Archive for October, 2012

Evaluating all of Georgia State’s signees going back to 2009

As part of a story that will come out later this week on how Georgia State can turn around its fortunes, I compiled this list of all the high school players who signed with Georgia State (list doesn’t include transfers or walk-ons and includes all signees, regardless of scholarship allotment).

As you can see, of the 67 players, there are very few — less than a handful, actually — who are still with the team that can be considered impact: Albert Wilson, Grant King, Ulrick John and Terrance Woodard. There are several transfer players who are making an impact, but the story (and the chart) is focused on finding and developing high school talent.

Everyone has different definitions of impact players. I chose to ask myself if I could see this player starting on another team. If the answer was yes, I considered them to be an impact player. Some players, like  Mark Hogan, Danny Williams or Jordan Giles, I considered to be steady, productive starters but not consistent impact players, …

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Changes on special teams coming for Georgia State

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 …

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Notes, quotes and observations about Georgia State’s loss to New Hampshire

As some you may know (since there weren’t a lot of you at the Georgia Dome), the Panthers were beaten by New Hampshire 44-21 on Saturday at the Georgia Dome.

The crowd was a few fannies better than the program-worst one that showed up two weeks for Richmond.

The reason Georgia State lost?

Poise, according to coach Bill Curry. The team simply can’t stay focused during the entirety of the game.

Three plays that changed the game

1. Tied at 7 after New Hampshire missed a field goal, Bell was sacked and fumbled on the next play. New Hampshire recovered on the 21-yard line needed just two plays to score a touchdown to take a 14-7 lead with 12:22 left in the first half. Bell was hit as he was about to throw on the fumble.

2. On Georgia State’s next possession, the Wildcats tipped the punt after a man came in unblocked from the edge. A few plays later, Nico Steriti scored a 7-yard touchdown to give New Hampshire a 21-7 lead with 8:54 left.

3. On the first play of the second …

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New Hampshire rains on Georgia State’s game, cash drop

There was jockeying for position, speed and strategy in the Georgia Dome on Saturday — and that was just the work done by Georgia State’s students during the “$10,000 cash drop” at halftime of the Panthers’ game against New Hampshire.

During the game, there wasn’t enough of any of that to help Georgia State, which was beaten 44-21 by the Wildcats. The Panthers dropped to 0-6 in coach Bill Curry’s final season because they continued to make the same types of mistakes the 9,531 fans in attendance have frequently seen this year.

Quarterback Ronnie Bell, making the second start of his career, threw two interceptions, giving him six in the past two games and 10 in 57 attempts this year. He also lost a fumble and was sacked three times. The special teams had a punt tipped. The defense created two turnovers and had two sacks, but still gave up more than 600 yards. It was too many unexplainable errors, Curry said.

“That’s just simply a matter of poise and there’s no excuse and no …

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Woodard shining brightly for Georgia State

Terrance Woodard laughs after saying one of the reasons he leads Georgia State in tackles this year is because he no longer has to try to beat three guys.

This year, he just has to beat two.

“It’s made the fight easier,” he said.

Woodard is one of the team’s most-improved players, according to coach Bill Curry. Woodard leads the winless Panthers with 36 tackles, a remarkably high number for a nose tackle and one that may move him into consideration for all-conference honors later this season. He also is tied for the team lead in tackles for loss (two), passes broken up (two) and fumbles recovered (one). Woodard should have a chance to rack up a lot more tackles on Saturday when the Panthers host New Hampshire, which features a balanced offense that averages 483.6 yards per game.

He said playing in a four-man front has given more freedom to attack than he had in the three-man front the team used most of the previous two years.

“I’m trying to do what I can do to help my team …

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Some tidbits from Hunter about GSU hoops

Spent a few minutes talking with Georgia State men’s basketball coach Ron Hunter today for a story that will run next week previewing the start of practice.

Teams can begin practicing at 5 p.m. next Friday. The Panthers, who won 22 games last year, will open their season at Duke on Nov. 9.

