caught just one pass for 2 yards.
After the South Carolina State game Bond said he needed try to calls play to target him. Tennessee’s defense prevented McLane from targeting him. Ogbuehi doesn’t seem worried.
“I’m just trying to do everything right with my blocks, run crisp routes and get open so I have a chance to get the ball,” he said. “I’m just trying to work hard.”
Ogbuehi has carried the ball once on the ill-fated end-around on first-and-goal at the 3-yard line. The play lost a yard. Ogbuehi said he lined up incorrectly on the play.
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu