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Georgia State Opens Preseason Practice Wednesday
ATLANTA-This time, it’s for real.
Preparations for the inaugural season of Georgia State football begin in earnest as the Panthers officially report Tuesday and then begin practice Wednesday with a 3 p.m. workout at the GSU Practice Complex. The team will have a total of 29 practices before kicking off the season on Thursday, Sept. 2 versus Shorter at the Georgia Dome.
“Everybody in our business loves to compete,” said GSU head coach Bill Curry. “Going on the practice field last year when there was not that normal expectation of another team showing up to play us really felt strange. It felt strange the whole year.
“So this is different, this is real, and this is fun.”
The majority of the squad is already on campus, completing the summer semester, but several newcomers will report for the first time Tuesday, most notably Georgia Tech transfers Joseph Gilbert and Clyde Yandell. The two offensive linemen, both redshirt juniors, are expected to contribute immediately for the Panthers.
Curry noted that his biggest challenge in preparing the squad for its inaugural season is quickly meshing the newcomers with the returnees who have practiced as a team for the last year.
“I think it’s the most complicated scenario I’ve ever dealt with,” he said. “Roughly half of our grant-in-aid players are brand new, and we haven’t seen them on the field since we watched them play last November when we recruited them.
“We’ve got to rapidly assess who can help us, who’s in good enough shape, who the better players are, and then get them in position and go.”
In addition to Gilbert and Yandell, the Panthers also welcome two other transfers from BCS programs in former Alabama quarterback Star Jackson and former Auburn tight end Bailey Woods. Both are enrolled for the summer session so they have participated in voluntary conditioning but have not been on the field with the GSU coaches.
“We have a depth chart, and the new guys are at the bottom, in every case,” said Curry. “When Star Jackson transferred, I told him, ‘I’m not going to promise you anything except an opportunity. We’ve got guys who have been working here for almost a year, and I’m not going to give their job away. And if you win the job, neither would I give your job away a year from now if another hot shot transfer came in.’ Star said, ‘That’s all I ask for, Coach.’ And so have the rest of the transfers.”
The additions of Gilbert, Yandell and Woods should make the Panthers’ offensive front one of the strengths of the team. That trio joins another Division I transfer, center Ben Jacoby, who enrolled last fall after spending his first two years at Ball State, making the offensive line easily the squad’s most experienced area.
“The strength of our team should be the area where we have three I-A transfers, the offensive line,” said Curry. “When you add a Clyde Yandell, a Joseph Gilbert, a Bailey Woods, all of whom have been good at the highest level, they should be able to pick up the system and be a strength for us very quickly.”
Conversely, Curry said, “By far the biggest question mark is what’s going to happen when the lights come on and the ball is kicked because nobody here has played in a game for this team, ever. Most of us have not competed in a game for at least two years. And many more years, in my case.”
Per NCAA rules, the Panthers have a total of 29 preseason practices to prepare for their historic opener. Practices are not open to the public.
Georgia State Athletics