ATLANTA — Now more than one-third of the way through spring practice, Georgia State head coach Trent Miles continues to see progress as his Panthers prepare for the 2014 season.
The Panthers will practice Friday afternoon at the GSU Practice Complex and then hold an open scrimmage Saturday at McEachern High School in Powder Springs from 3-4:30 p.m. Admission and parking are free.
“We’re excited to take our team out to Cobb County,” head coach Trent Miles said at Thursday’s practice. “It’s open to everyone, and we hope a lot of folks will come out and see us. We can’t scrimmage too much because of our depth, but we will play football. Plus it’s good for our young men to see something new.”
Georgia State also has open scrimmages scheduled for Saturday, April 5 from 3-4:30 p.m. at Lanier High School in Gwinnett County and Saturday, April 12, from 12-1:30 p.m. at Panthersville.
“Spring is going very well,” Miles continue. “We don’t have a lot of depth at some positions, but we have a lot of young men who are working hard and getting better. They are a closer-knit group that really bonded through the winter workouts.
“We’re bigger, we’re stronger, and we’re faster. We are limited on depth, but the kids are fighting and practicing hard and doing what we ask.”
The Panthers are working with four quarterbacks this spring with returnees Ronnie Bell and Ben McLane, both juniors, sophomore Clay Chastain coming off a redshirt year, and junior college transfer Nick Arbuckle.
“It will be competition all the way through,” Miles said. “I like what I see so far. Nothing is perfect, but we are getting better.”
Another focus is on rebuilding the offensive line and working in three junior college transfers: 6-4, 285-pound Taylor Evans, 6-5, 360-pound Michael Ivory and 6-6, 315-pound Steve Wolgamott.
“We’ve expanded our individual periods to give Coach [Harold] Etheridge to work on fundamentals,” Miles said. “It’s really paying off. We are much better with our footwork. If we can get some continuity up front, we’ll be okay.”
On the defensive side, Miles looks for continued development from young players like rising sophomores Mackendy Cheridor at outside linebacker and Shawayne Lawrence on the defensive line, who both showed tremendous potential playing as true freshmen last fall.
“Mackendy is up to about 260 pounds and he can run,” Miles said. “He looks like what you play with at the next level. We are looking for big things from both of those guys. I’m hoping they will be the staple of the defense for the next few years.”