Defense dominates Georgia State’s short scrimmage

Georgia State’s defense dominated the offense in Saturday’s rain-shortened scrimmage at the team’s practice facility.

The offense didn’t post a first down until its fifth series. The defense quickly answered, with Nate Anthony intercepting a pass from Ben McLane and returning it for a touchdown.

“We have to figure out who is going to step up and play this game with intensity and passion,” coach Trent Miles said. “They are going to have to learn you have to go out and turn it up at times.”

Rain and lightning rolled in 45 minutes into the practice at 7 p.m., postponing the scrimmage until 9 a.m. Sunday. Miles said the team ran 33 plays. They hope to run a minimum of 80 on Sunday.

Before the stoppage, freshman wide receiver Robert Davis caught two passes for 23 yards.

In the quarterback competition, Bell was 5-of-10 for 32 yards. McLane was 0-of-5, and Clay Chastain was 1-of-4.

“I’m getting more comfortable as I go along,” Bell said before the scrimmage Friday. “The coach is trusting us to make plays.”

Bell said the offense still needs to develop consistency, a belief further supported by the poor start in Saturday’s scrimmage.

The defense tipped numerous passes, recovered at least one fumble and had chances to make more than the one interception. Jarrell Robinson had two tackles for loss.

“I’m looking for intensity, for hitting, for blocking, for tackling,” Miles said. “I’m looking for execution and guys playing the right way. I don’t think we were at that level on both sides of the ball today.”

King out again: Offensive tackle Grant King, who has started every game at right tackle for the previous three seasons, didn't participate in Saturday's scrimmage. He was held out for the same academic-related issue that prevented him from participating in the first few practices.

Miles said King is appealing the issue to the NCAA and won’t be allowed to participate until the NCAA makes a ruling.

“It’s a very hard lesson for a young man to learn not to handle his business,” Miles said. “It’s a part of the growing-up process: When you make decisions as you get older, they not only affect you but they affect your whole family. This affects our whole team.”

A.J. Kaplan started at right tackle instead.

Freshmen on defense: Led by a pair of unrelated Lawrences, Shawayne and Jalen, at least nine freshmen are putting themselves into position to earn playing time in the front seven of the defense.

Shawayne is a 6-4, 255-pound defensive lineman whom defensive coordinator Jesse Minter said might be the biggest surprise of the first-year players.

“You don’t know when watching the film that he’s a freshman,” Minter said. “He’s as physical as anybody we have on the defensive line.”

Minter said Lawrence has an explosiveness honed by being a wrestler and shot-put competitor at Eagle’s Landing High School.

Minter said that Jalen Lawrence, a 6-1, 280-pound defensive lineman, also has performed well.

“(He’s) built for what we want to do,” Minter said. “He can occupy people and get off and make plays.”

Minter also complimented three defensive linemen: Tevin Jones (6-4, 260), Carnell Hopson (6-2, 250) and Will Cunningham (6-1, 270).

“Carnell and Will have great motors,” Minter said. “That’s why they make plays.”

Kight Dallas, a 6-1, 230-pound linebacker, has received snaps with the first or second teams, as has Mackendy Cheridor, a 6-4, 245-pound defensive lineman, Trey Payne, a 6-0, 230-pound linebacker and Jameel Spencer, a 6-1, 210-pound linebacker.

Injuries: Defensive linemen John Kelly, Nermin Delic and Joe Lockley, linebacker Bryan Williams and wide receiver Danny Williams didn't participate in Saturday's scrimmage because of what Miles described as minor injuries.