Georgia State’s football team wrapped up its camp on Thursday with the offense putting in arguably its best performance since practice began two weeks ago.
Wide receiver Kam Myers, lined up in the slot, made two terrific catches. Robert Davis made another. But the real bright spot may have been how good the running game looked. Running backs Kyler Neal, Kendrick Dorn and Taz Bateman made solid run after solid run during a four-minute drill in which the offense was tasked with running out the clock.
“Today was one of our best practices,” offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski said. “We looked really good. The defense did some really good things. We saw some looks that we made some checks on, and executed it the way we are supposed to. So I was really pleased with today.”
Georgia State has struggled to run the ball the past two years, which is why the success the group had early Tuesday and then again Thursday is a reason for optimism as the team starts to prepare on Monday for the season-opening game against Charlotte on Sept. 4 at the Georgia Dome.
The running backs were led by some different combinations on the offensive line and not by the projected starting five of Michael Ivory, Kelepi Folau, Taylor Evans, Alex Stoehr and Sebastian Willer.
Instead, Dom Roldan, Davis Moore, Jah-Mai Davidson and Akil Hawkins took turns with the first teamers.
Myers’ first big play came in on a seven-on-seven drill in which he caught a long pass over the shoulder and along the sideline.
“That was Coach (Tim) Lappano getting in my head,” Myers said. “The whole time in the film room I was thinking I need to make a play so when the ball was in the air I made a play on it. It was something special to do.”
The second came in the 11-on-11. The play was “four verticals.” The safeties were split wide, Myers found a seam and quarterback Nick Arbuckle hit him in the chest for what would have been a short pass and long run for a touchdown.
“He’s come a long way in a short time,” Jagodzinski said. “We expect big things out of him. His speed is very, very good.”
Myers was recruited by former assistant coach Ronnie Fouch. Myers said he signed with Georgia State because the coaching staff continued to recruit him even after his tore his ACL last year while playing at East Mississippi Community College.
The foot injury suffered by Donovan Harden has given Myers a chance to get more snaps in the slot.
“It adds weapons to our offense,” Myers said of the opportunity.
Defense post-camp: Defensive coordinator Jesse Minter was also pleased with the progress his group made during camp.
Because most of the players were on campus during the spring semester, he said they used the spring session to install most of the base defense. After reviewing that early during camp, they began installing the rest of the defense.
“Guys have done a great job picking it up,” Minter said. “There’s been good back and forth between the offense and defense, which I think good teams have. Really look forward to seeing how this group performs when the light goes on Sept. 4.”
The group returns 28 letterwinners and eight starters from the group that allowed 43.3 points and 497.1 yards per game last year.
Zeigler out: Long-snapper Daniel Zeigler is likely out for the season after a blood clot was removed from his right arm.
Numerous teammates and coaches came up to him during Thursday’s practice to say they were glad to see him.
Zeigler, a redshirt sophomore, signed with Georgia State as an offensive lineman before becoming the long-snapper.
Trey Payne and Lucas Johnson are competing to hand the short-snapping duties, and Seth-Patrick Holman doing the long snaps.
More injuries: Starting cornerback Bruce Dukes and back-up running back Marcus Caffey continued to be held out of practice.
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