Georgia State won’t open summer camp until Aug. 1, so it’s a perfect time to start looking ahead to the teams the Panthers will face during the upcoming season.
Let’s start with the opener against Charlotte. The Panthers, 1-11 last season, will host the 49ers on Sept. 4 at the Georgia Dome.
2014 record: 5-6 against a mostly hand-picked schedule.
All-time record: 10-12. The 49ers are beginning their first year in FBS.
Coach: Brad Lambert.
Letterwinners returning: 55.
Starters returning: Nine on offense and seven on defense.
Offensive system: Spread.
Defensive system: 3-4 last year, but likely multiple this year.
Three significant stats last year:
1. 49ers averaged 38.9 points per game as part of 487.4 yards per game.
2. Defense allowed 31.6 points per game.
3. 49ers lost 25 turnovers
Key starters returning:
- Leading rusher Kalif Phillips (1,436 yards and 20 touchdowns)
- Leading passer Matt Johnson (117-225, 13 touchdowns and 8 interceptions)
- Leading receiver Austin Duke (79 receptions for 1,373 yards and 9 touchdowns)
- Leading tackler Branden Dozier, safety (86 tackles, one interception)
- Leading sacker Larry Ogunjobi, a defensive lineman (5 sacks)
- Four starters on the offensive line: left tackle Jamal Covington, left guard Casey Perry, centers Thomas La Bianca or Jarred Barr and right tackle Danny Book.
- Led by Dozier, three-fourths of the secondary returns on defense.
How does Georgia State match up
Georgia State should be able to score a lot of points with the return of quarterback Nick Arbuckle, running back Kyler Neal and a talent group of wide receivers led by Donovan Harden and Robert Davis.
The question for the defense, as it always will be, is can it get a pass rush against what will be a quick-snap, quick-read, quick-delivery offense? Applying pressure has been a problem for three years, before Coach Trent Miles and his staff were hired, but it’s one that must be fixed.
The defense didn’t perform well against spread offenses last year, so the onus will be on the offense to score a lot and eat up the clock while doing so.
What is your prediction on the game?