Three thoughts on the new coaching staff at Georgia State

Hopefully you read the first of an occasional series of interviews I’m doing with the new football coaching staff at Georgia State, led by Trent Miles.

I met with three coaches on Wednesday, Jesse Minter, Harold Etheridge and J.D. Williams, and hope to meet with more in the next two weeks. (I also apologize it has taken so long. I had planned to do this in December, but on the day the interviews were scheduled we had a family emergency).

I posted the Minter interview yesterday (the link is above). Etheridge will post on Monday and Williams will post on Tuesday.

1. It’s all about recruiting right now. As you have read and will see, the staff is focused on improving the team’s talent and depth. That’s not a knock on the current roster. It’s more of an obvious understanding that the team, which won one game last year with an FCS schedule and was blown out in many of its games, is headed to the FBS, which won’t be any easier. To compete they will need a better caliber of player.

So far, they seem to be doing well with Signing Day three weeks away. They secured the commitments of a pair of junior college players, quarterback Clay Chastain and defensive lineman George Rogers, which were needed to add depth in two of the biggest problem areas last year.

From the high school ranks, the new staff has commitments at a variety of positions: running back Kyler Neal, defensive lineman Kingsley Ejike, safety Jeremy Fulcher (a rivals two-star prospect), defensive back Trenton Hill, linebacker Kight Dallas (three stars) and offensive lineman Brandon Pertile (two stars). The previous staff, led by Bill Curry, also secured commitments from notables such as quarterback Oshay Carter (two stars) and a pair of two-star wide receivers in Devonte Washington and Calvain Holmes.

So it would seem, if the commitments hold, there will be needed infusions of talent (as Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson says every Signing Day: all of these players come highly recommended by the current staff), which will help the depth.

The staff seem impressed by the fertile recruiting ground in Atlanta, which one assistant compared to Dallas and Los Angeles for the richness and the depth of players.

Miles made a point of saying in his introductory press conference that they want to build a fence around Georgia. It’s something most new coaches say about whatever area they are in. It’ll be interesting to see how successful Miles and his staff will be.

The staff can’t afford too many misses with this class, something that has been a problem with previous classes at Georgia State, which partly explains last year’s record.

2. They seem confident. A few of the coaches that are on staff worked with Trent Miles at Indiana State. The story of what Miles inherited and what he turned his alma mater into has been told many times, but to sum up: Indiana State may have been the worst program (FBS or FCS) in the country. Facilities were awful. Some attitudes were just as bad.

Miles had them winning within three years and he didn’t cut corners. I don’t think he faces the same level of challenge at Georgia State, which has impressive facilities, but does need to adopt a new winning culture.

Minter said the turnaround on defense will start up front and they will inherit a few potential cornerstone players which will help. Nermin Delic, a transfer from Kentucky who sat out last per NCAA transfer rules, impressed on the practice team last year. Pairing him with Theo Agnew inside (who thrived at tackle after starting the season at end) could shore up a run defense that was porous last year. Throw in tackles Rogers, David Huey, Terance Woodard and Joe Lockley and the team may be able to rotate lots of players on the line throughout the game, something they couldn’t do last year.

I wouldn’t be surprised if one of those guys moves to the offensive line, specifically guard, to improve the depth there.

Joe Peterson had a solid year at linebacker, forming a nice tandem with Robert Ferguson.

New coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski will have some interesting challenges on offense.

Neither Ben McLane nor Ronnie Bell at quarterback showed consistency last year. Of course, they were also both redshirt freshmen. Because the team fell behind so quickly in so many games McLane or Bell were usually forced into difficult situations. Instead of completing 65 percent of their passes, which was the goal set in the preseason, they completed slightly better than 50 percent. The competition, which will include Chastain, should be wide open. But Jagodzinski has a pedigree of success that could help one of the quarterbacks step forward and take the job.

Running back Donald Russell is gone, but Travis Evans played well toward the end of the year. The team returns a lot of depth on the line in tackles Grant King and Ulrick John, and center/guard Michael Davis, and at wide receiver with Albert Wilson, Danny Williams and Kelton Hill (assuming he stays at wide receiver and doesn’t move back to quarterback).

3. They want strength and speed. The team must improve its strength and speed, either through workouts with Ben Pollard, or by recruiting.

It seemed odd last year that a true freshman, Lockley, was already the strongest player on a team that had numerous upperclassmen who had been in the program (but not will Pollard) for several years.

For whatever reason, both lines had trouble at the point of attack last year. If Miles wants to run the ball and to stop the run, the team can’t get outmuscled, especially considering the quality of the opponents will be much improved.

– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu

35 comments Add your comment

Anderson

January 11th, 2013
8:09 am

I’m encouraged by the new coaching staff and the commitments.

I just want to see progress on the field. Something that shows me things are going in the right direction.

J. Mack Robinson

January 11th, 2013
9:41 am

Next season can’t get here fast enough. GSU will make a splash in the Sun Belt this year, and the Centennial Year will be even more exciting for the university.

Chicken Bone

January 11th, 2013
10:13 am

I believe these coaches get it! It’s going to be an interesting signing day a few weeks from now. Keep up the good work CTM and staff!

Sam

January 11th, 2013
10:20 am

It may take awhile, considering last year’s record, but it looks like the new staff is on the right track. I think we’re going to see steady improvement over the next few years.

Red Panther

January 11th, 2013
10:30 am

Panthers are on a roll

GSU_MEX_ALUM

January 11th, 2013
10:39 am

We will get there… In CTM and company I trust.

I dropped my fried twinkie

January 11th, 2013
10:46 am

5150 UOAD

January 11th, 2013
10:47 am

Sounds like GaState is trying to go big time.

@GStateBen

January 11th, 2013
11:07 am

Me thinks #SCState is not ready for the #StateOfShock that is coming in the @georgiadome this Thursday. #HighVoltage #GSUFootball

Mike S

January 11th, 2013
11:08 am

J. Mack Robinson…..Don’t you mean make a “splat” in the Sun Belt? Kinda like jumping off a ten story building without a parachute or a net.
The coaching staff is going to be a tremendous improvement, but you cannot expect instant gratification. This will take some time. Patience and humility will be great virtues for the next couple of years.

yeahsure

January 11th, 2013
11:12 am

Before the season last year, they raved about how much stronger the kids got in the offseason. Then they get manhandled all season. Hope the coaches take a good hard look at the strength and conditioning program. Make sure all that nice shiny equipment isnt going to waste.

Paddy

January 11th, 2013
11:24 am

Coach M…..you can save alot of money on that fence that borders Tenn. The Vandy coach already built it, he says. That was about 14 mons ago. Wonder why nobody has seen it? It faces the other direction, but that still works, right? Basic fence physics!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paddy

January 11th, 2013
11:28 am

yeahsure…….there are 2 kinds of strong; hotel lobby strong and country strong. You look good if you are lobby strong, you play better if you are country strong.

Blue land

January 11th, 2013
11:30 am

Love the direction State is heading in, keep it rolling.

Let’s go Blue!

ToccoaDawg

January 11th, 2013
12:34 pm

GSU should be able to our recruit GT simply because GSU plays at the dome.

Tom

January 11th, 2013
12:55 pm

Why is Georgia State playing football at all? And why did they move to a higher league when they were not even competitive in a lower division? Sounds like two stupid ideas to me.

J. Mack Robinson

January 11th, 2013
1:41 pm

Mike S: I said make a splash, not sweep the damn conference. Stop overreacting to our excitement.

Tom sounds like a guy that likes guys to me.

January 11th, 2013
1:43 pm

Big, strong guys.

5150 UOAD

January 11th, 2013
2:06 pm

ToccoaDawg
January 11th, 2013
12:34 pm

GSU should be able to our recruit GT simply because GSU plays at the dome
===========================
WHAT?

GaState can’t fill the Ga Sou Stadium what does the DOME have to do with anything?

Kennesaw State has a chance to do better than State……….Low Crime….White fan base…..Cobb County Money…NOT IN THE GHETTO of the ATL……GaState ONLY offers that it GRADUATES African American students better than any other college in the state(low entrance requirements)
.

glsjunior

January 11th, 2013
2:12 pm

Well 5150 since 60% of College football players are African American, it should be a positive that GSU graduates the most AA students.

Paddy

January 11th, 2013
2:18 pm

Taccoa Dawg…….GSU playing in the Dome really has the opposite effect. 4,000 or 5,000 in the Dome is not going to be an asset, just the other way around!

"White fan base?"

January 11th, 2013
2:36 pm

HEADLINES

January 11th, 2013
2:37 pm

Downtown Atlanta is “the Ghetto,” at least according to a moron on a blog. News at 11!

Mike S

January 11th, 2013
2:47 pm

J. Mack Robinson…..What what exactly did you mean by making a splash?

J. Mack Robinson

January 11th, 2013
3:30 pm

I meant show a ton of improvement while playing much better competition. People act like we GSU fans expect to raise a crystal trophy when we say anything positive about our team. Funny stuff!

SR

January 11th, 2013
3:43 pm

5150 UOAD

January 11th, 2013
2:06 pm
__________________________________________________________________________________

You absolutely know first hand about low entrance requirements, since that’s how you came about being born.

5150 UOAD

January 11th, 2013
4:30 pm

SR…………….GaState doesn’t have the HIGH STANDARDS of other colleges and all you have ot do is look at the minimums to see that as a TRUE statement.

HEADLINES……..yes the ATL is the Ghetto or maybe you need to read the Posts by UGa fan about TECH being in the GHETTO. UGa fans love to cal the ATL the Ghetto are are you not informed on Blogger terms?

Bwak

January 11th, 2013
6:04 pm

If you’re scurred say youre scurred. #ScaredofaPantherPlanet

Hairy Dawg

January 11th, 2013
7:49 pm

Jeff Jagodzinski was a hell of a get for Trent Miles. Georgia State is in much better hands now, but Bill Curry deserves credit for getting the ball rolling.

Steve Nash's Pick and Roll

January 11th, 2013
8:17 pm

5150 – a very brave bigot behind her keyboard.

Just saying

January 12th, 2013
8:12 am

Bill Curry is getting credit….every month when his State Pension Check arrives….

[...] out Doug Roberson’s interview with DC Jesse Minter and some of his thoughts on what the new coaching staff needs to do to be successful. CTM and staff have hit the ground running and are making noise on the recruiting [...]

Paddy

January 12th, 2013
9:59 am

Tom @12:55…….I think GSU made a great decison to start a football program. With the right coach ( see Bobby Wilder ODU) this team can be entertaining and good for the Univ.
As for moving up so fast to Div 1, not so much. Their marketing of the team was sophomoric and disjointed. If the new coach is the right hire, they will be competive in a couple years. Playing in the Dome is a disaster but what choice did they have? That will have to change. In short, moving up this quick is a gamble.

5150 UOAD

January 12th, 2013
12:38 pm

Steve Nash’s Pick and Roll
January 11th, 2013
8:17 pm

5150 – a very brave bigot behind her keyboard.
============================================

Wrong. I LOVE the diversity at GaState. GaState is closer to what most colleges should be. UGa is the Drunk Fake Blonde White Girls College and Plantation. GaState graduates more African Americans that any college in the state that is not a HBCU.

Out by the Pond

January 12th, 2013
11:12 pm

Yes it’s sad that State has low admission standards, it’s sadder still that State has ever lower graduation standards.