Some distance between the four candidates — Emiere Scaife, Conner Manning, Aaron Winchester and Brett Sheehan — could start to appear after Saturday’s scrimmage. They are battling to replace Nick Arbuckle, who was named the Sun Belt Conference student-athlete of the year after passing for more than 4,300 yards last season.
“We are seeing them start to improve everyday,” Miles said.
Scaife, a sophomore, and Manning, a transfer from Utah, have spent the most time of the quarter with the first-string offense. Winchester, a redshirt freshman, has spent some time and Sheehan, who transferred to Georgia State from South Alabama before last season, not as much time.
The scrimmage is important because it will be the first extended time that any of them have been able to take what they are watching on film, drawing on the white boards and analyzing in practice drills, and put that knowledge and skill into use in a live setting. Scaife and Manning have the most game experience of the group, but that’s still just a handful of plays.
The winner will lead an offense that returns seven starters, including three starters on the offensive line and more who made some starts last year. They will also have four running backs who played last year, three tight ends and numerous all-conference wide receivers. The offense averaged 26.9 points and 432.8 yards per game for a team that went 6-7 and appeared in its first bowl game.
“They are picking up a better understanding of what happens once the ball is snapped,” Miles said.