Archive for October, 2012

GSU’s coordinators talk about last week and this week

I probably should have started doing this a long time ago, but here’s a view from Georgia State’s two coordinators, Anthony Midget and John Bond, on the good and bad from last week’s win over Rhode Island, and the challenges this week’s opponent Villanova presents.

First, a few notable players on defense – end Melvin King and tackle Joe Lockley — weren’t able to practice Tuesday. King has an injured knee and Lockley’s injury is undisclosed. The team is already without David Huey, who suffered a season-ending injury earlier.

That’s not good when the Panthers are preparing to face one of the best rushing teams in the Colonial Athletic Association. Villanova is averaging 258.6 rushing yards per game.

Midget:

“It’s going to be a challenge, but I just tell the guys that it’s next man up. We experienced this in the spring when we had a lot of guys out and we gave guys opportunities to play.

“We are going to move some guys around and look at a couple of guys …

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Q&A with “The Donald”

Georgia State running back Donald Russell was named the Colonial Athletic Association player of the week after rushing for 201 yards in the 41-7 victory over Rhode Island.

Russell, who transferred to Georgia State from Kentucky last year,  is now the top rusher in the conference, averaging 106.1 yards per game.

He sat down to talk about how he and the other ‘The Donald’ are alike, the keys to his recent success, and what’s next. If you want to follow him on twitter, his handle is @TheDonald_20

Q: How nice was it to be named the CAA player of the week?

A: It was an honor, definitely. A lot of people have been calling me. I really appreciate it. I talked to my offensive line today, they want me to bring them donuts. So now I have to go Friday morning and get them donuts.

Q: How many donuts does it take to make the offensive line happy?

A: That’s the problem. It might be four dozen. I try to say three dozen, but they said no.

Q: Do you like the nickname that the fans have …

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GSU picked eighth in CAA preseason men’s basketball poll

Georgia State was picked to finish eighth in the Colonial Athletic Association preseason men’s basketball poll released today.

The Panthers, 22-12 last year, return one starter, point guard Devonta White, and key reserves Rashaad Richardson and James Vincent. White, a junior, was named to the preseason All-CAA second team. He averaged 12.9 points and 2.9 assists per game last year. The Panthers will open at Duke on Nov. 9.

Drexel, which returns most of the team that went 29-7 last year, was predicted to finish first by the league’s coaches, media relations directors and media members. (The AJC doesn’t vote in these types of polls).

2012-13 CAA men’s basketball predicted order of finish

1. Drexel

2. Delaware

3. George Mason

4. Old Dominion

5. Northeastern

6. James Madison

7. Hofstra

8. Georgia State

9. William & Mary

10. Towson

11. UNCW

2012-13 CAA men’s basketball preseason all-conference teams

Player, Team Class …

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GSU’s Russell named CAA player of the week

Georgia State running back Donald Russell was named the Colonial Athletic Association’s offensive player of the week following his school-record 201 rushing yards in Saturday’s 41-7 victory over Rhode Island.

Russell scored touchdowns on runs of 45 and 6 yards and caught a 35-yard touchdown pass for a school-record 236 all-purpose yards.

Coach Bill Curry said one of the keys to Russell’s big day was the wide receivers did a better job blocking for him downfield. Curry said the Panthers also blocked a little big differently because of Rhode Island’s schemes.

“Donald’s been running the ball well all year,” Curry said.

Curry said Russell should have had another long run but wide receiver Albert Wilson missed a block.

Russell is the first player in the CAA this season to rush for more than 200 yards and first player in school history to score three touchdowns. He has 743 rushing yards this season and 1,408 in his GSU career.

He leads the conference with an average of 106.1 yards …

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Notes and observations following Georgia State’s win over Rhode Island

Notes, quotes and observations following Georgia State’s 41-7 victory over Rhode Island on Saturday. It was the Panthers’ first win this season.

For the first time this season, Georgia State didn’t commit the types of mistakes, notably turnovers, which have plagued it in the previous six games this season, and many of last year’s games.

Ben McLane didn’t throw an interception and the team didn’t fumble. It may not seem like a difference-maker but the Panthers had 24 turnovers before defeating the winless Rams. You have to go back to last year’s game against Texas-San Antonio in which the Panthers didn’t give away the ball.

Because they weren’t committing mistakes and didn’t have to try to rally, the team was able to use Donald Russell and he rushed for a team-record 201 yards.

Quarterback Ben McLane wasn’t perfect, but he completed more than 50 percent of his passes (14 of 25) for a career-high 213 yards with two touchdowns.

