Georgia State will change some of the starters on special teams, coach Bill Curry said Monday.
“People have come to us ‘let me do this job’ and then we’ve put them in responsible positions and the job still isn’t being done,” he said. “It’ll be clear what the changes are when we make them.”
The Panthers had a punt partially blocked in Saturday’s 44-21 loss to New Hampshire at the Georgia Dome. They allowed an average of 29.5 yards per return on four kickoffs. Opponents are averaging 27.4 yards per kick return this season.
“We’ll work on how you hustle to get into position and make a tackle or block [because] it’s costing us field position and costing us possessions,” Curry said.
Special teams were an area of emphasis in the offseason after the team struggled in most areas last year. To improve, in addition to work in practice, Curry either assigned or allowed starters on offense or defense to play on the various kicking units.
Opponents averaged 20.5 yards per kick return last year.
Curry said there may be more changes on other units as more players get healthy. The Panthers will play at Rhode Island on Saturday.
Georgia State will play another winless team on Saturday when it takes on Rhode Island.
Like the Panthers, the Rams have struggled on offense and defense this year. They are last in the Colonial Athletic Association in scoring (7.6 points per game), rushing (66 yards per game), passing offense (141.6) and total offense (207.6). The Panthers are next to last in most of those categories, scoring 11.8 points per game, and averaging 96.5 rushing yards and 289. 5 total yards.
The last time the Panthers played another winless team, William and Mary beat them 35-3 two games ago.
“Probably what the coaches are doing is pointing to what is going on our season and indicating that they have a chance to get well here,” Curry said of Rhode Island.
Curry said quarterback Ronnie Bell didn’t get a lot of help in Saturday’s loss to New Hampshire. Bell threw two interceptions, fumbled once and was sacked four times. He completed three of his attempts for 74 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown pass to Albert Wilson.
“The quarterback can’t do anything if there’s somebody draped around his neck or knocking his head off,” Curry said.
Curry said some of the mistakes were Bell’s because he didn’t recognize the blitz or missed the hot throw, and some were the fault of the offensive line.
Curry said Ben McLane, who came on after Bell’s second interception early in the third quarter, played better than he had previously. McLane started the first four games of the season. He completed 10 of his 19 attempts for 169 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
“They’ll be bracketed in practice and we’ll see who is ready to play on Saturday,” Curry said.
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu