Georgia State opens up quarterback competition

Georgia State coach Bill Curry said they are opening up the quarterback competition between Ben McLane and Ronnie Bell after the team lost its fourth consecutive game on Saturday, 35-14 to Richmond.

Curry said the starter for Saturday’s game at William and Mary will be a game-time decision.

McLane, a redshirt freshman, has started the first four games but the team has struggled. The Panthers are averaging 11.8 points and 297.2 yards per game this season.

McLane is completing 49 percent of his pass attempts — far below the 65 percent Curry said he wanted to see — and 124 yards per game.

“We do well for a while on offense and then we get stopped,” Curry said. He compared the performance of the offense to a tennis player that loses because of mistakes. “We make too many unforced errors.”

Bell, also a redshirt freshman, is completing 57.1 percent of his passes and is averaging 98 yards per game this season. He has played in two games, mostly in the second half in which the opponents have been protecting big leads. However, Bell has displayed a strong arm and confidence.

Like McLane at Brookwood, Bell also won a high school state championship in Georgia. He led Sandy Creek to a 29-1 record and two titles. He passed for more than 4,400 yards his last two years before signing with Ohio. He transferred to Georgia State earlier this year.

McLane beat Kelton Hill for the job in the spring by displaying accuracy and game-management skills. When McLane started the opener, he became the third different quarterback to make his college debut for the Panthers in the past three seasons. Hill was moved to defensive back in week 2 and is now at wide receiver because offensive coordinator John Bond said he wanted to focus on one quarterback and give him time to develop.

Curry has struggled to get production from his quarterbacks. The team had used five different quarterbacks in a 14-game stretch because of injuries, suspension or ineffectiveness.

Quarterback isn’t the only position being scrutinized.

Curry said freshman Bryan Williams saw his first action this year because they are looking for improved production and consistency on defense. Williams played the wolf position. He finished with a tackle.

“We have some talent we aren’t using on this team so we are looking at all positions,” Curry said. “We have got to get consistent and you don’t do that by sitting on pat hands.”

Did Georgia State recruit Heinicke?

While Georgia State struggles to find a quarterback, an Atlanta native is setting records from under center at one of the Panthers’ rivals.

Old Dominion’s Taylor Heinicke, a Collins Hill grad, passed for 730 yards as part of 791 total yards in Saturday’s 64-61 win over New Hampshire. Both of Heinicke’s marks set Division I records.

Curry said Georgia State did recruit Heinicke. At the time, Curry had Drew Little, Bo Schlechter, Star Jackson and Kelton Hill on the roster.Curry said they weren’t going to recruit another quarterback because the depth chart was full. Only Hill is left and he isn’t playing quarterback.

Midway through the season, Curry’s coaches learned about Heinicke. They began recruiting him but by then Heinicke was talking to ODU. He also wanted to major in engineering, a program not offered at Georgia State.

“Old Dominion did a nice job recruiting him,” Curry said.

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

51 comments Add your comment

Walking with a Panther

September 24th, 2012
12:25 pm

Unless our running backs coach Joe Hamilton has some eligibility left, does it really matter???

Happy St. Pat's!

September 24th, 2012
12:25 pm

A running offense like Paul Johnson’s at Tech could catch some teams unprepared, though it won’t reach the pinnacle for various reasons. Installing a running quarterback (Bell) is a requirement. Drawing the defense forward into the box can make more room for a selective passing game. Makes sense–what is there to lose?


September 24th, 2012
12:27 pm

Thanks Doug!

Here’s to an open competition as W&M have the lightest front 7 on the schedule so far. Looking forward to seeing Ronnie Bell compete.


John Bond

September 24th, 2012
12:29 pm

Won’t matter I’m still going to call stupid plays, because I’m John Bond and “WE ARE,,, Georgia State!!”

Mary McElroy

September 24th, 2012
12:41 pm

Miss me yet? I think GSU will win against W&M.

Steve Nash's Pick and Roll

September 24th, 2012
12:42 pm

This coaching staff really can’t make up its mind. First two years all we heard was how everyone must compete for their job every single week. Then for whatever reason they annoited McLane as the second coming of Jesus and gave him the job even though he has looked no better than anyone else. And now they show some sense again and will give Ronnie a shot (and he will win the job IMO). Regardless, our best QB is playing receiver now and returning kicks. Go figure.

Steve Nash's Pick and Roll

September 24th, 2012
12:42 pm

No Mary we don’t miss you. You were pretty bad and we’re actually better off with CL.


September 24th, 2012
12:46 pm

A Lame Duck Coach mindset of the players may be part of the problem. It is awfully hard to give 100% in this circumstance. Sometimes overcompensating is a problem as well. Consistancy of performance is also hard to come by. Balance in mental control is the stepping stone to a better game.


September 24th, 2012
12:46 pm

If Coach Curry expected a 65% completion rate then his OC should have been calling more high percentage passes.


September 24th, 2012
12:55 pm

@Steve Nash The jury is still out on Ronnie Bell. My concern is that every time he throws what should be a back-shoulder pass, he leaves it hanging in the middle of the field, where the WR has no chance and the CB just waits on the pick. This may be a function of the desperate play, or a badly run post route, but it doesn’t look that way.

John Bond

September 24th, 2012
1:07 pm

I will never allow Georgia State to compete. I am sucking up to John Thompson as we speak and will announce my resignation later this week.

is it me

September 24th, 2012
1:08 pm

Should have stuck with Kelton Hill…

Fire Levick!!

September 24th, 2012
1:14 pm

I thought Old Dominion was an online school?

Busted and Disgusted

September 24th, 2012
1:16 pm

So now that the Golden Boy has tanked the first 4 games, you want to open up the competition? This guy is a joke. The same stuff basically last year after Bo and Drew took a dump on team. Kelton to the rescue. The hell with that, Bell and Hill should let Mclane finish his mess. It’s so obvious Bond doesn’t want to coach either of these guys. Hill, Bell, stay strong, new coach will see talent and Scarecrow will be placed where he belongs, the BENCH!

Fire Levick!!

September 24th, 2012
1:28 pm

The QB doesn’t matter when you have a line that cannot block, receivers that cannot catch and a OC that is incompetent. We would have had to average 40pts a game to win and we are averaging 11. Simple math folks, we will not win a game.


September 24th, 2012
1:31 pm

Though they learned their lesson with musical quarterback but I guess not. Sounds like desperation is once again setting in.


September 24th, 2012
1:37 pm

@ Happy St. Pats. I see where you’re going but our team CANNOT throw a block to save their lives so the option is not an option.


September 24th, 2012
1:47 pm

@Busted, the run blocking has been halfway decent, at least to the left side. Not going to argue about the receivers. Albert has been the only bright spot on the receiving corps. And definitely won’t argue about the OC. Nevertheless, the real problem is the secondary.

Ron Hunter

September 24th, 2012
1:48 pm

Keep you heads up Panthers, basketball season is right around the corner.


September 24th, 2012
1:56 pm

We will see improvement with Bell!

I called this after our second loss…

The battle for GSU QB matters to sports fans here in Atlanta.

September 24th, 2012
1:59 pm

<—————————————————– Sike.

Astonishing Werepanther

September 24th, 2012
2:05 pm

I like what I’ve seen from Bell, if he can just keep up the momentum he gives the offense and cut out the jump balls…

[...] time to bust some myths about this topic.  Doug Roberson of the Atlanta Journal Constitution spoke to Coach Bill Curry about Heinicke specifically on Monday afternoon after practice: Curry said Georgia State did recruit Heinicke. At the time, [...]


September 24th, 2012
3:30 pm

LOL you guys are terrible. Your coaches should be a game-time decision….lol

Go Panthers!!

September 24th, 2012
3:34 pm

Heinicke would have not been the same QB had he come here. This staff is clueless.

I swear Curry has early dementia.

Name a starter. Unname a starter.

Need to run Donald, but we still throw like girls.

Call TOs at UT because we won’t give up, go for fourth downs because we won’t give up, then we punt late in the third as we trail by 28.

It’s yin and yang, baby!!!

No one knows what’s coming, and neither does the coaching staff.

Go Panthers!!

September 24th, 2012
3:36 pm

And I honestly wonder how much fire and brimstone this team gets.

Any at all?

Curry hasn’t been full of fire since Alabama. They crushed his soul out there in Tuscaloosa. He has never been the same.

Fantasy Football

September 24th, 2012
3:50 pm

Drop Drew Breeze
add Taylor Heinicke
Ok my roster is all set

Highly Respected Southern Troll

September 24th, 2012
4:06 pm

@Go Panthers!! – Curry wasn’t any good before he went to Alabama. See his record during the 80s at Georgia Tech for proof.

Max Sizemore

September 24th, 2012
4:45 pm

“Quarterback is a position that Curry has struggled to get productivity from.”

Try: Getting his quarterbacks to be productive has been a struggle for Curry.


September 24th, 2012
5:00 pm

Someone seems to think that if you play high school in the Atlanta area, or a son of a former player who played for Bill Curry, or an Atlanta native that has transfered in from another college you might be an good athlete. Ga State is not a very athletic football team.

Just sayin

September 24th, 2012
5:05 pm

Name G QBRat. Att Comp Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Long Sack YdsL
Ben McLane 4 93.0 96 47 49.0 496 5.2 2 3 84 9 -75
Ronnie Bell 2 109.2 21 12 57.1 186 8.9 1 4 41 0 0

Seems like a no brainier the QB position should have been open for competition. Plus Mclane can’t seem to hold onto the ball.

