Trent Miles and the Panthers may have lost their first game, however, I am not willing to write them off just yet. Look at last season, the Panthers lost their first game to Charlotte and ended up bowl eligible. Arkansas State lost their first two games last season and wound up Sun Belt champions. An early season loss doesn’t define who your team will be by year’s end.
What needs fixing?
If the Panthers want to turn their season around their line play has to improve. With the depth and experience they brought back this year, there is no reason why the Panthers shouldn’t be able to run the football. Ball state is not a bad football team, however, 77 yards rushing, more than half of which came from Aaron Winchester in one quarter of play, is unacceptable.
Coach Miles needs to make a decision on the starting quarterback. I personally believe Winchester gives the offense a better chance at moving the ball with his ability to run. If the Panthers could find that running game, defenses would have to dedicate more men to the box, which leaves Robert Smith and Penny Hart in man to man coverage. I like Manning’s ability to throw the football, however, he is not a threat in the zone read scheme. If Miles starts Connor Manning, he may create packages for Aaron Winchester to help bolster their rushing attack. It has been done before, Urban Meyer did it at Florida with Chris Leak and Tim Tebow; Bob Stoops did it at Oklahoma with Trevor Knight and Blake Bell.
I am not too worried about the Panthers’ defense. I know 325 rushing yards allowed sounds bad but lets take a look at that.
Going in to halftime the Panthers’ defense had only given up 64 rushing yards. Ball State’s time of possession was 15:54 in the first half. Georgia State’s T.O.P. was 24:04 for the entire game!
Georgia State gave up 261 yards rushing in the second half. Ball State’s T.O.P. was 20:02. The Cardinals first two drives in the second half lasted for 4.07 minutes and 7.45 minutes. Georgia State’s defense was exhausted by the time the 4th quarter came around. In the 4th quarter alone, the Panthers gave up 141 yards rushing.
I am not worried about the Panthers defense. Coach Minter’s group was on the field all night, they simply ran out of gas. If Georgia State’s offense can sustain drives and keep the defense off of the field, I think they will be fine. When fresh, this group is solid. The first two drives of the game for Ball State ended in interceptions by Jerome Smith.
What your opinion heard?!
I am doing a new segment from now on called “What the fans are saying”. I will be choosing the best comments, predictions, etc. from the fans and adding them to the game preview each week. If you are a Georgia State fan I want to hear what you have to say! Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below, or tweet them to me @antmess4. Make sure to check back on Friday to see if yours was chosen!