Thursday, July 20, 2017

Bilo's 2017 College Football Preview: Georgia State Panthers

Georgia State Panthers
Georgia State is starting over this fall, as Trent Miles finally ran out of time with the Panthers as coach. Shawn Elliott, the offensive line coach from South Carolina, is the new man in charge, but has a limited sample size to see what he can do. He did not succeed during his time as interim head coach for the Gamecocks, but that was a tricky situation after a mid-season resignation. He will get every chance to move this team forward, but the roster he inherits is not exactly built to succeed right away. The Panthers will move into Turner Field, but can they make themselves interesting enough to fill the seats?

What To Be Excited About: Offense
The line should have experience in 2017, as four upperclassmen are slated to start. LG Davis Moore, RG Alex Stoehr, and RT Sebastian Willer are all seniors. C Gabe Mobley will start as a junior.

What To Be Concerned About: Offense
The QB position is up i the air as we head into fall camp. Last year's starter, Conner Manning, returns after passing for 2684 yards, but he ha slipped to second string on the most recent depth chart posted just days ago behind the backup last year, Aaron Winchester. Winchester passed for 271 yards in limited duty last fall. This battle is going to continue through fall camp.

The run game was one of the worst in the nation last season, as the Panthers averaged just over 87 yards per game on the ground. Kyler Neal is the returning starter, but ran for just 314 yards on just 75 carries.

Todd Boyd returns at WR and caught 33 passes last season, but averaged just a shade over 10 yards per catch last season. He will try to replace the departed Robert Davis, who was amazing for the Panthers during his career, but that is a large order. The rest of the projected starting lineup lacks experience and depth.

The LT spot could be up in the air, as sophomore Hunter Atkinson is projected to start. He could be pushed in camp by Chris Sibilia, but he is just a freshman.

Neither PK made a mark last fall, so the Panthers are starting over with freshman Barry Brown

What To Be Excited About: Defense
Mackendy Cheridor has a shot to become a leader on defense as the DE ranked second on the team in TFLs with six. The major issue is that he will not have much  help up front.

Michael Shaw is a potential star at OLB after leading the team last season with 12 TFLs. He finished with 76 tackles overall. Trey Payne returns as a senior, and finished with 65 tackles last fall.

What To Be Concerned About: Defense
Other than Cheridor, this is not the most talented defensive line in the Sun Belt.Marterius Allen is slated to start at DE opposite Cheridor, and Julien Laurent starts at NT, but they bring very little to the pass rush game.

Shaw and Payne are all alone at LB. Ed Curney and Niemus Bryant have virtually no experience in game settings, and the entirety of depth at the LB position is nill.

The secondary is a mess as well, as the Panthers projected starters did very little last season. BJ Clay is listed in the second unit as of last week, and is the most experienced returning player with five PBUs last season.

Brandon Wright is back as the Punter, but did little to impress last fall, averaging just 39.84 yards per punt.

2017 Schedule
8/31 Tennessee State, 9/16 at Penn State, 9/23 at Charlotte, 9/30 Memphis, 10/7 at Coastal Carolina, 10/14 at UL-Monroe, 10/21 Troy. 10/26 South Alabama, 11/4 at Georgia Southern, 11/11 at Texas State, 11/25 Appalachian State, 12/2 Idaho

Final Overview
The Panthers very well may end up being the worst team in the Sun Belt this fall. The roster is a bit of a mess, there is almost zero star power on offense, and the defense is only marginally better. Trent Miles was never exactly the right guy for the job, and the talent level has been spotty under his direction, save for Robert Davis at WR, who is now gone. It may take a couple of years to get this machine running, and it may even take longer. Don't expect much of anything this season.

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