ATLANTA--As the Georgia State football team concluded preseason camp with a final scrimmage, the Panther defense was again the story Saturday morning at the GSU Practice Complex.
"I would like to see more from the offense, but I'm really pleased with the defense and the way they are flying around," said head coach Bill Curry. "If one unit is going to be ahead of the other at this point, you want it to be the defense."
While the offense moved the ball, the defense came up with seven turnovers, including six interceptions., two of which came on tipped balls.
"It was some bad decision-making and execution by the offense, but it was also excellent enthusiasm and hustle by the defense," said Curry. "We also had some protection issues, and we held out our top receivers (Albert Wilson and Danny Wilson) to look and some younger guys. Our young receivers will better as a result of this.
"We had several good drives but we didn't sustain enough on offense," added Curry.
One of the standouts for the defense was true freshman linebacker Joseph Peterson of Dothan, Ala., who grabbed an interception in the end zone after the offense had driven down the field on its first possession.
"We have to win the turnover battle, so we focus on that every day," said Peterson.
Arington Jordan, a backup at safety trying to earn playing time, stated his case with a pair of interceptions. Other interceptions were by cornerback Brent McClendon, who grabbed a ball deflected by linebacker Mark Hogan, linebacker Akeen Felder and cornerback Isaiah Howard.
Curry noted that Wil Lutz is the leading candidate to handle kickoffs; the true freshman from Newnan, Ga., blasted the ball to the back of the end zone in the kickoff segment. Sophomore Christian Benvenuto booted a 39-yard field goal.
The Panthers will take off Sunday and Monday, which is the first day of classes, and then return to the practice field Tuesday morning to begin preparations for South Carolina State. GSU hosts the Bulldogs in the season opener on Thursday, Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Georgia Dome.
While there is no practice scheduled for Sunday, the team will take part in the annual GSU Welcome Block Party Sunday afternoon from 4-7 p.m. at Hurt Park. Admission is free, and students, alumni and fans are invited as GSU fall sports teams will be signing autographs, with the football team scheduled for 5-6:30 p.m. The soccer, volleyball and cross country teams will also participate.