The Georgia State Panthers’ Defensive Growing Pains

Ab Stanley

The Georgia State Panthers dropped their third straight game, losing to the Western Michigan Broncos 34-15. It was their first home loss of the season and it continued a trend the team would like to break.

Broncos quarterback Jon Wassink looked way too comfortable in the pocket, throwing for 234 yards and three touchdowns. He attacked the secondary quite a bit on the edges and he hit wide receiver Jayden Reed (seven catches,107 yards) for most of them. Wassink and the other quarterbacks that have played the Panthers this season have had good passing numbers.

Georgia State is allowing 282 pass yards and about three passing touchdowns per game. The mix of younger defenders having to play big minutes and a severe lack of pass rush has given opponents too much time to throw the football.

The secondary is filled with first year players including true freshman Quavian White and Jacory Crawford and redshirt freshman Jaylen Jones. Head coach Shawn Elliot was asked about his young secondary and he had this to say:

“You have to look at it and your gonna say OK: they’ve got to improve on their fundamentals, they’ve got to improve on their eyes, their sight, and they got to get experience. “For the most part, coach Elliot liked their performance, noting they tackled much better this week than in previous weeks.

The pass rush may be an even bigger concern for the team. Georgia State has racked up only two sacks on the season and none in the last three games. Coach Elliot was asked about his concerns on the lack of pass rush, “As young as our DB’s are, the lack of pass rush is a huge concern. You look at a guy like Michael Shaw (he) has in the past had the ability to rush the passer. Marterious Allen, you know those guys have played a lot of ball and I would  like to see a little bit more effort, a little more enthusiasm, a little bit more want to. It’s a methodical push but that’s a concerning factor.”

Coach Elliot seemed very enthusiastic however about the future of the season as the team will now enter it’s games versus the Sun Belt conference. “We got a conference (schedule) ahead of us. They weren’t gonna crown us anything by winning these first four games. We couldn’t win anything. We would’ve been champions of nothing, champions of a non conference schedule. ”

He went on to say,  “So we have an opportunity to go out there and play for conference title it starts next week. We do have an opportunity, this is conference season coming up, this is championship football that were fixing to play and it certainly raises the level. Not that these games weren’t weren’t important, don’t misunderstand what I’m trying to say, but it is conference season now they award you at the end for this.”

The Panthers will need to improve versus the passing game of they do want to win the sunbelt conference. At 1-3 they are only two games out of first place. The Panthers have played ten true freshman overall during the season and they will need all of them to grow up a little bit faster if they want to finish with a winning record.

Ab Stanley

Atlanta, GA

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