Numbers to ponder

1 sack for …

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Something has to give when Georgia State plays Rhode Island

Something has to give when Georgia State takes on Rhode Island on Saturday.

The winless Panthers and winless Rams are the two worst teams in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Both have trouble scoring. Both have trouble stopping the other team.

Both have talked up the other this week as if they will be facing Alabama.

“You think you have an idea of how they will look on video, but they don’t look like that,” Georgia State coach Bill Curry said. “They are a CAA team. They run to the ball, hustle, get off blocks, they give effort and are physically tough.”

Rhode Island coach Joe Trainer was just as effusive about the Panthers.

“They have a ton of talent and they’ve gotten better every single week also,” he said. “Thy have two good quarterbacks, talented tailbacks and good offensive and defensive lines. We’ll have to play well to beat them.”

The reality is both teams have struggled all year and have time-shares in Nos. 10 and 11 in most of the …

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South Africa and SEALs…or how GSU hoops spent the offseason

If you hear a Georgia State men’s basketball player say “Zero, Zero, One,” it’s not some bit of pop culture fluff or the name of one of coach Ron Hunter’s complicated defenses.

It’s something that could be the key to matching last year’s successful 22-win season as the team prepares to begin practice on Friday.

To build camaraderie and mental toughness on a team that features nine new players, Hunter had them do some unusual things this summer:

• He hired a former Navy SEAL to put his team through some exercises;

• He hired a sports psychologist;

• And he took them on a trip to South Africa;

On that trip, part of Hunter’s efforts with the charity Samaritan’s Feet, the team constantly heard children saying, “Zero, Zero, One.”

No one knew what they were talking about.

“Zero, Zero, One,” is part of a prayer that children say daily. If there’s not food for breakfast or lunch, can their please be something for dinner?

“All of our kids …

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Georgia State receiving more “good” inquires about guarantee games

Georgia State’s football games in 2013 at Alabama and West Virginia fulfill not only a revenue goal for the athletic department as it continues its transition to the FBS level, but they also fulfill a philosophical goal that athletic director Cheryl Levick has for the fans and the team.

Those games, along with trips to Oregon in 2015 and Air Force in 2016 were announced on Wednesday.

The Panthers will receive $550,000 to play in Morgantown, West Va. on Sept. 14 and $700,000 to play at Alabama on Oct. 5. The Tide guarantee is almost $300,000 more than the Panthers received as an FCS team to play the Tide in 2010.

Levick said the goal is to schedule two guarantee games each year. They hope to schedule one that’s within driving distance for fans and the other can be anywhere. In addition to the entertainment value, the combined total of $1.25 million for the next year’s games falls within the athletic department’s revenue needs for next year.

“It is part of the overall …

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Georgia State football will play at Alabama and West Virginia next year and Oregon in 2015

Elephants. Mountaineers. Ducks. Falcons.

Georgia State’s football team is jumping into its FBS era with both feet.

The Panthers, who will  be led by a new coach, will play at Alabama and West Virginia, two teams that could play for the national championship this year, in 2013. Those opponents, combined with joining the Sun Belt Conference next year, will be the toughest schedule the Panthers have played in their short history.

Georgia State will play in Morgantown, West Va. in its first game against a Big 12 team on Sept. 14 and at Alabama on Oct. 5. The Panthers will receive $550,000 for the game against the Mountaineers and $700,000 for the game against Tide. It will be the second time Georgia State has played at Alabama. They were beaten 63-7 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2010.

Those  aren’t the only challenging games the Panthers have scheduled. They will play at Oregon, which has become a perennial national power, in 2015. They will receive $900,000 for the game. In …

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Two ways Georgia State can become quickly competitive in Sun Belt

Georgia State football is struggling on the field and at the turnstiles as it continues its warp-drive ascent to college football’s highest level: the FBS, where bowl games are the goal. The team is 0-6 with some fans already wondering if it will be 0-12 next year when the school joins the Sun Belt Conference.

How can the team avoid a similar fate next year in front of similarly small crowds?

Georgia State’s program appears seems to be on solid ground in two key areas. The team practices in a state-of-the-art facility and plays in the Georgia Dome. Student fees support the expense of the football team. There are two ingredients remaining: the shoulders of 17- and 18-year-olds, as well as job vacancy No. 0602767 , the ID for “Head Coach – Football” listed on Georgia State’s jobs requisition website.

Coaching and recruiting are interconnected. Coaches evaluate the talent, recruit the talent and are responsible for developing it. Georgia State’s results …

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