Georgia State’s football coaches are trying everything they can to get the good results they are seeing on the practice field to happen during the games. So far, nothing has worked. The team is 0-4 and will face winless William and Mary on Saturday in Williamsburg, Va.
However, coach Bill Curry and his players recognize that they can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results.
“… We’ve got to activate that talent and that’s significant,” Curry said.
Everything is being scrutinized. The biggest change this week was the opening of the quarterback competition in an attempt to jump-start a sputtering offense. A unit that is efficient in practice isn’t producing the same results in games. The Panthers have averaged 11.8 points and 297.2 yards per game.
Curry and offensive coordinator John Bond said it’s not fair to pin all the responsibility on redshirt freshman quarterback Ben McLane. He is trying to overcome his experience, and his teammates haven’t helped by dropping passes or blowing assignments. Curry said his teammates aren’t playing to their capability. For example, in the game against Richmond, the Panthers drove to the 13-yard line. On one of the subsequent plays, the primary receiver ran the wrong route. He would have been open had he run the correct route.
“Us looking at what we are doing this week is no reflection on Ben McLane, it’s just a reflection of where we are as an offense right now,” Bond said.
The players are frustrated and determined to improve.
Tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi met with Curry earlier this week to discuss what he can do to improve his performance. Ogbuehi had a pass go through his hands late in the first half of Saturday’s loss to Richmond. The deflection was intercepted, and the Spiders eventually converted the touchdown into a turnover. That drop and the result are an example of the inability to make plays that has acted like an anchor to drag this team down for the past 15 games.
The coaches aren’t immune from introspection.
During the spring, Curry and his staff began grading the players’ effort in every practice and showing the results to the team. He said more players are earning perfect grades. The coaches have begun to scrutinize the walk-throughs even more, making sure the players are focusing on the minutiae of each position because they believe better practice habits usually lead to better game results.
“Everything we can do to get our minds in the games to perform up to the ability,” he said.
Last week, Curry transformed practice from first- and second-teams competing against the scout teams to first teams playing against each other, even at the risk of losing players to injury. He’s doing almost anything to breed competition and teach his players what it feels like to win. Basketball coach Ron Hunter did something similar when he took over last year by creating making almost every drill in practice a competition.
“We need to get a win and have all of these young guys understand how wonderful that is,” Curry said. “If you’re a competitor, there is nothing like winning. There is also nothing like losing. You just can’t stand the latter, so you fight to reach the former.”
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu