Georgia State pulls away from Southern Poly

Continuing the trend of slow starts and strong finishes, Georgia State use its depth and defense to shake free of Southern Poly for a 86-58 victory on Saturday at the Sports Arena.

Whether mentally tired from a week’s worth of finals, or perhaps overlooking their NAIA-level opponent, the Panthers (5-4) had a two-point lead at the half and didn’t seem to become fully engaged in the game until the second half in which they held the Hornets to 23 points.

“The second half if the kind of energy and defense we should be playing,” coach Ron Hunter said. “We won’t make excuses for why we didn’t want to play in the first half defensively. We acted like we were still taking finals, which we are.”

R.J. Hunter and Devonta White led the Panthers on offense. Hunter scored 21 points, including eight in the decisive run. White added 16 points and four assists, including a no-look pass to James Vincent that led to a dunk that got the team and crowd fired up with 15:26 left in the second half. …

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Part I of Q&A with Trent Miles

Trent Miles introduced a few members of his new staff at Georgia State on Thursday.

Here’s the rest of what we talked about (some questions have been rearranged to be grouped by subject matter).

Q: What defensive system will you run?

A: It’s a 3-4, but it’s a 4-3. We will play with a rush end. He can drop or he can rush. He’ll be a big linebacker. It’s a very multiple-type defense. Personnel wise, it’s four linebackers, three down linemen.

If they are going to big, we will be more (of a) four-down line look. If they are going try to spread, we can be more (of a) three-down look.

Q: Will the multiple personnel packages that you talked about using on offense also apply to what you will do on defense?

A: Yes. We’ll match you on defense. If you are going five wideouts, we will go with five or six DBs.

All that’s predicated on what you have. We aren’t going to take one of our better players on the field off if there’s a big difference between the two just to match up. We are going …

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Miles talks about his first four hires at Georgia State

Trent Miles’ office is still empty three days after he was introduced as Georgia State’s new football coach.

But his calendar has been full.

Miles has spent most of the past 72 hours recruiting: from hiring four of his nine assistants, to talking to current players and selling Georgia State to high school coaches and future players. Miles planned to make his first home visit on Thursday and was practically bouncing in his chair with excitement as he discussed hitting the road to promote Georgia State.

Four of Miles’ staff members, all of whom worked with him at Indiana State, were officially introduced on Thursday: defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, offensive line coach Harold Etheridge, defensive line coach Shannon Jackson and linebackers coach P.J. Volker.

Miles said he hopes to complete the rest of the staff within the next week but declined to say who would join, citing the human resources process. He also declined to comment on reports that Jeff Jagodzinski will be the …

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Becker, Levick react to Sun Belt changes

Georgia State’s leaders say they have some concerns about the Sun Belt, which recently lost two schools to a rival conference, but seem confident that the conference will emerge at least as good as it was when they joined just a few months ago.

“We are concerned anytime teams leave the conference and we have significant change,” Georgia State president Mark Becker said. “We will be working with the commissioner (Karl Benson) to ensure the Sun Belt is well-positioned as a competitive conference.”

Benson said he plans on replacing Middle Tennessee State and Florida Atlantic, which recently resigned from the Sun Belt and will join Conference USA in 2014. But Benson declined to offer any specifics because he said he has yet to begin the process. He said it may start as early as Friday.

“I have faith in commissioner Benson,” Georgia State athletic director Cheryl Levick said. “We will figure out the right plan. I still feel that we are in the right conference. I still feel that we …

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Miles’ staff at Georgia State coming together quickly

New Georgia State football coach Trent Miles has wasted little time putting together a part of his nine-man staff during this crucial high school recruiting period.

Miles, who was introduced as Georgia State’s coach on Monday, will bring at least four assistants with him from Indiana State: Shannon Jackson, Harold Etheridge, PJ Volker and Jesse Minter.

Minter, who was Miles’ defensive coordinator with the Sycamores in 2011 and ‘12, will lead Georgia State’s defense. Indiana State  had one of the best defenses in FCS this year, allowing less than 300 yards per game. Minter worked four years at Indiana State, the first two as an assistant, after spending two years as a graduate assistant at Cincinnati. Miles said on Monday that the defense will attack.

Georgia State’s defense allowed 35.6 points and 446.8 yards per game during last year’s 1-10 campaign.

