Georgia State review/preview: Quarterbacks

Georgia State quarterback Nick Arbuckle. (Georgia State)

Georgia State quarterback Nick Arbuckle. (Georgia State)

Georgia State’s football team recently wrapped up its most successful season under coach Trent Miles.

The Panthers went 6-7, that seventh defeat coming in their first bowl game. The team won its final four regular season games to earn that bowl berth.

Over the next few days, I’ll review each position group and preview what that unit may look like when spring practice begins sometime in March.

Quarterbacks

Starter: Nick Arbuckle

Returning? No.

What’d he do? What didn’t he do? Arbuckle was named the Sun Belt student-athlete of the year, finishing with 4,368 yards and 28 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. He became the Sun Belt’s single-season passing leader in the Cure Bowl. He was also a leader off the field in the film room and during practice, and on the field with his ability to take what he learned watching film and make adjustments.

It’s hard to overstate how much he positively affected the team on and off the field. It will be interesting to see if someone tries to become the next Arbuckle, or if they just try to stay who they are and the coaching staff and team adjusts.

That observation leads me to this question …

Who will battle in the spring?

There will be at least three players competing, Emiere Scaife and Aaron Winchester and incoming transfer Conner Manning.

Scaife, who will be a redshirt sophomore, played a handful of snaps last season with no significant stats. He has the size (6-2, 218 pounds) and arm strength to be a successful quarterback. It’s unknown if he can read defenses and make adjustments because he hasn’t been put in that situation yet.

Aaron Winchester, who will be a redshirt freshman, isn’t as big (6-2, 175 pounds) as Scaife, but like his counterpart throws a pretty pass.

Manning will have two years remaining. He was a high school phenom but couldn’t crack the depth chart at Utah.

Outlook

After struggling at the position from 2011-13, the team can’t afford to take too big of a step backward at the position.

Whoever wins the job will be surrounded by a lot of returning starters at wide receiver, tight end, the offensive line and running back. That experience should make the quarterback’s job that much easier.

It will be interesting to see how, or if, the offense evolves from the pass-focused strategy of last year to a run-focused strategy next season built on a running game with play-action heavily mixed in. I’m guessing it might be that way early while the new quarterback finds a comfort level. Of course, the schedule doesn’t start with any gimmes, either.


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