An improved attitude has helped LynQuez Blair become a go-to receiver for Georgia State’s football team.
Blair, a senior, caught a career-high eight passes, including a key reception in the fourth quarter, in the season-opening 38-37 win over Abilene Christian on Aug. 27. The total tied Robert Davis for the game’s most.
Blair said he had a decent attitude his previous years, but decided that he needed “to grow up” going into his final season.
“I don’t have any more time,” he said. “I need to be a leader to the younger guys. I needed to step up.”
Blair, a native of Swainsboro, appeared in 23 games the past three years, catching 16 passes for 145 yards and no touchdowns.
He consistently was singled out by coaches and teammates for his attitude, work ethic and results during the spring and fall practices.
“An old coach once told me to believe what you see,” offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski said. “He started showing up in the spring and once again in the fall.”
Blair said he doesn’t regret not working as hard in past years as he is now, but said he has learned from his mistakes and will keep moving forward.
Robinson produces: Like Blair, senior outside linebacker Jarrell Robinson is another player who stepped out of the shadows to have a breakout performance in last week’s win.
Robinson had both of Georgia State’s sacks as well as two more tackles for loss. He also broke up a pass.
“I was OK with it,” Robinson said. “There are a lot of things I can work on.”
Defensive coordinator Jesse Minter agreed, saying Robinson was very disruptive and won the one-on-one situations. But Minter also noted that Robinson had no more tackles other than those four.
Still, it was a good start for a player who has three sacks the previous three years.
Robinson said he needs to do a better job with footwork and techniques so that he can put himself into position to make more plays.
Hammon’s role: Next to quarterback Nick Arbuckle, freshman running back Krysten Hammon may have been the breakout performer on offense.
Hammon rushed for 74 yards on 13 carries, and Jagodzinski noted “he’s very quick through the hole, and he’s got some vision we haven’t seen for a while around here.”
But Hammon has to hold onto the ball and stay on the field. He recovered his own fumble before a quad strain forced him to miss most of the second and third quarters.
Hammon wasn’t the only running back who impressed.
Jagodzinski and coach Trent Miles said they thought sophomore Kyler Neal also played well, particularly in pass protection, other than losing a fumble when an opponent’s helmet slammed into his right elbow and the ball in the second quarter. Neal lost a few fumbles last season, too.
Lutz’s life: A few social-media things changed for kicker Wil Lutz in the hours following his game-winning 26-yard field goal.
He said he received 25 texts, 62 tweets and doubled his Instagram followers to 720 in the hours after helping the Panthers break their 16-game losing streak.
Injury update: Listed as questionable are starting offensive tackle A.J. Kaplan (ankle) and safety LaDarion Young (neck). Kaplan sustained an ankle injury on the second play of the game, but stayed on the field.
Should Kaplan not be able to play, Steve Wolgamott (knee) will start. Wolgamott has missed the past two weeks of practice, but is listed as probable. Another offensive lineman, Taylor Evans (elbow) is questionable. Running back Jonathan Jean-Bart (ankle) should return.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.