Cobb: Georgia State football needs new voice

Charlie Cobb (left) and Trent Miles, photographed during Cobb’s introductory press conference.

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Charlie Cobb (left) and Trent Miles, photographed during Cobb’s introductory press conference.

Georgia State athletic director Charlie Cobb said he fired football coach Trent Miles on Saturday because things just weren't working and he wants to try to breathe new life into the program in the season's final two games.

“It wasn’t one play, one situation or one game,” Cobb said. “We aren’t playing to our capabilities. A 2-8 record, I don’t think that speaks for the talent on the team.”

Georgia State has games remaining against rival Georgia Southern and at Idaho. Tim Lappano, the wide receivers coach, will be the interim coach . Miles is the first coach Cobb has fired since become athletic director at Georgia State in August 2014.

Cobb said he had conversations with Georgia State President Mark Becker during the week about the direction of the program, and then again following Saturday’s 37-23 loss to the Warhawks.

Cobb said he then met with Miles after the mistake-filled game, and then again for a couple of hours Saturday night. Miles, hired by former athletic director Cheryl Levick following Bill Curry’s retirement in 2012, had a 9-38 record at Georgia State. He led the Panthers to their first and only bowl appearance last year.

“Trent is a first-class guy who ran a first-class program,” Cobb said. “He’s a good football coach, a good family guy.

“His staff, those guys are all good guys, men and coaches with great families. It’s the part that stinks when you evaluate the program, you have to let that fall to the side. Where are the results?”

Miles met with the assistant coaches Sunday morning and the players at lunch time. He said he apologized that many of them had already heard about the decision.

Cobb said he hopes the senior players, including those who have a chance to play in the NFL, will take this difficult situation and use it as a way to show NFL scouts that they can handle adversity.

He said he told the younger players that it’s time to start becoming leaders and that he wants to meet with 2-3 of those leaders next week to discuss what they hope to see in the next coach and staff. He said a few of the players already expressed a wish that strength and conditioning coach Scott Holsopple be retained.

Miles said he hopes the players will play hard in the final two games. He said he’s sure the assistant coaches will.

Cobb said Miles wasn’t able to build on the success the team had last season when a four-game win streak to end the regular season resulted in an invitation to the Cure Bowl.

But as has been the case going back to Curry, the Panthers were rarely able to synchronize good play from its offense, defense and special teams with any consistency under Miles.

“If you are going to be a good team you are going to have to be good in all three phases,” Cobb said. “The back half of last season we had all three working pretty well. We didn’t build off the energy and excitement.”

Cobb said Miles will be owed approximately $250,000. After saying he wanted to rework Miles’ contract following last year’s win over Georgia Southern, the two sides were never able to come to a mutual agreement to extend Miles’ deal, which was going to end after the 2017 season. That is why Miles’ buyout was so low compared to others’.

Cobb said he recognizes and understands that Miles stepped into a difficult situation in Dec. 2012. Georgia State was moving from FCS to FBS without the resources to compete, with an unbalanced roster and without enough inroads to recruting in Georgia. Steps were taken, including building a strength and conditioning center and increasing the size of the coaching and support staff.

The coaches, led by recruiting coordinator P.J. Volker, have improved relations with high school football coaches in the state.

“It’s been kind of a slow drip that things weren’t going to work out the way we hoped,” Cobb said. “It’s not due to effort or anything other than (results) at the end of the day.”

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