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Doug Roberson of the AJC is reporting that GSU has yet to hear from the NCAA on the status of three players that transferred from FBS programs this offseason. Defensive Linemen Nermin Delic (Kentucky)and Theo Agnew (UMASS) as well as Quarterback Ronnie Bell have not yet been cleared by the NCAA to play for the Panthers this season.
The speculation is that since Georgia State has already announced their intentions to join the Sun Belt Conference and are in year one of their transition to FBS, that they may no longer be able to accept FBS transfers without them having the typical one season waiting period. If that is the case then it would be a major blow for the Panther's as Ronnie Bell is a darkhorse candidate to be the starting Quarterback and Agnew and Delic are already projected to start along the defensive line.
Delic and Agnew have been dominant during the first week of practice and could be impact players for GSU this season if allowed to play.
Jared Kalmus of The Coker Chronicles spoke with SB Nation earlier today and shed some light on similar issues that UT-San Antonio have had. Here is what he told us.
"Since we did not officially join the WAC until July, we assumed FBS transfers would be able to play immediately up until the date that UTSA actually joined the conference. Unfortunately, we received a transfer from Baylor in June but he is being forced to sit out a year. I assume that once you accept an invitation from an FBS conference then you immediately become an FBS school as far as transfers rules are concerned."
UTSA's situation is mildly different as they are in year two of their transition to FBS.
UPDATE 2:43 PM
We also got the chance to speak with Brian Wright of Thunder Jags and he had some further insight. Here is what he told us regarding the transfer of former Alabama safety B.J. Scott to South Alabama and the rules regarding transfers to FBS transitional schools:
"B.J. transferred and enrolled into classes for the spring of 2011. Any FBS transfer could come in and be able to play immediately as long as they transfer and enroll before the school's paperwork for their transition from FCS to FBS is filed with the NCAA.
I remember that was what was being said by officials with more knowledge of the rules than I had."
Under that scenario presented by Wright, it would appear that Delic and Bell would be eligible since they had already begun classes at GSU when the paperwork was filed, but Agnew would not since he has yet to begin classes.
SB Nation will continue to follow and update this story as it progresses.
Georgia State's football team put on shoulder pads for the the first time in four months today and with the pads came a increased level of physicality. Coach Curry encouraged the increase in intensity, but stressed that his players needed to control it. Here are some observations from day three of fall camp.
- I focused more on the Offensive and Defensive lines rather than the skill positions today. Some guys that stood out to me during one on one drills were Defensive Tackle David Huey, Left Guard Tim Wynn, and Center Mark Ruskell.
- Huey had a great day of practice today. He performed very well in one on one drills and was consistently in the backfield during team drills, recording a couple sacks.
- Wynn is one of the lineman that have been singled out as being very athletic for his size and that was on full display today. When he pulls out and gets to the second level he blocks really well in space and gives the Running Backs opportunities to break a long play.
- Ruskell appears to have all the tools to be a successful player. He held his own against some much bigger and stronger defensive lineman and has been very crisp with his snaps.
- The Defensive Line definitely won during the team drills today. Delic, Huey, Kelly, and Agnew all were able to get consistent pressure and disrupt plays in the back field.
- Quarterback Ben McLane had some rocket throws today. On the first play of team blitz drills he hit Danny Williams over the middle with a rope, but immediately after making the catch Williams got blown up by a safety (didn't catch who it was). While the team did have shoulder pads on, they didn't have much other protection, so fellow Wide Receiver Jordan Giles took exception to the hit and a small scuffle broke out.
- Quarterback Kelton Hil also had a few big plays, but most came with his feet. He definitely still needs to improve on his accuracy.
- New transfer QB Ronnie Bell had a couple of nice throws, but it is clear he doesn't quite look comfortable out there yet. Not a surprise since it was only his third organized practice. He also needs to improve on his accuracy as he continues to get a better grasp on the offense.
- - The reps for the quarterbacks remained 5 for McLane, 3 for Hill, and 2 for Bell.
