Archive for September, 2012

Previewing Georgia State vs. Richmond

Three storylines for Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. game between Georgia State and Richmond at the Georgia Dome:

1. Can Georgia State’s offense do something? The offense has scored three touchdowns in three games. Two drives were led by starting quarterback Ben McLane and one by backup Ronnie Bell. The lack of production can be traced to poor execution, bad luck and the opponent’s skill and strategy. But the team has playmakers in running back Donald Russell, who has averaged 7.1 yards per carry, and wide receiver Albert Wilson, who caught an 84-yard touchdown pass, the longest in school history, in last week’s loss to Texas-San Antonio.

2. Can the defense rebound? The unit is giving up almost 500 yards per game, including 199 rushing yards. The defense has yet to post a sack, which means opponents’ wide receivers usually have time to get open. And the defense can’t get off the field, allowing opponents to successfully convert 50 percent of their third-down plays.

3. Will the …

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Kelton Hill enjoying another new role for Georgia State

Kelton Hill said standing in the pocket as a quarterback is much scarier than standing at the goal line as a kick-returner with 11 men running full speed at him with the sole intention of tackling him.

“Standing in the pocket, you have more stuff to think about,” he said. “When you are returning kicks, you are just running, looking for seams.”

Three weeks ago Hill was a back-up quarterback. Two weeks ago he switched to defensive back and kick returner. Last week, he became a wide receiver and returned two kickoffs for 24 yards in the loss to Texas-San Antonio.

He said he’s enjoying his new role. He played a few snaps at receiver against the Roadrunners. Because of an injury to Jordan Giles, Hill has practiced with the first-team offense this week as Georgia State prepares to play Richmond.

“It’s a lot more fun,” he said. “It takes a lot of stress off. It’s just about playing ball now.”

He said his hands are “pretty good.” He knows the routes from …

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Changes could be in store for GSU’s defense

Georgia State defensive coordinator Anthony Midget said there could be changes to personnel and schemes in the secondary in an attempt to create some plays.

He wouldn’t specify what he might do, though an injury to Demazio Skelton (undisclosed) may force changes. Midget’s defense is giving up 40.7 points and 496 yards per game. Midget also coaches the secondary.

He said in the past three games his players have been in position to make plays, but aren’t doing so.

“We just aren’t getting it done,” he said. “We keep hammering to the guys that eventually we will get those plays made.”

He cited a 47-yard run during last week’s loss to Texas-San Antonio. Four Panthers missed tackles on the run.

On a touchdown pass in the same game, a Georgia State defensive back was in position to break up the play, but missed the ball. The same thing happened twice in the season-opening loss to South Carolina State.

“We stress fundamentals each day in practice,” he said. “We …

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Why doesn’t GSU run Russell more? Here’s some of the answer with other notes

Some of you that have taken the time to email, comment or respond to tweets @ajcgsu have asked variations of the same question: Why doesn’t Georgia State run Donald Russell more? (your questions will be addressed in bold in the rest of the blog)

Russell is averaging 7.1 yards per carry this season, but is averaging 12 carries a game, which isn’t a lot for a running back.

Here’s part of the reason why, according to coach Bill Curry:

First, he and his staff recognize from self-scouting that Russell is being under-utilized. However, there are some reasons from the medical to the strategic.

First, Russell sustained a shoulder injury in the first half of Saturday’s loss against Texas-San Antonio. This isn’t something Curry shared on his radio show on Monday, but he decided to provide that information during his Tuesday press conference. That’s why Russell carried the ball just 10 times in that game, including seven in the first half.

Secondly, Georgia State doesn’t line up with a …

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Georgia State’s woes go back to something 18 months ago

One of the reasons for the demise of Georgia State’s football team this season – off to an 0-3 start and outscored by 89 points — can be traced back to March 10, 2011.

Some 18 months before this season started, coach Bill Curry announced that quarterback Drew Little, who started every game during the Panthers’ inaugural season, would be suspended for the first four games of the 2011 season for violating a team rule.

From that day to Saturday’s demoralizing 38-14 loss to Texas-San Antonio, Curry has used five different quarterbacks, including Little whose punishment was reduced, because of suspension, injuries or ineffectiveness. The team has lost 11 of those 14 games as it prepares to host Richmond on Saturday. The offense has struggled, which has affected the other units. A portion of the fan base has become discouraged. The Panthers have watched other start-up programs like UTSA’s or Old Dominion’s start to gain traction, while theirs seems stuck in place.

