Georgia State’s Hart leading all freshmen WRs

Georgia State wide receiver Penny Hart runs for yardage during the first half of an NCAA college football game against New Mexico State in Las Cruces, N.M., Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. (Photo by Andres Leighton)

Georgia State wide receiver Penny Hart runs for yardage during the first half of an NCAA college football game against New Mexico State in Las Cruces, N.M., Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. (Photo by Andres Leighton)

As the coaches for Georgia State and Oregon were riding the elevators down to meet their players following the Panthers’ 61-28 loss on Saturday, one of the Ducks’ coaches turned to Georgia State offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski and asked, “Who is that kid?”

The kid in question was Penny Hart, who led the game with nine receptions for 128 yards.

Hart has 20 catches for 278 yards in the last two games. He leads all freshmen on the FBS level in receptions (7) and receiving yards (110.3) per game.

“When you have a good scheme and good ability you are going to get open,” coach Trent Miles said.

Hart moved into competition at the slot when Donovan Harden suffered a broken bone in his foot before the season.

Hart caught one pass for 53 yards and a touchdown in the season-opening loss to Charlotte before going bananas against New Mexico State and Oregon.

“He’s quick and has really good feel (for the offense),” Jagodzinski said. “Plus, he’s doing some things you can’t coach.”

It will be interesting to see how Jagodzinski uses Hart and Harden, who is scheduled to return for the team’s game against Liberty on Oct. 3.

Georgia State typically uses three wide receivers (two on the outside, one in the slot), a tight end and one running back in its base formation.

I would imagine that Hart and Harden will split duties while Harden gets back into the flow of the action after missing the first three games.

After that, it will be interesting.

I have half-joked/half goofily theorized that because Georgia State has so much talent at receiver it should switch to a run and shoot-style offense with four wide receivers, five linemen, a quarterback and one running back a few times per game.

Doing so would take advantage of Nick Arbuckle’s accurate arm on short and mid-range passes, as well as his quick decision-making. It would allow him to get the ball out faster, meaning the line would need less time to block, even in blitzes.

It would also give opponents something else to have to prepare for.

It could be used if Georgia State can catch defenses trying to make a package substitution for certain situations, i.e. the opponents thinks Georgia State is going to run, so it brings in run-stuffers, but Georgia State runs out with all of its wide receivers. The Panthers then wouldn’t sub, depriving the other team a chance to sub.

Again, it’s a goofy theory. Please don’t take it seriously.

Note: I didn’t get a chance to talk to Hart or quarterback Nick Arbuckle after today’s practice because both players had class. Because of other work commitments I won’t be back at Georgia State until next week, but I didn’t want to let what Hart is doing go by until then.

I wrote a feature about Hart last week that you can read here.


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