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.
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