- The offense showed a little more today. Without getting into much detail, it seemed as though there will be a increased emphasis on getting the ball to the skill position players more quickly. Junior wide receivers Darren McCray and Albert Wilson had some good plays out of the backfield as well as true freshman Avery Sweeting.
- It was a rough day for special teams. Punter Matt Hubbard was not on his game and punted several balls out of bounds.
- The punt returners today were Albert Wilson, Demarius Matthews, Avery Sweeting, and Parris Lee.
- Practice ended with Coach Curry calling for a drill that gave the offense the ball at their own one yard line and gave them the goal of getting a first down in three plays. The defense's task was obviously to keep them from doing so and therefore forcing punt deep in the opponents territory. On the very first play of the drill, Ben McLane threw a majestic ball that went 45 yards in the air and came down to a streaking Albert Wilson in perfect stride. Wilson took it the remaining 54 yards on his own for a 99 yard touchdown pass. Demarius Matthews was beat on the play and made a valiant attempt to bat the ball away, but the ball was just thrown too well.
- Spoke with Coach Curry after practice and he said he thought the effort and intensity level was good, but that it could be better. He singled out special teams as a unit that needed to show significant improvement.
- Also got to speak with strength coach Ben Pollard. He had some great stuff to share, so here are his full quotes:
On the results he is seeing on the field from the offseason workouts:
"We are definitely stronger. I thought when we started this winter that this team needed to gain a little weight. Which when you look at where we were in April to where we are now we have managed to do that. I wanted half a ton, which would have been 10 pounds per man, but we didn't quite get there. But the overall strength level is much better."
On some of the more intangible results from the offseason:
"I am happier about participation levels. So much of college football is chemistry and so much of that is created during the summer. So that is the part I am probably the happiest about and an area of where we are getting where we need to be."
On the athleticism of the offensive line:
"I really am pleased with that part. Particularly the offensive line. I don't want to be critical of last year's starters, but they just had a different style. That group runs very well as a group and they have really bonded as a group as well."
On leadership on the team:
"I definitely have seen some leaders step up on this team. Jordan Giles is a leader. Dan Williams has taken a lot on. Kail Singleton, Jamal Ransby, Nate Anthony, Demarius Matthews, those guys are all leaders and you can trust them. And there is more of those guys than there has been before. Our first meeting this week I asked all the guys that were here for every workout over the summer to stand, and there was absolutely no comparison to the number from last year. It's good that we are getting to the point when it's an exception for a player to not be at a workout. But it has to continue to get better, and the accountability has to come from them. We are real close."
On who is someone that has put in a lot of work in the weight room but hasn't really put it together on the field yet:
"Well, we are so young in certain areas, but Davis Knowles is a guy who put on 20 pounds just from the Spring. Kail Singleton put on 20 pounds and looks like he is playing faster. David Huey put on over 20 pounds. John Kelly put on 20 pounds since the end of April. And those are all young guys that are still developing and progressing. And it makes them feel good too because it makes them feel like we are starting to achieve things as a team."
Last spring Coach Pollard told me that in his experience he generally knows how the team is going to perform in the fall by the end of the summer. So I asked him if he would share his thoughts on that and if he had any inclinations:
"I definitely think we have a better environment and a lot more comraderie. We have a much different feel to the team now. Remember we had a lot of seniors on the team last year that had transferred from others schools, and i'm not knocking them, but you didn't have the consistency now of guys stepping up to be leaders. You have 28 guys on this team now that have been here four years. That is what's going to be the strength of this team. It takes time to build that, but again, we're close."
I arrived about halfway through practice, so I only caught a small portion. But here are some observations from practice and what the coaches had to say about it afterwards.
- It was quite the switch from spring ball to see six players out there in green jerseys at the Quarterback position. Throughout all of spring camp there were only three guys taking snaps. Now the Panthers have six guys available, though only three (Ronnie Bell, Kelton Hill, and Ben McLane) took reps on Tuesday during group drills.
- All of the QB's were very high at first. Danny Williams and Jordan Giles had some great catches on routes across the middle, but they had to go up to get them and likely would have been destroyed in a game situation.
