The Panthers were 0-2 through their first two games last year. The second game was a 42-14 beat down by Tennessee-Chattanooga in which the Panthers looked and played like a team that was already looking ahead to the end of the year.
Coach Trent Miles’ responses after the game rank among the most interesting in my 22 years of journalism. He pulled no punches in a scathing critique, some of which is included here:
- “This is what I’d heard about. That’s what I saw today. I feel sorry for the administration. I saw a better football team across the field on this day.”
- “We didn’t compete. It was really embarrassing to be quite honest with you. Our young men didn’t line up in the correct spots, and at a lot of times didn’t do what they were asked to do on our defensive side.”
- “It’s going to get tough around here. We’re going to be tough in practice: But you know, I’ll tell you right now the No. 1 thing we’re going to do, other than work on all the details and coach our guys as hard as we can every day, (is) we’re going to recruit.”
- “I saw a very poor FCS team in blue. That’s what I saw.”
Flash forward to two games into this year.
The Panthers are 1-1. In the second game, the Panthers coughed up a 17-point lead to fall to New Mexico State in the final minute.
Air Force comes to the Georgia Dome on Saturday as the Panthers’ first FBS non-conference opponent.
It is a measuring-stick game.
Miles had this to say when asked to compare this year’s team with last year’s:
“No comparison. So much better it’s not even funny. Not a slight to anyone who played here last year.”
“Compared to last year it’s night and day. Not even close.”
Stats don’t mean everything, but I thought it would be interesting to compare the stats of last year’s team through two games to this year’s:
|Rushing yards allowed||253||144.5|
|Passing yards allowed||150.5||322|
|Total yards allowed||403.5||466.5|