Linebackers “fly around” in Georgia State’s scrimmage

Georgia State’s White team defeated the Blue 26-3 in the scrimmage to end the spring practices on Saturday at Panthersville.

Quarterback Aaron Winchester, one of three players competing to win the starting job, had a stellar day in leading the White team to four touchdowns.

The biggest winner may have been the program, which made it through the spring practices with no major injuries as they look to improve upon last year’s 6-7 record and appearance in the Cure Bowl.

“I saw everything I needed to see today,” coach Trent Miles said.

The scrimmage had the following format: the first half was composed of two 15-minute quarters. The second half was two 12-minute quarters. There was a running clock throughout both halves, with the exception of the final two minutes.

Several players were held out of the scrimmage, either for precautionary measures or injuries. That group included tight end Keith Rucker, running backs Taz Bateman and Kendrick Dorn, wide receiver Penny Hart, offensive lineman Michael Ivory and defensive lineman Marterious Allen. Strongside linebacker Michael Shaw didn’t attend the game because he was working on a class project.

The team will open the 2016 season hosting Ball State on Sept. 2 at the Georgia Dome.

Here are is the third in a few observations about the scrimmage:

The third was the linebackers. The coaching staff moved several of the returning linebackers to new positions this spring. Shaw moved from rush end to strongside linebacker. Alonzo McGee moved from strongside linebacker to weakside linebacker. Andrew Everett, a transfer from Old Dominion, moved into rush end.

Linebackers coach P.J. Volker was pleased what what he saw on Saturday.

“There was some good and some bad,” he said. “You want to see guys flying around and making plays.”

It was tough to tell how effective the defense was because the position groups were mixed and matched, putting together some players that don’t usually play together. Justin Otiwu had an interception. McGee was flagged for unnecessary roughness. Georgia State had a few good runs up the middle, and some success on runs to the outside. Those runs might have been limited if Shaw played on Saturday.

Still, Volker said he thought the group played the run well on Saturday, part of a maturation process that he’s seen from the beginning of the spring and is the result of defensive coordinator Jesse Minter’s work.

“From the beginning of the spring, to a man, this team got better,” he said. “Now, we have to make sure that we work daily on being the best version of ourselves when the season starts.”