For the second game in a row Ronnie Bell took a significant amount of snaps at quarterback for Georgia State. Ben McLane, the starting quarterback, injured his left hand in last week’s game against UT- San Antonio. He did not play the entire second half because of numbness in his hand, but started the game today against Richmond. However, Curry said after the game that he continues to have issues with the injury.
But when asked, Coach Bill Curry said it was because of sporadic play and not the injured left hand that caused the coaching staff to pull him in favor of Bell in the fourth quarter.
“No. We had been so sporadic on offense up to that point that we probably should have put him in a lot sooner,” Curry said. “I think he will play more next week.”
Bell has been mildly effective in his limited playing time so far this season. He has shown tremendous arm strength and athletic ability, but also displays poor decision making at times. His confidence is clearly evident every time he steps on the field, but that confidence causes him to overthrow balls or to make poor decisions in the passing game, which have led to three interceptions on the year.
Bell is 12 of 21 on the season for 186 yards and two touchdowns, but the turnovers are something the coaches can’t ignore.
The only word to describe the play of McLane thus far in the season is simply sporadic. He looks very comfortable when the running game is utilized effectively and he can get into a rhythm. But too many times McLane simply looks rattled and starts to force ball in areas they shouldn’t go, or puts the ball way over the head of his receiver. McLane on the season is 47 of 96 passing for 496 yards and 2 touchdowns while throwing three interceptions.
Another disadvantage that McLane faces is his lack of mobility. He has decent pocket awareness and throws the ball well on the run, but Bell’s athleticism allows him to escape pressure and gain positive yards. McLane simply does not have that ability.
So Georgia State continues to search for the quarterback that will lead their program. Will Ronnie Bell seize his opportunity and take the lead in a struggling offense? Or will McLane provide the consistency and accuracy the team desperately needs in a signal caller? The Panthers have been asking similar questions for the last year and a half and unfortunately a positive answer does not appear to be anywhere in sight.