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A positive look at Panther football

The good things about Georgia State football besides doubling the win total.

The 2015 season began with talk by the players of becoming bowl eligible for the first time in the history of Georgia State’s football program.  The Panthers are now seven games into the season and things are not going as well as team hoped sitting on  a 2-5 record and losing two out of their first three games in Sun Belt conference play..

Members of the sports media are going to look at the season, point to the number of losses, possibly question the future of Head Coach, Trent Miles, and add any negative spin they can find. There will even be those questioning, including myself, whether this team has improved or regressed as the season continues.

When things do not go your way, however, sometimes it is best to focus on the positives. After all, it cannot all be bad for the Panthers right? While they are preparing for Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov.7 at the Georgia Dome, the Panthers have shown some positive signs of life… statistically speaking.

According to statistics from the NCAA Georgia State ranks 17th in net punting and 13th in passing with average of 335.9 passing yards per game.Several Panthers rank among the nation’s elite making the top 25 nationally in several categories:

Quarterback, Nick Arbuckle (#4) is eighth in the nation in passing yards per games (335.9), 12th in completions per game (24.6), 13th in total offense, and 25th in points responsible for per game.

Kicker, WIll Lutz (#96) is 10th in nation in punting with 1582 yards in 35 kicks. Linebacker, Joseph Peterson (#6) is ranked seventh for total tackles (78) and tied for eighth for solo tackles (45) and his partner in crime, Alonzo McGee (#4) is 23rd in the country for tackles for a loss (10). Tight End, Joel Ruiz (#8) was considered by ESPN’s Mel Kiper as a Top 5 tight end in the upcoming NFL draft before he was lost for the season

Ben Cohen of PantherTalk.com and Chris Hillyard of the Daily Citizen discussed on the PantherTalk.com podcast about how Gabe Mobley (#72) of Moultrie, Ga was considered one of the top 20 centers in the entire country.  Very high praise considering the number of elite centers that are in the power 5 conferences.

During the SunBelt teleconference, I asked Coach Miles to point to some areas where positive things are happening with the program both on and off the field.

“Our kids are competing very hard not just on the field but in the classroom,” said Miles, “We want to get to the point to where people are talking about us on the field and not what we are doing off the field.”

You might think that the lack of wins has the team hanging their heads.  Not according to Coach Miles.  “Our kids are high character guys that are fighting to put themselves into positions to win some football games and not discouraged in any way,” said Miles.

Winning matters, and to most fans, are the only positive that matters.  The Panthers made a trip to Muncie, Ind. to face the Ball State Cardinals on Oct. 17 and returned with a 31-19 victory and a little conference revenge over the MAC conference.

Miles message to his team as they prepared for Ball State was to get out of the mode of playing not to lose and that he wants his team to just relax and have fun. In order for this team to finish the season on a positive note… maybe relaxing and having fun is exactly what this team needs.The Panthers have a chance to rebound from their 48-34 loss to Arkansas State and turn things around when they return home to play Louisiana-Lafayette at the dome on Nov. 7.

About Woody Bass

Woody Bass is a staff writer at The Collegian.

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