Etheridge was Indiana State’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. He will coach the Panthers’ offensive line. The …

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Details of the contract between Trent Miles and Georgia State

Trent Miles will receive an annual base salary of $450,000 to coach Georgia State’s football team, according a to a copy of his contract obtained by the AJC through an Open Records Request.

The contract extends through Dec. 31, 2017, but a good faith review will be done on or before Dec. 31, 2014 that grants Georgia State the right to extend the deal by two years.

Base salaries for coaches in the Sun Belt range from $250,000 (Louisiana-Monroe) to $856,210 (Arkansas State), according to USA Today’s database.

There is the boilerplate in Miles’ contract that calls for bonuses on on-field and off-field achievements, some of which shouldn’t be difficult to achieve. But there are also provisions that partially reflect the strained economic conditions the university is navigating.

• Miles won’t receive an annual raise unless state employees receive raises;

• Miles will not be compensated during periods in which university employees are furloughed. This is standard language that has …

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Trent Miles has a plan for Georgia State

New Georgia State football coach Trent Miles has a plan.

If you don’t believe him, you can look at the spiral-bound booklet that he wrote and brought with him, CEO style, to his interviews.

The end result of that plan is to turn Georgia State into a national power.

“Eventually we want to win a BCS game or in the new format get into a playoff,” he said, perhaps jolting to attention anyone who watched Georgia State go 1-10 last year.

Miles was introduced as Georgia State’s second football coach on Monday at the Sports Arena. He was hired last week, agreeing to a five-year contract that will pay him $450,000 per year.

With a marching band playing, his wife and four children sitting in the front row and a hundred or so fans in attendance, Miles spoke with the enthusiasm of someone who is unburdened by the past. The Panthers suffered their second consecutive losing season last year, dropping their three-year record to 10-23. Attendance declined to less than 12,500 a game, making …

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Three questions with Trent Miles

Three questions with new Georgia State football coach Trent Miles:

Q: You have stressed the goal for the players to win on the field and off. Who taught you how to do that?

A: Well, my dad. But I was with Tyrone Willingham for eight years. The man is an unbelievable person as far as just…we are in this to help young men. We are in this to make a difference in lives. He taught me that, as well as Marvin Lewis. I was with Marvin Lewis at the University of New Mexico. He’s one of my dear friends. He keeps me going in this profession. He sent his son to play for me.

I’m a sponge. I learn from everybody. Pat Hill is an excellent football coach. I take from what Pat did at Fresno State. It’s a little bit intrinsic. You learn from everybody you’ve been around. You take a little bit here and now and go.

Q: How much did you know about Georgia State football before this process started?

A: I knew that coach Curry started it. I’m a football freak so I know a little bit about everybody, …

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Answering your questions about new Georgia State coach Trent Miles

Trent Miles was introduced as Georgia State’s new football coach on Monday at the Sports Arena.

Here are a few of the questions you wanted asked:

1. What offensive and defensive systems will he run?

He said he will run a multiple offense featuring different personnel groups. He said he will tailor the system to the players he has. He did that at Indiana State, winning with a passing offense three years before transitioning to a running offense the previous two years.

On defense, he said they will blitz a lot. He didn’t say which defense they will run. The Panthers tried to a run 4-2-5 last year, but it had limited success. Georgia State allowed 35.6 points and 446.8 yards per game last year.

Miles’ defense at Indiana State was one of the best in FCS, allowing less than 300 yards per game.

2. Who will be on staff?

Miles wouldn’t commit to naming any staff members, citing the human resource process. Other conversations have revealed that he is leaning toward keeping at least one …

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GSU will introduce Trent Miles today

Trent Miles will be introduced as Georgia State’s new football coach at 11:30 a.m. today at the Sports Arena.

The public are welcome to attend the free event.

I tweeted from @ajcgsu last night, asking what questions you would like asked of Miles, who is coming to Georgia State from Indiana State, where he engineered one of the more impressive turnarounds in college football.

Miles, who played at Indiana State, took over a program that was underfunded and stuck in a losing rut of 1-32 and turned it into a winning program within three years.

Georgia State has gone 10-23 in its first three years. It will move up a level to the FBS this year, where it will play in the Sun Belt.

– Doug Roberson, AJC

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