Atlanta Mafia

September 24th, 2012
5:36 pm

I want to over-simplify all this because I think that I am correct in this very very simple assessment.
Bill Curry has FAILED at every coaching position he has ever had – PERIOD!
And believe me – if you failed at ALABAMA then you have no idea how to coach anything.
We don’t have BAMA talent at GSU so he was never gonna get anything done – PERIOD.
My wife could coach better than Bill Curry because she knows that 10 yards get a first down and she knows that if the running game is working then you don’t need to throw interceptions anymore.
There I said it – my wife is a better coach than Bill Curry and I bet she could get more fans to come to the game just to look at her S.

Who Cares?

September 24th, 2012
5:54 pm

@ODU-ODU-ODU – that one made me laugh. thanks

Doug Roberson

September 24th, 2012
6:05 pm

Max, that would be better.


September 24th, 2012
6:45 pm

Good luck to the GSU Panthers at William & Mary! Play like you did at Knoxville two weeks ago.

Doo Doo Brown

September 24th, 2012
9:02 pm

Hi I am looking to coach football at GSU and I heard CL is the AD, so that bodes well for me!


September 25th, 2012
7:21 am

Yet, you have a few Panther fans complaining about opening up competition while Mclane has shown that he is either not ready, or not the guy at all. Meanwhile, Bell has come in, second team or not as some line to point out, and looks more relaxed and mechanically sound.

There is a reason Bell was recruited and signed to FBS Ohio and Mclane’s only offer before signing with the Panthers was D-II University of West Georgia. Once again, Bill Curry playing favortism has caused us to look more inept than we actually are. We’ve been blown out in ALL FOUR GAMES!

Say What?

September 25th, 2012
7:56 am

@ Tucker. Yes they will play like they did at TN and the score will be the same….BLOWOUT!

Orlando Panther

September 25th, 2012
8:14 am

@Truth…dead on. Curry’s ego is getting in the way.

Hot Sauce

September 25th, 2012
9:16 am

Fans or should I say, a fan is stuck on John Bond’s quote, “stick with a guy to get a guy”. Guess what? Things change and change rapidly in this game. How long do you want to ride the Mclane train? Will 0-11 be enough to convince you? If it were Kelton Hill or Bell who started 0-4 and have looked half as bad as Mclane, you’d be screaming for a QB change. Anyone who can’t see the talent gap in quarterbacks is either blind or disingenuous. Probably the latter.

Go Panthers!!

September 25th, 2012
9:42 am

Offense and QB are only half of the problem.

This defense can’t stop anyone.


September 25th, 2012
10:30 am

Bell will get it done if Curry will give him the keys. Make him the man, let him relax , then sit back and enjoy.

you tube him and look at his highlights


September 25th, 2012
10:43 am

WTH, ODU can’t stop anyone either. At least give yourself a fighting chance. I’m sorry but scoring 11.8 points per game is beyong pathetic.


September 25th, 2012
10:48 am

I like our chances better with Bell since McLane does not have what it takes and they gave him more chances than they would have at most schools

Red Panther

September 25th, 2012
11:39 am

Time to Ring that Bell! Go Panthers!


September 25th, 2012
12:16 pm

Black College Power Poll
Week 4

1.Tennessee State
2.Alabama A&M
4.Winston Salem
8. Miles
9. SC State
10. Norfolk State

New Coach

September 25th, 2012
1:45 pm

Is it true Jim Tressell is coaching there next year? Way to go…go with the best.


September 25th, 2012
5:14 pm

ahaha you know your team sucks when you have to prove that you recruited players that didn’t come to your school. Congrats, you recruited Heinicke. Guess what? He didn’t go to GSU and your team is still terrible.

Busted and Disgusted

September 26th, 2012
12:43 pm

@ajg-marietta, Offensive line did better this weekend. Receiver, all he could do, not to mention Giles gone for season. Defense will never be good when they spend 90% of the game on the field. Maybe stretching percentage, but it’s been a lot. Run Russell, shorten the game. Please do something with offense inside redzone. But, we are talking about Bond. smh. Still will support, because no program starting from ground zero was great or atleast consistant right away. Coaching staff needed bad. Young fiery coach with up to date coordinators and staff. Once again, keep Hamilton and Pugh, the only two that care. Coach Rickey good too. The rest, straight to lions den with pork chop undees on. Fo Sho!!!!

[...] Offensive coordinator John Bond said it’s likely Ben McLane and Ronnie Bell will see extended play…. Curry said on Monday that they were opening up the competition between the two. The offense has struggled in the first four games in which McLane has started. The team is averaging less than 12 points and 300 yards per game. [...]