- McLane was definitely the most accurate of the three.
- The defensive line looked very good. Nermin Delic and Theo Agnew are massive bodies ( Coach Midget said after practice that Delic is 290 and Agnew is at 280). Those two switched back and forth with each other at tackle and end, but both were consistently in the backfield. The issue with Delic in the past has been staying healthy. He was constantly stretching and staying limber when he wasn't in the game. If he is careful about that and is able to stay on the field, this could end up being one of the stronger units on the team. Playing on the other side was redshirt freshman David Huey and redshirt sophomore John Kelly.
- Staying with the defensive line, Joe Lockley is a massive man. He isn't particularly tall (listed at 6'1), but i have no trouble believing he is every bit of the 290 pounds he is listed at. He is so strong and is particularly athletic for his size. He will be an impact player as a Freshman.
- Melvin King, a true freshman defensive end, was the backup weakside end. He is very skinny for a defensive end, but you can tell how strong he is. He held his own for a few reps against starting right tackle Grant King, who outweighs im by about 70 pounds. He was quick enough to get to the outside of Grant on runs and was able to get some push at times when rushing the passer. If he is able to add about 20-25 pounds of muscle, he could be a dominant force.
- In a quick roster update, it looked like McClain Head was working primarily with the defensive ends now. The defensive tackles I saw were Woodard, Delic, Agnew, Huey, Stetzer, Sauls, and Davidson. CJ Stephens, King, Lockley, and Woodard made up the second string defensive line.
- The offensive line featured Michael Davis starting at center and Tim Wynn starting at left tackle. It will be interesting to see if true freshman Mark Ruskell gets many snaps at center of the next month or so. The first unit held up pretty well. I think Wynn could be very productive at left guard if they decide to start Davis at center.
- The running backs shined today. They really did a good job and broke some nice runs. Coach Bond noted after practice that there is a lot of competition for carries at running back and that is always good for development because it pushes guys to play harder. Evans and Lee had the best days out of all of them.
- The hurry up no huddle offense was in full effect today. They ran it almost exclusively and was effective at doing so. Right tackle Grant King mentioned at media day yesterday that this year's line being more athletic will allow them to wear their opponents down. Their conditioning will be key if the offense is going to continue with the no huddle.
- On the conditioning note, the players ended practice today by running sprints. While it may seem silly to read in to results of sprints at the end of a workout, it should be noted that of all the lineman (offense and defense) the starting five offensive lineman consistently finished first, followed quickly by true freshman Mark Ruskell. This is a testament to the work they put in this summer with Coach Pollard.
- After practice offensive coordinator John Bond spoke about how impressed he was with the retention level his quarterbacks displayed from the spring. He thought they had really bought in to what they had learned from the spring and it was refreshing to see them implement stuff that had been worked on previously. He also said that both quarterbacks (Hill and McLane) needed to be much more accurate.
- Bond was impressed with new transfer Ronnie Bell, saying that he was picking things up very quickly and that he definitely has the talent to make some noise in the quarterback competition. He also said he hopes to name a starting quarterback well before the opening game, which would be the first time the Panthers have done so.
- When asked about the offensive line he once again (broken record yet?) lauded their athleticism and said he will trade the athleticism of this group over having experience any time.
- Coach Midget said that he was impressed with the effort and attention to detail from his defense, but that it could definitely be better.
- Midget said he really feels like there is a lot of talent on the defensive line but that it really needs to start clicking her in the next couple of weeks.
- Midget singled out Akeen Felder's performance today, and said that he and D'mario Gunn will get the majority of the snaps at the Wolf position.
- Midget talked breifly about transfers Agnew and Delic and said the biggest thing they bring to GSU is size. He said Delic is at 290 and Agnew is about 280, and I honestly don't doubt that assesment. They are both monsters and Midget agreed they should make a huge impact this season.
Stay tuned throughout fall camp for all the latest coverage as Georgia State prepares for the 2012 season.
