Archive for October, 2012

Georgia State will honor Curry before and during the ODU game

Georgia State will honor Bill Curry, the architect of the football program who is retiring from coaching after the season, before and during Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. game against Old Dominion in a variety of ways:

  1. After the team’s 12 seniors are honored, Curry will receive a special presentation from University president Mark Becker and athletics director Cheryl Levick.
  2. Curry’s wife, Carolyn, will participate in the coin toss.
  3. Georgia State’s marching band will honor him by spelling out “Curry” in its pre-game formation.
  4. During the game, tributes from Curry’s former players, coaches and colleagues will be played on the Georgia Dome’s video board.
  5. The Georgia Lottery Corporation will give rally towels featuring Curry’s signature to the first 3,000 fans through the gates.

All if it will be a bit much for Curry, who earlier this week said, “I don’t know about honoring anybody.

“If I deserve to be honored that would be nice, but I don’t. I’m just here to work.”

Curry was introduced …

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Georgia State’s seniors talk about their final home game

Twelve Georgia State seniors will play their final game in the Georgia Dome on Saturday when the Panthers host Old Dominion.

Five of them have been with the program from the days of the first practice on Aug. 14, 2009.

Kam Cheatham

Cheatham has already earned a degree in business economics and is working on another in hospitality.

“I’ve played football for 18 years, the last home game is a big deal. I’m just blessed to be a part of this program and go through this process.

On it being coach Bill Curry’s final home game:

“For this to be coach Curry’s last home game will be something special.”

On if he’s seen a change in Curry this week:

“Business as usual, full-steam ahead not letting up at all.”

On his dream finish:

“To beat ODU, that’s probably one of our biggest rivals. We haven’t beaten them yet and we fill like we owe them.”

On his dream play to win the game:

“Maybe a reverse throwback, leading the running back and receiver into the end zone.”

Emmanuel Ogbuehi

Ogbuehi is …

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Pearson on playing offense and defense at Georgia State

It’s perhaps fitting that in Bill Curry’s final season of coaching football he has been forced to do something that hasn’t occurred much since his days as a center and linebacker at Georgia Tech: use a two-way player.

Because of injuries, Georgia State was forced to play Drew Pearson at tight end and defensive end in last week’s 28-21 loss at James Madison. There’s a chance, depending upon the injury status of defensive ends of C.J. Stephens and Melvin King, that Pearson will do the double against Old Dominion on Saturday in the Georgia Dome.

Using a two-way player is something that Curry said he’s never before been forced to do. Pearson caught one pass for 10 yards, but didn’t have a tackle. He was in on 64 plays, 18 on defense and 48 on offense.

“It’s nothing really difficult,” Pearson said. “I played offense and defense in high school so I had a pretty good idea what to do.”

Pearson, a redshirt sophomore, remembered the fundamentals of the defensive end position from his …

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A few thoughts about Georgia State’s exhibtion win in hoops

Georgia State ran away from Life 85-62 on Monday in the Panthers’ exhibition opener in men’s basketball.

Coach Ron Hunter said it was a bit unsettling in the locker room before the game as he looked at eight news faces that he’d never coached in a game before.

One of those faces, R.J. Hunter III, was paternally familiar. R.J., Hunter’s son, scored 30 points in an effortless fashion. He hit 11 of his 20 shots, including four of his nine 3-pointers. At one point he scored 11 consecutive points in the second half.

The moment of the game occurred  with four minutes remaining when Hunter missed a dunk. He got the rebound and hit the layup before walking over to the bench where coach/dad was waiting with either a smile or a well-hidden mask of aggravation. R.J., who had to go to the hospital on Friday with what Hunter thought was a broken foot that turned out not to be, blamed a cramp for his miss.

But it was a play made by R.J. later in the game that may portend a bright future for …

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Hurricane Sandy not affecting ODU’s preparation for Georgia State

Old Dominion coach Bobby Wilder said he doesn’t think Hurricane Sandy will affect his team’s preparation for Saturday’s game at Georgia State.

The Monarchs (7-1, 4-1) practiced earlier than usual on Sunday so that the players could return to their homes before the storm hit the Hampton Roads area.

Like Georgia State, ODU didn’t practice on Monday because that is its day off.

Wilder said the storm should pass through Hampton Roads in time for the team to practice as it normally would on Tuesday.

And, he joked conditions should be 72 degrees and perfect in the Georgia Dome.

Wilder was serious that his team isn’t taking this game lightly. The Monarchs are pushing for an at-large berth in the FCS playoffs while the Panthers aren’t. But Wilder said when the Panthers (1-8, 1-5) avoid giving away the ball they play well.

