ATLANTA — Georgia State’s offense showed progress, particularly in the running game, while the defense continued to perform well in the Panthers’ second preseason scrimmage, held Saturday morning at the GSU Practice Complex.
The Panthers are just 11 days away from their Aug. 27 season opener, when Georgia State hosts Abilene Christian at the Georgia Dome.
“I thought we started slow, but once we got going, we were able to run the ball,” head coach Trent Miles said. “We wanted this to be more of a run scrimmage, and once they settled in, we were able to run the ball. The defense did a good job for the most part, except for a few breakdowns where somebody wasn’t in the right coverage or the right gap.
“We’re a fast football team,” Miles added. “Our kids move around pretty good. But we’ve got a lot of small details that we’ve got to clean up.”
Senior running back Duvall Smith was the leading rusher in the scrimmage, going for 102 yards on nine carries, highlighted by runs of 47 and 27 yards. He scored on a four-yard rush
“Duvall did a good job of being patient and hitting the holes and hanging onto the ball,” Miles said.
True freshman Krysten Hammon, who had missed several practices due to injury, rushed for 79 yards, but he did fumble once. Sophomore Kyler Neal gained some tough yards, finishing with 33 yards on 10 carries.
Quarterback Nick Arbuckle, the junior college transfer from Pierce (Calif.) College, completed nine of 13 passes for 111 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown pass to LynQuez Blair. He also hit tight end Keith Rucker with a 37-yard completion down to the four-yard linen to set up another score.
Ronnie Bell, last year’s starter under center, was 7-for-13 for 96 yards.
“We got better from last week’s scrimmage,” Arbuckle said. “We did a good job of using our protections to pick up the blitzes. Overall it was just a better performance.
“We will keep working on our tempo and continue to establish an identity on offense,” Arbuckle added.
Robert Davis, the Panthers’ top returning receiver, had four catches for 24 yards. True freshman Todd Boyd had catches of 27, 22 and 15 yards.
NOTING THE PANTHERS …
· Safety Nate Simon, a junior college transfer from Golden West (Calif.) College who is working with the first team, had an interception and a sack in the scrimmage.
· Fullback Jonathan Lytle had a one-yard touchdown run and Nick Simmons added a three-yard scoring jaunt.
· Shawayne Lawrence, the sophomore defensive end, batted down two passes at the line of scrimmage.
· New Athletic Director Charlie Cobb attended and addressed the team briefly following the scrimmage.