Here are the individual player interviews from Georgia State's Media Day today. Spoke with Ben McLane, Donald Ruseell, Mark Hogan, Demarius Matthews, Emmanuel Obueghi, Grant King, and Jordan Giles. Enjoy!
Senior RB Donald Russell
On his physical condition: "Last year I came to camp a Little overweight and right now I am the perfect shape and injury free right now."
On the depth at running back: "Any of the running backs behind is capable of starting, so it just fuels me to continue to get better."
Talking about ways he is going to help the team win: “I want to play as many things as I can, not just running back. I want to play special teams too. Stats aren’t really my thing. As long as we get the win. I want to help my team win in as many ways as possible"
On what he wants this season: "I want the ball in my hands any way I can. I have really been working on becoming a more complete running back and improving my catching out of the backfield and my blocking."
Senior TE Emmanuel Obeughi
On being the only returning tight end: "Certainly I feel pressure being the only returning tight end, but for anyone to be successful they need to have some pressure."
Obeughi's personal goals for the season: "I want to be the best all around tight end Georgia State has ever had. I have really been working on my blocking and pass catching to really become a complete player."
Junior LB Mark Hogan
Hogan speaks about replacing NFL Giant Jake Muasau- "Jake had a great play making ability, and is something that will be incredibly hard to replace."
On the new defense: "We have really embraced the 4-2-5 defense. The linebackers really have to fly to the ball. Me and Robert are both playing new positions but we really like it."
His personal goal for the season- "My personal goal is just to produce and help my team win. That is the only personal goal I am concerned about."
RS Freshman QB Ben McLane
On being named the starter out of Spring- "I was proud to be named the starting quarterback, but it was just the spring. And I know I have a long way to go before August 30th and there is no guarantee I will be the starter. I couldn’t get complacement. I have to reaffirm my performance from the spring and if I don’t then I won’t be the starter."
McLane talking about the spread and no huddle: “The spread offense and especially the no huddle is still a little new to me and has some challenges. But I just have to keep working hard so that when Coach Bond dials something up I will be ready.”
How he plans to limit turnovers- "Kelton is a great player and can make some incredible plays with his legs and his arm. I can’t make those plays with my legs. So that puts more pressure on me to take care of the ball, make the throws, and keep from committing turnovers."
Speaking about the talent at the skill positions: "It’s really comforting to know I have the guys I have with me. To have Danny Williams, Albert Wilson, Donald Russell, and Travis Evans… When you see Albert Wilson running down the sideline, who is one of the fastest guys I have ever seen in my life, you know he is going to make a play for you."
McLane about how he has worked on his connection with the WRs: "We have worked this summer to build chemistry with my receivers. You look at a guy like Peyton Manning who throws 1,000 balls to his receivers every day, that’s what he have to be like. We have to have that kind of dedication."
McLane's personal goals for the season- "The only goal I have in mind right now is beating South Carolina State.”
Junior RT Grant King
King speaks on being the only returning starter: "I have taken on a big leadership role on the offensive line. But we have a lot of guys that have been with us that will step in and I think we will be a better offensive line."
King identifies guys who are ready to step in and produce: “Ulrick John and Harrison Clottey have been in the system and are more than ready to be great players along on the offensive line."
On the Center position and what each guy vying for the starting job brings."Tim Wynn is very athletic and has very good hands. Michael Davis is incredibly knowledgeable and knows all of the calls. We also have a true freshman (Mark Ruskell) that is really quick and has good size."
King talks about how this line is much more athletic than previous years and how that helps: "Our athleticism is going to allow us to play a lot harder than before and to increase our pace. I really don’t think most teams will be able to keep up with our offense. Now that we have had a full year with Coach Pollard we are in the best shape we have ever been."
Junior CB Demarius Matthews
On the talent level in the secondary: "We have a ton of talent in the secondary. We could really dominate this year."
On the new defensive scheme: "We love to play man. Everybody in the secondary loves to play man coverage and adding the extra DB is going to allow us to utilize our speed and make plays.”
On leading the team in breakups but getting no Interceptions: "I have been working really hard with the jug machine, catching balls all the time. I can’t let anymore interceptions go, I have got to get some this year."
