The Georgia State football program got a makeover during the offseason, so don’t be surprised when they look a lot different when they touch the field for the first time against Tennessee State. A lot of the same players are still here from last years team but the differences come in other places. First of all the team will playing in their own stadium now the new Georgia State Stadium.
“Just something to call our home,” senior cornerback Chandon Sullivan said. “Playing in the dome was cool, but it’s hard to fill up the dome because it’s so big, but now we finally have something that we can call our own place and have that home field advantage,”.
Sullivan is one of the top returning players from last years defense, which was pretty good. Last years defense ranked no.46 in the nation in total defense. They lost some of the key contributors from last years defense , Bobby Baker, Alonzo Mcgee, Kaleb Ringer and Shawayne Lawrence are all gone. Baker and Mcgee were the leaders of that defense so now it is up to others to fill those gaps.
“I had my time where I had to follow the seniors, but now i’m a senior so it’s just being more vocal, demanding more from the team and from myself,” Sullivan said.
This years unit will be coached by first-year defensive coordinator Nate Fuqua, who previously coached at Wofford. Although they some of their better players they brought back some of the key contributors, players like, Jerome Smith, Michael Shaw, Trey Payne Chase Middleton, Brian Williams, Marterious Allen, and Mackendy Cheridor. Smith and Sullivan have been rated as one of the better cornerback tandems in the Sun Belt.
The offense last season was a different story, they struggled at the Quarterback position, and couldn’t get anything going on the ground. Last year they only had 1052 yards on the season, and an average of 87.7 per game, which was good for 10th in the conference.
There is hope for this year however, it is the Conner Manning’s second year and even though it’s a new coaching staff that makes a big difference.
“It was a big transition, the culture in Atlanta is a lot different than what i’m used to so it took me awhile to get used to, but second year here you truly build great bonds with some of your teammates, “ Manning said.
This year Manning will be without two of his top weapons from last years team, Keith Rucker and Robert Davis. They do return Penny Hart who missed pretty much all of last year due to injury. They also return top running back Kyler Neal and back up Glenn Smith. Tight end Ari Werts, who was named to the preseason John Mackey award watch list and wide receiver Todd Boyd. The offensive line will once be anchored by Gabe Mobley. The offensive line will be the key to the offense’s success this season, because if they are one dimensional they will struggle mightily.
Despite last year’s mishaps, this team has some talent, they just have to be able to put it all together.