Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott has seen “consistent” improvements in his quarterback and wide receiver play during his team’s non-conference games.
Elliott hopes to utilize this consistency on offense Saturday against his team’s first Sun Belt Conference opponent, Louisiana-Monroe.
“We have the ability with some of our height and our quickness in our wide receivers that we need to spread some people out and do some things,” Elliott said. “I think Dan (Ellington) makes good decisions, and he has the ability to get out of some situations with his scrambling ability.”
In his first four games as a Panther, quarterback Dan Ellington threw for 773 yards and three touchdowns. On the ground, Ellington had 147 yards and three touchdowns.
“I thought this week I trusted my offensive line a lot,” Ellington said. “I sat in there and I was just reading my keys, just letting the ball go and giving it to my guys.”
Although the Panthers’ offense has produced 1,319 yards, the defense has allowed 2,130 yards in four games. Against Western Michigan, the defense struggled to stop the Broncos’ run, allowing 294 rushing yards.
“I feel like a lot of guys were struggling mentally,” linebacker Chase Middleton said. “We just have to keep moving forward. The big thing we’re focusing on is letting loose, having everybody run to the ball on every play at practice.”
The Panthers have played twelve freshmen this season, including cornerback Quavian White and safety Jacorey Crawford. Middleton, a senior, gave the young players one piece of advice ahead of conference play: communicate.
“That’s the biggest thing is to make sure everyone is on the same page,” Middleton said. “If you get to the sideline and things are not looking the way you thought it would, talk to coaches and other teammates to make sure everyone is on the same page and get back out there.”
After giving up big plays against Western Michigan, Elliott wants his defense to regain focus, starting up front.
“It all starts up front with our defensive linemen, our two linebackers and our interior linebackers,” Elliott said. “We’ve got to put them in better situations to make plays, but ultimately they have to learn to play off their feet. They need to escape blocks, and they need to make their tackles.”
After losing three of its first four games of the season, Ellington said the Panthers’ goals are clear heading into the conference schedule.
“Everybody knows we’re 0-0 now,” Ellington said. “Everybody knows what we want and that’s the Sun Belt championship.”