Air Force's Devin Rushing (5) dives for the end zone after being hit by Georgia State's Bruce Dukes (27) in the Panthers' loss Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Photo: Johnny Crawford / AP
Photo: Johnny Crawford / AP

Fixing Georgia State’s mistakes will start in practice

Team leaders Nick Arbuckle and Joseph Peterson said the key to eliminating the mistakes that have cost Georgia State a chance at winning its past two games will start this week in practice.

The Panthers were defeated by Air Force 48-38 on Saturday at the Georgia Dome. They were undone, just as in the previous week’s loss to New Mexico State, by critical mistakes at critical times: hands-to-the face penalties, facemask penalties, holding penalties, intentional grounding penalties, poor technique, watching the ball instead of the player….it’s a long list.

Georgia State can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. That’s especially true when considering the team will play its first road game of the season at Washington on Saturday.

And, no offense to the Aggies or Falcons, but they aren’t the Huskies, which aren’t having an impressive season but are still a Pac-12 team with two national championship trophies in their large cabinet.

“Big competition, big level,” running back Kyler Neal said. “You’ve got to be ready to play. That’s what you come for.”

Being ready to play has been the Panthers’ issue, specifically on defense.

The fix will begin as soon as the team gathers for its next practice.

Arbuckle and Peterson said they want the team to practice perfectly.

Just because there aren’t officials at practice doesn’t mean the players should try to get away with shortcuts, according to the duo.

No more hands to the face in practices.

No more holds against receivers in practices.

No more of any of the issues that killed the team’s chances of beating New Mexico Sate and Air Force.

“You have to realize that you have to practice perfectly,” Arbuckle said. “You have to practice as if it was a game. You will cost the team a series, you will cost the team points if you hold, if you jump offside.”

Arbuckle said the offense had several false starts during last week’s practices. Though there were none in Saturday’s loss, the offense did commit mistakes in crucial times.

“We have reps in practice; you can’t hold and expect to hold (in games) and it not be called,” Arbuckle said.

Like Arbuckle, Peterson said he is seeing too many mistakes being made by his teammates in practice with little worry.

“Stop letting it go,” he said.

Coach Trent Miles chalks some of the errors up to the team’s lack of experience. They are learning how to practice. They are learning how to play. Just six seniors receive meaningful snaps. The offensive line features three starters seeing their first extended time on the FBS level. The defensive line starts three sophomores. The secondary is playing together for the first time.

While true, it doesn’t explain some of the mistakes aren’t made because of a lack of experience. Some are made because of a lack of execution.

Miles said the execution will improve.

“We have a very good football team that just happens to be very , very young,” he said. “Young guys have to go through their learning experiences. We know how to win, we’ve won and we will win games.”

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