Matthews speaks about the depth in the secondary- "It takes off a lot of pressure to know how deep we are. We are going to do a lot of different things in the secondary this year, so to know that you have somebody behind you that can step up and make a play if you need to go out really helps."
Junior WR Jordan Giles
On how he has improved this offseason: "When people think about being a great receiver they think about making catches and running routes, and that’s a big part, but I have been focused on my blocking. My technique has gotten really good and is just something I try to get better on every day."
Giles speaks about the difficulty of having three QB's last year: "Yeah, it affected us. But that’s life as a receiver. We just have to do everything we can to make a play. We have really been working hard this offseason to improve our connection with the quarterbacks."
Giles identifies guys outside the big 3 that could contribute this season at WR: "Nate Minor is a guy that ever since he got to school he has been productive and is a great receiver. We look a lot for Lynquez Blair who is an up and comer. Darren McCray is one of our fastest guys and we certainly will look for him to contribute this fall."
Georgia State Head Coach Bill Curry spoke at GSU’s football media today and his message could not have been more clear to everyone in the room: He is not satisfied with the results of the team thus far and knows that his Georgia State Panthers have a long way to go. Curry looked fierce and determined as he addressed the media. He was focused. Curry said he didn't want to dwell on the past, but that he would use it to help shape the future of the program.
Curry opened the press conference talking about how much he had to pause in reflection over the past few months. He indirectly referenced the Penn State situation as well as some of the experiences he has had at Georgia State as examples of that have caused him to think about the decisions he has made and the impact he has on so many lives. Curry said he has never had a greater appreciation for the responsibility he has as a football coach to mentor and at times protect young people.
That theme continued as Curry detailed the great number of seminars that he and his players have had to go through. Georgia State players attended sessions about addiction, suicide, rape, and academic dishonesty this summer. All of these were meant to educate the Georgia State football team about a lot of really tough issues, but also to cause them to look at themselves and reflect on the decisions they make.
Curry then applied the process to football and said that he met with every single player this offseason and made them look him in the eye and tell him what they were willing to do for this team and what were they willing to sacrifice? He said most responded positively, and those that didn’t are no longer with the team. GSU had a number of dismissals this off season for issues alleged to range from violence, academics, and possibly drugs… though all the infractions were labeled under the "violation of team rules" banner.
Certainly accountability was an issue for this team in 2011. Georgia State had a number of fourth quarter collapses that cost them wins. Curry said that effort had a lot to do with it, but that effort isn’t everything. He said a guy can give a ton effort, but ultimately he has to finish the play. He has to wrap up that tackle, finish that block, make that guy miss, or whatever he has to do to finish the play. Georgia State’s motto in 2012 is "Man up and finish".
For the first time in Georgia State’s history they have a class of fourth year players. Those players have been there from day one before Georgia State had their brand new facility and had to practice at Lakewood in the yellow jacket infested turf. Overall there are 28 players that Curry recognized by name as entering their fourth year in the program. These are the guys that will have to step up and make sure that the team’s motto translates into production on the field.
Speaking more about specific football areas, Curry lauded the abilities of his wide receivers by calling them the most talented position on the team. He particularly recognized Jordan Giles, Albert Wilson, and Danny Williams and said it was crucial that they have a quarterback that can get the ball to those guys. He also recognized the work the team has put in in the offseason in the weight room, saying that Georgia State has never had a better offseason.
But it remains to be seen if that will translate to wins this fall. Georgia State lost three games last season in which they led in the fourth quarter. It is clear that has directly translated into to fuel for the coming year and has caused the Panthers to be incredibly focused. But as Curry says, you can talk about it all you want in press conferences or on the practice field. What Georgia State needs is for players to "man up and finish" when it matters most on Saturdays.
Look out South Carolina State, because here come the Panthers.
For more on the Georgia State Panthers stay tuned to SB Nation Atlanta.
Georgia State added two players to their 2012 defense in transfer Theo Agnew and signee Joseph Peterson. Both players could make an immediate impact for the Panthers this season.
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