Georgia State coach Trent Miles said his team can try to do a lot of things to fool Samford quarterback Andy Summerlin when the teams play Friday night at the Georgia Dome, but he’s not sure any of them will work.
It will be tough because Summerlin is in his sixth season of college football. Injuries robbed him of two years.
“He’s very smart,” Georgia State cornerback Brent McClendon said. “He knows what he’s doing. Playing six years, that gives you an advantage on a lot of things: knowing where to go with the ball, knowing who to throw to, not to throw to, what checks to make, what runs to call. He’s a good general on the football field.”
Summerlin, 6-foot-4, 219 pounds, enrolled in Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College in 2008, but an injury to the labrum in his right shoulder forced him to miss the season. He played in 2009, setting a school record with 2,302 passing yards. He transferred to Memphis, but reinjured the labrum, forcing him to miss 2010. He played for the Tigers in 2011, passing for 469 yards, and then transferred to Samford in 2012. He started 11 games last season, completing 244 of 365 passes for 2,269 yards and 10 touchdowns. The school asked the NCAA to grant him a sixth year, and it was accepted.
Summerlin isn’t the Bulldogs’ only weapon.
The Bulldogs also feature running back Fabian Truss, who rushed for 1,063 yards last season. Miles called him a fantastic running back.
Miles demeanor: The Miles that some see during practice — the one who doesn’t need a bullhorn to make his point, and he often has a point — isn’t the one fans will see during game days, according to linebacker Tarris Batiste.
Batiste is the only player on Georgia State’s roster who would know: He played for Miles at Indiana State before transferring to the Panthers.
“He’s very calm on game day,” Batiste said. “During the week, he’s more enthusiastic.”
Instead, Batiste said the assistant coaches who worked with Miles at Indiana State and who are at Georgia State will be the ones to raise the energy level.
“They (will) speak for coach Miles,” he said. “They try to get everybody up, get their hearts racing.”
Coaching adjustments: Miles praised his staff during a news conference Tuesday, saying he’s not sure there’s another group of coaches that can make adjustments as quickly as they can.
He said he and offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski estimated that the staff has accumulated more than 1 million snaps of experience in practices and games on the college level. Offensive line coach Harold Etheridge, defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, defensive line coach Shannon Jackson and linebackers coach P.J. Volker worked with Miles at Indiana State. The staff has more than 85 years of experience as college coaches. Much of that experience comes from Etheridge, Jagodzinski, Jackson and Williams.
“I figure we can be prepared for anything,” Miles said.
Miles cited the point difference in the second half of games as evidence. The Sycamores outscored opponents by 18 points in the second half last year. Indiana State doesn’t post score-by-quarter stats for the 2010 and ’11 seasons.
Evans out: Running back Travis Evans has been suspended for Friday’s game for what Miles said was a violation of team rules that occurred during the spring. Evans, a senior, rushed for 323 yards last season.
Mile said Georgia State will use a committee of running backs Friday, including Gerald Howse, Duvall Smith and Kyler Neal.
Neal may be the surprise of the group because he is a freshman. The other two are upperclassmen.
Neal said his size and his belief in himself are helping him. The East Paulding High alum is 5-11, 215.
“For me, to play football you have to have self-confidence,” he said. “You have to go out there thinking that you are one of the best.”
Neal is one of 12 freshmen who are listed on the depth chart for Friday’s game.
Ludacris: Rapper Ludacris, an Atlanta resident who attended Georgia State, will present the game ball Friday. He also is scheduled to be near the students before the game.
Ludacris also will host a charity basketball game at the GSU Sports Arena on Sunday. Tickets for the basketball game are $15 and can be purchased at Georgia State’s ticket office or through the website of Ludacris’ label, Disturbing tha Peace, at www.dtprecords.com. Doors open at 2 p.m. Proceeds from the weekend will go toward the Ludacris Foundation, which serves Atlanta youth.