Continuing the Georgia State football A-to-Z series.
Quick recap: the Panthers went 6-7 last season with that last loss coming in the team’s first bowl game, the Cure Bowl in Orlando against San Jose State.
Coach Trent Miles will return seven-eight starts on offense (depending upon your definition of what makes a starter) and nine on defense.
The team should be picked to finish in the top half of the media polls and, if not for the lock that Appalachian State will likely have on first-place votes, might even receive a vote or two in that category.
Anyway, off we go:
I is for Interceptions
Georgia State threw 12 interceptions last season, but picked off 15 passes.
Not too shabby considering the number of times that Georgia State’s quarterbacks dropped back (at least 496), as well as its opponents (453).
Because the Panthers return so many starters on defense, it’s natural to project that the pass defense should be better this season, especially when three starters return in the secondary, two of whom were all-conference in cornerback Chandon Sullivan and safety Bobby Baker. When he keeps his cool, Jerome Smith is also solid at the other cornerback.
Much will depend upon the pass rush because the secondary can’t cover forever. While Georgia State was better than the previous season, it still wasn’t good at that last season with just 18 sacks.
On offense, one of the factors that will determine the number of interceptions thrown is the protection the line provides. It gave up 33 sacks last season, also a high number and also a scary one considering that none of the three quarterbacks competing for the job have significant experience.
If one goes down, the backup may not inspire a lot of confidence.