Bullet-point highlights from yesterday’s Georgia State media day:
Big goal for offense is to increase first downs this year: “More first downs per series on average is one of the keys for us being able to win. If you can get a first down or two, you can allow punter to pin the other team back.”
We want to execute in the run game, average 4-5 yards per carry.
We want to average 5 yards per pass play.
Really enjoyed working Avery Sweeting, who will be in the slot, and Penny Hart, over the summer.
Formula for winning:
Perseverance and mental toughness. Mental toughness is one of the things we were able to gain with coach Holsopple.
Where we’ve come from this entire summer, biggest improvement we’ve seen. Great to see what we can do as a team, coming through difficult runs and difficult workouts. Biggest improvement is for us to have energy, start fast, continue to finish games really strong.
Formula for winning:
Mental toughness. When stuff starts going bad, because it happens to every team, can you break that, change it and make it go the right way.
Was there an example from last year in which that didn’t happen?
We don’t really talk about last year. But against South Alabama, we were in the red zone, they fumbled, we didn’t get it. We kind of hung our heads and didn’t fight.
On improvement of defense:
More organized this year together as a defense. We became closer. Did a lot more stuff together. Bowling and paintball together. Builds good chemistry. Everybody was here, different talents and what they are good at.
On their goals:
Want to be 10 times better than last year.
Which is more important to success: bringing pressure or creating turnovers?
To me as a safety, it’s turnovers. I believe it starts up front and works its way back to the secondary.
They both matter.
On the formula for success this season:
Come together as a team. Big thing is paying attention to detail. Every inch counts.
I was watching something yesterday from a Super Bowl 15 years ago. Titans vs. rams. They were one inch away from scoring a TD.
It’s something that’s going to take our game to the next level.
On the depth of the group:
Good problem to have. Just gives people a chance to get a break. No downfall with next person coming up.
Nyiakki Height, Penny Hart will be able to come in and contribute.
Always have fresh legs to come in and make plays for the team.
We have Donovan Harden, who is a great weapon, one of the best nation has to offer.
Can’t double this person or double that person.
Joel Ruiz is no secret. Lot of guys they have to pay attention to.
Key to success of offense:
Starts up front. Believe we have a lot of talent up front, especially with those guys being healthy. When Big Mike (Ivory) got hurt it caused everybody to have to paly out of position.
On his familiarity with the defense:
Pretty comfortable. Took a lot of time on my own to check out plays and watch film.
Other guys have helped me out.
Any similarities to what he played in at UAB?
A lot. Lot of quarters and halves. Calls are different, names are different, concepts are pretty much the same.
On if he is trying to apply anything from last year’s turnaround at UAB to Georgia State this year:
Experience was one of the biggest things. Just coming in and trying to do things the right way.
One of the biggest things we did well last season was we had a real cohesive team. Lot of guys that were once cliqued up, now it’s more of a team. Everybody’s good with everybody.
On which safety position he enjoys playing:
Like both. Like strong safety. Like to come into the box a little more.
Like to make tackles. Also like to go deep and get picks.
What did you know when you transferred in?
I knew that there was a lot young, raw talent, especially at corner position.
They lacked a little bit of experience.
They lacked some discipline, but we have improved on that in the past six months.
Scheme I was pretty comfortable with.
They were making a lot of the right calls, guys were in the right position, it’s just a matter of guys making the play.
On having everyone healthy on the line:
That’s huge. Even me, I came off an injury last year. Strongest we’ve ever been and fastest we’ve ever been.
On the summer:
Having everybody together this summer was great for all of us. O-line was a brotherhood. Everybody here was huge as far as conditioning.
Formula for winning:
Fixing the little things. Offsides, penalties, mental busts will change us from one-win season to 7-8 win season to a bowl game to wherever we want to go.
On last year:
Injuries last year, it was tough. Guys had to play out of position. I moved from left guard to right tackle. Coach Etheridge wants us to be able to play multiple positions.
Having health and depth has helped us a lot up front.
His playing weight:
It’s good as long as I can run with it.
My focus is on both interior spots at center and guard.
I played center at junior college.
On being a senior:
I put a lot of it on my shoulders. I want everybody to work as hard as they can. Senior class is ready to get this thig going and get the ball rolling. Want to show everybody what we can really be.
On his summer:
Did some camps this summer, did some personal training.
I went to camp in Wisconsin. One hundred kickers from ACC, SEC to Division 3. It was good to go. It was a cool experience.
What did you learn?
I learned I can hang with the best of them.
Difference between playing at a big stage and mid-major, there’s not a big difference.
Anything coach will put me out there for.
I’ve had a really good summer. Back to 57, 58 yards.
Punting has been the thing I’ve worked on the least. I worked on kickoffs to put them where I want them to go.
Every session I’ve worked on punts for a few minutes. Hopefully one of the new guys will give me a lot of run.
On the young quarterbacks:
Aaron Winchester has a very good arm.
Emiere has one of the strongest arms I’ve seen. Believe he will be very dangerous once he gets down mental part of game.
On Ari Werts:
Great hands. He’s got great hands. Catch one-handed balls as easy as with two.
On who will be best at getting to the quarterback:
Michael Shaw has great pass rush motives. Mackendy Cheridor on the defensive line will be great for him. He put on more weight and can move with the weight.
On if they have worked on defending the option:
It’s pretty tough, especially at this level because everybody runs the spread.
We’ve been scheming it up.
Right now, our focus is on Charlotte.
To win. I’m not sure how many records I have, but it doesn’t really matter if you aren’t winning.
On linebackers Alonzo McGee and Kaleb Ringer:
We got a lot older and they also bring leadership.
Bring depth also. We also have Niemus (Bryant) and Malik ricks that already have playing experience.
No. 1 stat for success:
Causing more turnovers.
How do they cause more turnovers?
Comes with experience and knowing the scheme.
On his health:
I’m completely healthy. No problems with my knee. No problems all summer.
On how the running game will improve:
Being in the offense 2 years, and also some pretty good lineman up front. We have to make sure everyone stays healthy.
We have returning linemen like Mike Ivory, who is a joy to run behind.
Alex Stoehr’s also returning. More success out of that.
On the different running backs:
We all complement each other very well.
I’m more downhill.
Kendrick is a great athlete. We’ve seen him leap over people.
All complement each other very well.
What will decide who starts?
Anyone can start. Biggest thing will be who understands the offense and concepts. Anyone can really start.
I’m really excited. Can’t wait to get going.
On what they have done to try to reduce the number of fumbles:
Repetition, keep repping it out. Apply your six points of pressure. We always go through gauntlets, even in spring you can be running back to the huddle, defense can try to strip you. Always focus on it and pay attention. Always have to keep it in your head.
Lot of fumbles happen if you are trying to break extra tackles and get extra yards.