Georgia State coach Trent Miles was very pleased Friday with this team’s first practice of preseason camp.
“They looked like they have been together all summer, like they studied the playbook. They looked faster, and they looked better,” Miles said.
It wasn’t perfect.
A few players dropped passes, a few players fumbled and a few players didn’t line up correctly. Most of the mistakes were made by the freshmen.
But for a first day, Miles and his assistants were happy.
“The effort was there. Flying around was there and the conditioning was there,” Miles said.
Because of the work done by the players during the spring and summer, Miles said the team should have the playbook installed by the third practice.
That knowledge was evident in the amount of work done Friday.
“We ran 96 plays in 40 minutes,” Miles said. “Ninety-six plays for us in 40 minutes is pretty good.”
Among the highlights:
- Avery Sweeting caught a long pass from Nick Arbuckle.
- Donovan Harden had a nice catch, again from Arbuckle.
- Linebacker Sean Jeppesen intercepted a pass after it was tipped.
- Lynquez Blair caught a pass in traffic.
- Desi Banks adjusted to an underthrown pass and made the catch.
- Freshman Emiere Scaife, who looks like a linebacker, threw a bullet to Joel Brooks.
“We’ve got some guys who can run, and that’s what we are excited about, on defense and offense,” Miles said.
Assessing the offensive line: Position coach Harold Etheridge likes the depth and versatility of the players in his group.
Four of the starting five, as of now, are Michael Ivory, A.J. Kaplan, Taylor Evans and Steve Wolgamott. Tim Wynn and Ronald Martin took turns at center Friday. Kaplan and Evans can play guard or tackle. Behind them, Kaplan said the team is deep along the interior, with Garrett Gorringe, Alex Stoehr and Mark Ruskell.
Two solid lines are much different than last season. At one point the team was down to its fifth center because of injuries and defections.
Last season’s line struggled in the run game and pass protection. The team gave up the most sacks in the conference (32) and had the lowest per-game rushing average (102.2 yards per game).
Kaplan said this year’s line is more competitive and closer than last year’s. He said there was “a discrepancy” between the older players and the younger players.
Etheridge said the rest of the practices will be spent on mastering fundamentals, learning the offense and completing the depth chart.
“I like competition, and we’ve got that now,” he said.
Schedule: Georgia State’s practice schedule is as follows (dates and times may change):
Saturday: 10-11:30 a.m.; Sunday: 10:-11:30 a.m.; Monday: 10-11:30 a.m.; Tuesday: 10-11:30 a.m.; Wednesday: 9:45 a.m., 6:45 p.m.; Thursday: 10:15 a.m.; Friday: 9:45 a.m., 6:45 p.m.; Aug. 11: 9:45 a.m., 6:45 p.m.; Aug. 12: 10:15 a.m.; Aug. 13: 9:45 a.m., 6:45 p.m.; Aug. 14: 10:15 a.m. Aug. 15: 9:45 a.m., 6:45 p.m.; Aug. 16: 10:15 a.m.; Aug. 18: 9:45 a.m., 6:45 p.m.; Aug. 22: 9:45 a.m.; Aug. 23: 9:45 a.m.; Aug. 24: 9:45 a.m.; Aug. 25: 10 a.m.; Aug. 26: 10:45 a.m.