Georgia State University Hosts Shorter in Historic Opener
Date: Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Georgia Dome
More than 800 days have passed since April 17, 2008, when Georgia State University officially announced the start of its football program.
Now the fledgling Panthers will take the field at last, hosting Shorter University on Sept. 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Georgia Dome for the inaugural game in school history.
"I can't believe we finally get to play a game," said GSU head coach Bill Curry. "I wake up in the middle of the night and pinch myself just to make sure it's real."
While Curry readily admits his excitement over the historic day, the veteran coach knows his squad faces a very tough challenge.
"We're playing a very good Shorter team," said Curry.
"If you haven't seen Shorter, go watch Georgia Tech. That's how they play, and that's the kind of precision with which they execute. They are not as big as Georgia Tech and they're not quite as fast, although they are fast. They are very well drilled.
"And they have the advantage of playing a game before they face us," added Curry.
Shorter (0-1) opened its season Saturday with a 37-7 loss at NCAA Division II West Alabama.
One advantage the Hawks will not have is knowing the identity of GSU's starting quarterback. A four-man competition continued throughout the preseason, and Curry will not reveal a starter until game time. The candidates include a trio of redshirt freshmen in Kelton Hill, Drew Little and Bo Schlechter as well as Alabama transfer Star Jackson, a sophomore.
"We have four very good quarterbacks," said Curry. "We could win with any of the four, and I think each one will help us win at some point this season."
Georgia State's offensive coordinator is John Bond, who previously directed prolific offenses at Georgia Tech, Northern Illinois and Army.
"We wanted to be exciting but balanced on offense," said Curry. "By balanced I don't mean equal yards rushing and passing. Balanced means we will run the ball from anywhere on the field and we will throw it from anywhere on the field."
Whichever Panther is under center should benefit from a solid offensive line that features three transfers from FBS programs. Center Ben Jacoby played two seasons at Ball State before moving to GSU last fall, while left guard Joseph Gilbert and left tackle Clyde Yandell both transferred from Georgia Tech. Gilbert was a two-year starter for the Yellow Jackets, while Yandell was a key backup.
Another FBS transfer, junior Sidney Haynes from UCF, leads the receiving corps, along with redshirt freshmen Jordan Giles and Danny Williams.
Four different running backs could line up in the Panther backfield in sophomore Rosevelt Watson and redshirt freshmen Parris Lee, Sam Burkhalter and Travis Evans.
Georgia State's aggressive defense, coordinated by John Thompson, features outside linebacker Jake Muasau, a junior college transfer from Phoenix College, and free safety Brandon Jones, a transfer from NCAA Division II program Mars Hill.
"We will have some surprises for you every week. Every single week," said Curry. "Defense will be a surprise every play. That's the reason John Thompson has been hired by as many quality programs as he has."
Other key defensive performers include defensive end Kalan Jenkins, and inside linebackers Evan Bostic and Louie Muasau, also transfers from the junior college ranks.
Several true freshmen could make an impact, particularly in the secondary, where speedy Justin Hughes of Port St. Lucie, Fla., has earned a starting berth.
Another true freshman to watch is receiver and return specialist Albert Wilson, also from Port St. Lucie.
Special teams has been a strong emphasis for the Panthers.
"We are drilling into our players' minds the absolute importance of special teams," said Curry. "We're spending a lot of time and effort in that critical area because it determines field position and very often it determines big scores both for and against. So that's been a major emphasis."
Fifth-year senior Iain Vance, a former walk-on at both Georgia Tech and Alabama, will handle the kicking duties, while Schlechter will double as the punter.http://www.georgiastatesports.com/ViewA ... =204984801