Invoice C’s annual preview collection of each and every FBS workforce in school soccer continues. Catch up right here!
What occurs when a reset yr is a reset yr? Does the intensity of the stumble subject in the event you knew a stumble was once coming?
In final yr’s Georgia State preview, I famous that, regardless of the Panthers’ surprising 2017 good fortune in Shawn Elliott’s first season — they ripped off a 7-Three end and nabbed their first ever bowl win — indicators pointed to a tough 2018.
I might be stunned if the Panthers didn’t take a short lived step backward — they’ve much less returning manufacturing than any Solar Belt workforce previewed up to now. With such a lot of bottom-tier SBC groups prone to upward thrust, it wouldn’t be a surprise if GSU were given stuck within the undertow.
Possibly tamping expectancies down isn’t the worst factor. The Panthers may have a couple of seniors to interchange after 2018, however a majority in their stars shall be juniors or more youthful, and after a reset q4, they may well be in a position for spectacular issues in 2019 and past.
S&P+ projected the Panthers to win about 4 to 5 video games. As a substitute, they gained two and sank to 125th, their worst score since 2014. And that was once with an overachieving offense. GSU was once projected 117th in Off. S&P+, however after a brutal first month, it averaged 27.Four issues consistent with recreation and completed 108th.
As a substitute, it was once the protection the place the whole thing went awry. GSU was once 75th in Def. S&P+ in 2017 and returned quite a few playmakers. However whilst the Panthers rendered opposing run video games inefficient every now and then, the secondary were given nuked. The 3 key returnees neglected a mixed 13 video games, 5 true and redshirt novices were given vital taking part in time, and GSU ended up 126th in Passing S&P+ and 127th total on protection.
The outcome: devastation. With its secondary most commonly intact, GSU eked by means of Kennesaw State within the season opener (a wonderfully respectable outcome, to be fair), and unusually blew out ULM in late-September, a outcome that saved the WarHawks from bowling. In a different way, they stayed inside unmarried digits of warring parties in simply two different video games.
This was once clearly worse than anticipated, however does it subject? I don’t imply that during an existential method, I imply, for functions of projecting the long run, does it subject that GSU was once 125th as an alternative of 115th?
The Panthers ended up discovering extra offensive solutions than anticipated and now go back extra of final yr’s defensive manufacturing than I might have expected a yr in the past. And after signing the No. Three magnificence within the Solar Belt in 2018, Elliott landed the 5th in 2019 regardless of the bleak season.
Of the 19 defenders with a minimum of 10 tackles in 2018, 15 go back, as do final yr’s beginning quarterback, most sensible 3 rushers, all however one receiver, and 5 offensive linemen with beginning revel in. The Panthers would possibly get started as few as seven seniors this yr, and there are three-star novices and sophomores in each and every unit.
Granted, the time table would possibly save you any primary jump again q4. GSU has to play at Tennessee and Western Michigan in non-conference play, and 4 of six house video games (Military in non-con, plus App State, Troy, and Arkansas State) shall be tall duties. However final yr’s struggles didn’t actually alternate anything else in regards to the Panthers’ attainable in my eyes.
Closing yr’s offensive competence was once pricey in a method: it ended in Elliott having to discover a new offensive coordinator. Travis Trickett joined former Troy head trainer Neal Brown at West Virginia, and Elliott changed him with an outdated good friend, Western Carolina offensive coordinator Brad Glenn, with whom Elliott had labored a decade in the past at Appalachian State.
Beneath Glenn’s steering, WCU quarterback Tyrie Adams threw for two,417 yards and rushed for 1,006, and in simplest 11 video games. Operating backs averaged about 22 carries consistent with recreation, and Adams added every other 15 or so whilst making an attempt about 30 passes. WCU was once beset by means of a terrible protection and went 3-Eight because of this, however Glenn’s offense was once beautiful amusing.