Anyway, here are a few things he talked about:

1. He wanted the team, which has nine new players, to get to know each other and develop some mental toughness so he hired a former Navy SEAL to put them through a few training sessions. He called it intense. (I’ll have more on that later).

2. As many of you already know, the team also went to South Africa as part of a Samaritan’s Feet trip. There, they learned a memorable lesson about how good they have it. (I’ll have more on that later).

3. Hunter doesn’t seem to be worried about scoring this year. (More on that later)

4. Some of you have wondered who might be the big man to replace Eric Buckner. The Panthers may have found one, but it may not …

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GSU QB Bell learned lessons in loss to W&M

Ronnie Bell said last week’s four-interception game against William and Mary wasn’t his best performance, and that he expects better this week against New Hampshire.

Bell showed poise and a great arm in the first start of his collegiate career, according to coach Bill Curry. But that great arm also got Bell into trouble because he would try to fit balls into windows that were closed. Bell, a former standout at Sandy Creek, completed 13 of his 26 attempts for 157 yards.

Curry said two of the interceptions were Bell’s fault because of poor decision-making.

Bell learned a lesson from that game: “I need to look for the small plays and let the big plays happen,” he said.

He has worked on “the small plays” during practice this week.

Curry said Bell has a “marvelous presence…ability to move in the pocket and to correct.”

But Curry said he needs to learn that “this isn’t Sandy Creek High School. He can’t outrun people out here.” When a defender is chasing him down, Bell needs to learn …

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Levick gives details of Georgia State’s coaching search

Athletic director Cheryl Levick said she hopes to hire Georgia State’s next football coach as early as mid-November. If that can’t happen because of the next coach’s commitments, she wants to make the hire no later than Jan. 1.

Levick is looking for someone to succeed Bill Curry, who announced in August that he’s going to retire from coaching after the season. The Panthers will finish the season at Maine on Nov. 10.

“For recruiting, the sooner we can hire the better,” she said. Levick said she doubts the next coach will be named before this season is over.

She estimates 50 candidates have contacted her or one of the assistant athletic directors about the job since Curry announced his decision to retire after spending the previous four years building the program.

The hire takes on added importance because Georgia State is leaving the Colonial Athletic Association, which plays football on the FCS level, for the Sun Belt, which plays football on the FBS level, next season. The …

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Pugh on Georgia State’s wide receivers

Georgia State’s wide receivers are a beat up group.

The trio that started the season-opener — Albert Wilson, Danny Williams and Jordan Giles — have each missed snaps or games because of injuries.

Wilson and Williams are healthy (or as healthy as can be in the middle of a football season), while Giles will miss at least one more game with his shoulder injury. Wilson leads the group with 24 catches for 386 yards. Williams has nine catches, a stat that has been affected by his absence because of his ankle injury.

Coach George Pugh offered this assessment of his groups play:

“They are playing good but not good enough to win. Anytime you don’t come home with a victory the performance isn’t good enough. I’ve got to do a better job of coaching and they’ve got to do a better job of playing.

“If we can get that combination going, then we can come out like we expect to come out. Right now we aren’t doing the little things that a good football team or good receiving corps has to do to …

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What did Curry say on Tuesday?

Here’s a recap of Georgia State coach Bill Curry’s press conference on Tuesday, ahead of this week’s home game against New Hampshire.

Curry said nobody enjoys going through difficult times, especially when so much of what they are doing is self-inflicted.

“You have two choices: give up or find solutions.”

Curry said it’s their job to correct, to encourage, and not to accept less than our best performance. The Panthers had seven turnovers in last week’s 35-3 loss at William and Mary.

“If and when we correct the turnover issue and the nagging penalties and the pre-disposition to self-destruct at the worst times….”

Pressing

Curry said even the team’s best players are pressing as the try to pick up the first victory. He cited Albert Wilson trying to pick up the punt around 10-yard line just before the end of the first half against the Tribe. He fumbled and William and Mary converted the error into a touchdown.

“That’s all stuff we’ve got to develop a kind of poise that we have to …

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