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, moved on to No. 9 Shawayne Lawrence, No. 8 Robert Davis No. 7 Bruce Dukes and No. 6 Marcus Caffey.
We move on to….
No. 5 Tarris Batiste
Here’s what I wrote:
How can Batiste make a difference? For starters, continue to make tackles. He was second on the team last year with 77 tackles, including a team-high 9 ½ for loss.
Safety is his natural position, not outside linebacker where he played last year. That added comfort may result in even better performances. He said during the spring that he likes to have the game in front of him.
His job this year will be different than last year. Of most importance, he will need to stop runs up the middle before the running back can pick up a head of a steam, which was often the problem last year when the Panthers’ safeties, neither of whom came to Georgia State on scholarship, couldn’t quite get there in time to stop runs at 3 yards.
Best-case scenario: Batiste is part of a safety tandem that limits opponents to less than 4 yards per rush, which reduces the rushing yards per game to less than 150. It’s still a large amount, but it’s also a decrease of 70 rushing yards per game. Additionally, Batiste can tip a few passes to put offenses into more challenging situations.
Worst-case scenario: Batiste, the linebackers and the safeties don’t play as a unit. As a result, teams are able to find holes and continue to have success running up the middle. The Panthers can’t get off the field and the chances of victories diminish.
So, was it the best-case scenario or worst-case scenario?
The worst-case scenario.
Opponents averaged 6.3 yards per rush as part of 303.4 rushing yards per game, second most in the Sun Belt and among the worst in FBS. Opponents averaged 7.1 yards per pass for 193.7 yards per game. Batiste was just one cog in the failures of the defense.
Batiste logged 86 tackles with three passes broken up and no interceptions.