If he prefers dual-threat QBs like Adams, he must like what he’s started working with in Dan Ellington. The JUCO switch beat out longtime backup Aaron Winchester for the beginning task in 2018, and after the aforementioned sluggish get started, he ended up figuring some issues out. He completed with 2,119 passing yards and 764 non-sack dashing yards (5.6 consistent with lift), and for all of its different problems, GSU may run the rattling ball: the Panthers completed 107th in Passing S&P+ however 43rd in Dashing S&P+ with Ellington main the workforce at the floor.
That sluggish get started was once sluggish, by means of the way in which:
- First Four video games — Yards consistent with play: 4.9 | Issues consistent with recreation: 17 | Reasonable percentile efficiency: 15 p.c
- Subsequent 6 video games — Yards consistent with play: 6.1 | Issues consistent with recreation: 33 | Reasonable percentile efficiency: 56 p.c
- Closing 2 video games — Yards consistent with play: 4.9 | Issues consistent with recreation: 16 | Reasonable percentile efficiency: 36 p.c
There was once a past due fade in opposition to App State and Georgia Southern, however the Panthers have been downright thrilling for approximately part the yr on offense, and Trickett apart, lots of the causes for that pleasure go back.
Glenn’s were given his number of choices within the backfield. Sophomore operating again Seth Paige was once instrumental in GSU’s midseason eruption — he had 42 carries for 270 yards (6.Four consistent with lift) all through the six excellent video games — and he’s joined now not simplest by means of others from final yr’s rotation (senior Tra Barnett and sophomore Destin Coates) but additionally by means of a couple of children who may threaten for extra taking part in time. Sophomore Tucker Gregg, redshirt freshman Dawson Hill, and previous three-star junior Darius Stubbs averaged 6.7 yards consistent with lift in restricted alternatives.
They’ll be operating at the back of a line that looks strong. Left take on Hunter Atkinson and left guard Shamarious Gilmore have mixed for 60 occupation begins, and each earned all-conference votes final yr. 3 returning sophomores additionally mixed for 19 extra begins in 2018.
The receiving corps returns all however one participant, however that one participant was once beautiful dang excellent: Penny Hart completed his occupation with 202 catches and a couple of,950 yards and inspired in Senior Bowl practices. He was once GSU’s perfect offensive participant for many of his occupation, however sufficient different receivers stepped up that he ended up a little bit extra of a task participant in 2018.
Hart led the way in which with 49 catches, however 5 different receivers have been focused a minimum of 20 occasions; they all produced a minimum of a 60 p.c catch fee and sure marginal potency numbers, and 3 of the 5 (Cornelius McCoy, Devin Gentry, Tamir Jones) averaged a minimum of 13 yards consistent with catch. Plus, famous person 2018 recruit Sam Pinckney stuck 3 of 5 passes for 82 yards whilst redshirting. I’m a lot more assured on this receiving corps than I anticipated to be within the first yr Submit Hart.
In reality, that commentary is going for all of the offense. It’s now not exhausting to speak your self into this unit taking every other step ahead q4; Glenn must experience what he inherits.
This actually is the other of final yr’s preview, by which I discovered masses to love in regards to the protection however struggled for sure spin offensively. Granted, I stopped up totally flawed in the ones impressions.
Georgia State mainly did something smartly defensively final yr: they hemmed for your run recreation more often than not. The Panthers ranked 30th in dashing marginal potency and 49th in alternative fee (share of non-sack carries gaining a minimum of 4 yards). That ended in beautiful excellent purple zone protection, too — they have been 36th in good fortune fee between their 11 and 20, 21st throughout the 10, and 38th on first-and-goal.
The issue: the whole thing else.
- Whilst you won 5 yards at the floor, you almost certainly won every other 15, too. GSU was once 129th in dashing marginal explosiveness, which measures the magnitude of your a success performs. The Panthers had perhaps probably the most all-or-nothing run protection in FBS.
