Before the season I listed the 10 players who I thought would most impact Georgia State’s football season.
Over the next days, I’ll review the list and detail how each player performed in the 1-11, 0-8 in the Sun Belt campaign.
As they were listed, we will count down from 10 to 1.
We started with No. 10 Matt Hubbard and moved on to No. 9 Shawayne Lawrence, continued with No. 8 Robert Davis and No. 7 Bruce Dukes and now we move on to….
No. 6 Marcus Caffey
Here’s what I wrote:
How can Caffey make a difference? Repeating some of what I wrote in the previous blog about Dukes, an interception would make a huge difference. Last year’s starting corners had three. If Dukes can’t provide interceptions, just doing a better job of shutting down that side of the field would be a start. Opponents completed 64.5 percent of their passes against the Panthers last year. Georgia State’s Sun Belt opponents had the highest passing efficiency (158.2) than against any other team.
Caffey is larger than than Dukes, so he may be tasked with taking on some of the larger wide receivers in the Sun Belt.
Caffey was recruited out of Grady High School by Kentucky as a running back before moving to cornerback.
Best-case scenario: As with Dukes, Caffey does a good job forcing opponents to narrow their range of attack, which makes it easier to for the defense to scheme. Additionally, he intercepts a few passes and gives the front seven that extra half-second to pressure the quarterback. Don’t be surprised if, because offenses must pass the ball somewhere, one of these cornerbacks doesn’t receive most of the focus. As a result, it may appear that they aren’t playing well when in fact they are. Offenses have to pass the ball somewhere.
Worst-case scenario: The front seven can’t generate any pressure (a problem last year), which forces Caffey, Dukes and the rest of the secondary to try to cover for too long, something which even the best can’t do forever. As a result, opponents are once again able to pick the Panthers apart with passes.
So, was it the best-case scenario or worst-case scenario?
This one is a toss up because of Caffey’s position change.
Caffey struggled as cornerback. Of course, it was a position he hadn’t played in a game in more than three years. Still, it wasn’t a good performance and the struggles of he and cornerback Bruce Dukes led coordinator Jesse Minter to switch the defense from attacking to a more passive zone.
However, because of a preseason injury to Gerald Howse, and in-game injuries to Kyler Neal and Jonathan Jean-Bart, Caffey switched to running back and fnished with 93 carries for 354 yards and three touchdowns.
They aren’t great stats, but Caffey did show potential in his first start with school records for carries (27) and touchdowns (3).