He also expects Georgia State will be very motivated to try to win for coach Bill Curry, who will be coaching his last home game before he retires after the …

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GSU comes close but falls to James Madison

Note: I didn’t cover Georgia State’s game at James Madison. This is a re-written version of Georgia State’s press release, supplemented with information gathered throughout the year.

Georgia State’s game against James Madison started in what is becoming a typical Panther fashion: a lost fumble … on the game’s first play.

Before Dave Cohen’s voice was warmed up, Georgia State trailed 7-0.

But then a funny thing happened.

Instead of one mistake turning into more and more — something that’s happened frequently this year — the Panthers fought and fought, scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, before finally falling to the No. 9 Dukes 28-21.

It was another loss, the eighth this season, but it was a performance to build on.

“That’s a really painful loss against an outstanding football team because we had chances in all three phases—offense, defense and special teams—to win the game,” coach Bill Curry said in a statement sent to the media. “We needed to do a better job …

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Georgia State ready to take on the physical Dukes

Georgia State’s football game at James Madison seems like it couldn’t come at a worse time for the Panthers.

Coach Bill Curry said the Dukes are the most physical team they have seen this year.

And the Panthers may have to expand their training room to accommodate all of their injured players, which includes running back Donald Russell and key members of the defensive line.

But Curry said they will play hard and not make excuses for two reasons: “We could excuse ourselves and the instant we do that you guarantee that you aren’t going to win.” And when a team doesn’t make excuses and keeps trying, “it’s a funny thing that happens, you win some games.”

Beating No. 9 James Madison, which was the No. 2 team in FCS before last week’s loss to Richmond, would be the biggest victory in program history. It would also be the most unlikely, based upon the health of the two teams.

James Madison is tops in the CAA in scoring defense (18.57 points allowed per game) and is led by …

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Details of Levick’s new contract at Georgia State

Georgia State athletic director Cheryl Levick will receive a base salary of $280,000 this year and it will increase in $10,000 increments until reaching $320,000 in 2017, the fifth and final year of the contract extension completed Tuesday. A copy of the contract was obtained by the AJC through an Open Records Request.

Her new base salary would make her one of the highest paid athletic directors in the Sun Belt, according a database of athletic director salaries compiled by USA Today in 2011.

By comparison, Levick’s original contract had a base salary of $220,000 in 2009. It didn’t include any annual increases.

The new contract includes numerous bonuses ranging from on-the-field achievements to off-the-court longevity. It also has a buy-out, should Levick choose to leave, equal to the equivalent of the base salary in the year in which the contract is terminated. For example, if Levick were to leave in year three she would owe to the university and/or Athletic Association …

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NCAA rules Washington can’t play for Georgia State hoops this year

The NCAA has turned down Georgia State’s appeal to allow Curtis Washington to play for the men’s basketball team this year.

Washington, a 6-9, 230-pound forward, transferred to Georgia State from Southern Cal during the offseason. He will have two years of eligibility remaining. The Panthers will host Life College in an exhibition at 7 p.m. Monday at the Sports Arena.

Coach Ron Hunter said they considered appealing the NCAA’s decision, but decided not to.

Washington’s absence should mean more playing time for T.J. Shipes, Laron Smith and Denny Burguillos, according to Hunter.

The situation is the same as Manny Atkins’, who transferred to Georgia State from Virginia Tech and had to sit out last year. He is eligible to play this year.

While Washington must now sit out (he can still practice), another big man is catching Hunter’s eye. He said Markus Crider, a 6-6 combo player, is coming on strong. Hunter said Crider is skilled enough to play anywhere from point to power …

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Watson hopes to end the season and his career with wins

Rosevelt Watson is ready to finish the final three games in his Georgia State career. Though his approach won’t change, he says all games are important, he hopes the results are different.

“I’m just going to go hard and try to get the victory,” he said. The Panthers (1-7) will play at James Madison (5-2) on Saturday.

That Watson is still playing is impressive.

He ripped the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the 2011 preseason. It was a gruesome injury. The PCL is supposed to keep the tibia and the femur in line.

After the injury, coach Bill Curry tried to encourage Watson to take the year off, go slow on the rehab, and come back this year. Watson wasn’t going to do that. He said he wanted to be with his team.

He finished the 6-8 week rehab and returned to play in two games, carrying one time for no gain. He has rushed for 235 yards in his GSU career.

“He didn’t have to do it,” Curry said. “He did it just so he could have a chance to play some this year, …

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