Of …

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Curry said there’s no excuse for Georgia State’s performance against UTSA

Coach Bill Curry said there was no excuse for what he described as a ragged performance by his Georgia State team in a 38-14 loss to Texas-San Antonio on Saturday at the Georgia Dome.

“We should be performing much better now and should be much more poised,” he said.

Though Curry said there are no excuses, he noted that the injury to quarterback Ben McLane, did affect the team.

McLane’s left forearm and hand went numb after he was hit by a helmet on what Curry said was a legal hit. He didn’t play in the second half. Ronnie Bell came on and passed for 95 yards, including a touchdown and two interceptions. McLane passed for one touchdown and one interception.

Curry said McLane’s numbness went away after the game and he looked fine catching and throwing the ball in Sunday’s practice. Offensive coordinator John Bond said on Saturday that if healthy, McLane would start this week’s game against Richmond.

Agnew move

Theo Agnew’s move to defensive tackle will likely last for the rest …

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Atlanta being considered by Sun Belt for tourney and conference home

Atlanta is one of several cities being considered as a site for the Sun Belt’s men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, as well as home for its conference offices.

In addition to Atlanta, Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson said they are considering New Orleans, currently the conference’s home, Orlando, Nashville, Memphis and Birmingham.

“It’s very, very preliminary,” he said. Georgia State is joining the Sun Belt for all sports except men’s soccer for the 2013-14 season.

Benson toured Gwinnett Arena, which he sid he liked, on Friday with members of Georgia State’s athletic department and the Atlanta Sports Council.

The basketball tournaments are contracted to play in Hot Springs, Ark. through the 2013-14 season. The city also has a 30-day window after the ’13 tournament to exclusively negotiate another contract with the Sun Belt. Benson said the city is also in the running.

“The priority is finding the right location for our basketball tournament,” Benson …

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Levick, Benson urge patience at Georgia State

Georgia State athletic director Cheryl Levick urged patience after the Panthers were hammered by Texas-San Antonio 38-14 on Saturday at the Georgia Dome.

The loss dropped the Panthers to 0-3 this season. They now face an extremely difficult stretch of games in their first and last season in the Colonial Athletic Association beginning with next week’s contest against Richmond at the Georgia Dome.

Levick said they will continue to look at everything that is being done on and off the field to make sure the team and coaches are receiving the support needed to be successful. When asked what that could be, considering the team has a new practice facility and plays in the Georgia Dome (something it touts for recruiting), Levick said “patience.”

“We know the potential these young men have and we see the potential every day in practice and we can’t seem to convert on the field yet,” she said after having an impromptu meeting with coach Bill Curry after his press conference. …

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Bond says McLane will start if healthy for GSU

Georgia State offensive coordinator John Bond said if Ben McLane is cleared by team doctors to play, he will start next Saturday’s game against Richmond at the Georgia Dome.

McLane didn’t play in the second half of Saturday’s 38-14 loss to Texas-San Antonio after he suffered an injured left arm just before halftime.

“At some point, we’ve got to let a guy play through some growing pains,” Bond said. “In order to get a guy, you’ve got to let a guy play.”

Making his third start, McLane completed six of his 14 attempts for 126 yard a touchdown. That included an 84-yard scoring strike to Albert Wilson on the Panthers’ first possession. It was the longest scoring play in school history.

However, he also fumbled twice. Though the fumbles were of a different nature than the six he had last week against Tennessee, he has fumbled the ball eight times in the last six quarters in which he has played.

His second fumble against the Roadrunners may have summed up Georgia …

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Georgia State destroyed by UTSA

Perhaps Georgia State took “Sunglasses at night” too literally and wore them during Saturday’s game against Texas-San Antonio.

How else to explain four turnovers, a porous defense the resurrection of special teams miscues and an altogether uninspired performance in front of an uninspiring crowd of 11,496 that watched the Panthers fall 38-14. The game, the first Saturday night affair at the Georgia Dome in school history, had the makings to be a fun matchup between two programs making the transition to FBS. Georgia State used the song “Sunglasses at Night,” made famous by Corey Hart in 1984, as a theme for the week. Promotions included a giveaway of said items and a video of coach Bill Curry rocking a pair of the blue sun-barriers and lip-synching the song.

It may be a good thing you couldn’t read Curry’s lips during Saturday’s game. Afterward, he sounded a familiar refrain.

“As I’ve said repeatedly we have a gutty bunch, but we aren’t doing what you have to do, …

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