- You didn’t even need to run in the event you didn’t need to. GSU was once 129th in passing marginal potency and 130th in of entirety fee allowed. (Right here’s your reminder that there are simplest 130 FBS groups.) Your quarterback was once going to have a pleasant, blank pocket, too: they have been 116th in sack fee and 130th in blitz downs sack fee.
3rd-year defensive coordinator Nate Fuqua has now had a shockingly robust season and a shockingly horrible one. However a minimum of he can blame adolescence for a few of what took place in 2018. He was once beginning 3 novices within the secondary, finally, and in all, 8 novices and 7 sophomores ended up with a minimum of 5.Five tackles. That’s a recipe for fight.
Lots of the causes for the environment friendly run protection are again, although. That comes with the foursome of finish Terry Thomas, nostril take on Dontae Wilson, and inside of linebackers Ed Curney and Trajan Stephens-McQueen. OLBs Victor Heyward and Jordan Strachan had their moments, too. No person stood out from a disruption viewpoint, however they pursued the ball beautiful smartly. And now not having freshman safeties will lend a hand from a big-play standpoint.
Getting younger guys revel in doesn’t mechanically cause them to excellent, however on the very least, GSU’s secondary shall be infinitely extra skilled. Senior protection Remy Lazarus is again and full-strength, and so far as I will be able to inform, so is cornerback Cedric Stone. He performed a pivotal function within the win over Kennesaw State however neglected the final 9 video games of the yr.
Upload the ones two to the legion of sophomores — corners Jaylon Jones, Quavian White, and Tyler Gore; safeties Chris Viscount St. Albans and Jacorey Crawford — and perhaps you get someplace. Viscount St. Albans had his moments, however the others struggled dramatically, mainly from begin to end. Fuqua needed to play the softest of sentimental protection, and … perhaps he will get to be extra competitive this yr? Most likely?
Hart shall be neglected within the go back recreation. He was once one of the most country’s extra environment friendly go back males, and he was once terrifying at the extraordinarily uncommon instance that warring parties needed to punt. (He had simplest 9 punt returns all season however averaged just about 18 yards consistent with.)
Brandon Wright’s again, a minimum of. The senior punter from Atlanta averaged 48.2 yards consistent with kick final season, and whilst he outkicked his protection every now and then, he was once nonetheless 44th in punt potency. He must get slightly bit extra constant as a place-kicker (93rd in FG potency), however he’s clearly were given a booming leg.
2019 Agenda & Projection Components
|Date||Opponent||Proj. S&P+ Rk||Proj. Margin||Win Chance|
|14-Sep||at Western Michigan||75||-17.2||16%|
|21-Sep||at Texas State||102||-8.9||30%|
|12-Oct||at Coastal Carolina||116||-2.1||45%|
|30-Nov||at Georgia Southern||81||-16.2||17%|
Have been final yr’s struggles in cross protection the manufactured from rising pains or a loss of skill? How a lot will Cedric Stone’s go back lend a hand? The solutions to these questions will resolve such a lot. The run protection must be environment friendly once more, and the offense must be thrilling, but when you’ll be able to’t protect the cross, even slightly bit, not anything else actually issues.
The time table is stuffed with each alternatives and attainable fight. GSU has to move at the street to stand 3 of its extra beatable Solar Belt warring parties (Texas State, Coastal Carolina, ULM) and hosts 3 of its much less beatable ones. If you happen to’re positive, you’re pondering “win two of 3 at the street and pull a house disenchanted!” If you happen to’re pessimistic, you’re pondering 0-6.
Both method, GSU must reinforce a minimum of a little bit, each at the box and within the win column, and now not simply for the reason that bar’s low. Plus, rather a number of the perfect gamers at the workforce shall be sophomores, and, QB apart, nearly everybody will go back in 2020. This can be a sluggish construct, and Elliott’s first-year good fortune was once a little bit deceptive, however so long as recruiting doesn’t dry up, you’ll be able to see what Elliott’s seeking to construct, and the basis will proceed to construct q4.