Running backs perform well in Georgia State 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 is the second of few observations about the scrimmage:

The running backs. The Panthers are deep at running back, so much so that Miles said they will share the carries during the season.

Most of those in the group didn’t play as if they wanted to share on Saturday.

Glenn Smith had 10 carries for 65 yards, including two runs of 22 yards and then 11 yards in which he broke several tackles on on his first series. He also caught three passes for 21 yards.

Demarcus Kirk had nine carries for 47 yards. He also ran hard, breaking a few tackles on a 13-yard run that set up first-and-goal.

Kyler Neal had six carries for 20 yards, but also caught a 6-yard touchdown pass.

Walk-on Maurice Launchner likely won’t play much, but he had seven carries for 29 yards.

“I thought our backs ran well,” offensive coordinator Luke Huard said. “It was a base offense, base defense, but it’s good to see us be physical. I thought our running backs really ran downhill hard.”

Miles wants the team to be able to run the ball, something it hasn’t been able to consistently do his previous three seasons as coach. The team averaged less than 100 rushing yards per game last season.