ATLANTA--The Georgia State football program opens its first spring practice under new head coach Trent Miles on Wednesday, the first of 15 practice sessions that will culminate with the April 20 Spring Scrimmage at the Georgia Dome.
Wednesday's first workout is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at the GSU Practice Complex as the Panthers prepare for a 2013 season that will see them move to the Sun Belt conference and the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
The Panthers return 46 letterwinners and 17 starters from 2012, but with a new coaching staff and the step up in competition, there is no established depth chart and every job is open.
"We want to have an open mind to everything," said Miles, who takes over the GSU program after a remarkable rebuilding job in five seasons at Indiana State. "We want to make our own evaluations and find out who fits where, how they fit our scheme and how our scheme can be adjusted to fit their talents."
No where will that be evident than at the quarterback position, where Georgia State returns sophomores Ben McLane, who started seven games, and Ronnie Bell, who started four, and also adds junior college transfer Clay Chastain from Georgia Military College. Senior Kelton Hill, who played quarterback and wide receiver last fall, will work at safety this spring.
"Everybody is going to get equal reps, and we’re going to find out who can perform, who can execute the offense and lead the team," said Miles.
The focus for the Panthers will be on laying a solid foundation for the program as it moves into its next phase.
"My expectation is for this team to learn how to compete at the Division I level," said Miles. "Playing hard and playing with passion should be a given, and we have to learn how to compete to win games at this level. It’s not going to happen overnight. You have to teach them how to compete at that level, teach them to win at that level, teach them to expect to win at that level."
Miles and his staff, which includes former National Football League assistant coach Jeff Jagodzinski as offensive coordinator and Jesse Minter as defensive coordinator, had an opportunity to work with the team in the off-season program but this will be the first football-specific work.
"Winter workouts have gone extremely well," said Miles. "The idea was to condition them to play football, establish a sense of mental toughness and physical toughness, make gains in the weight room, strength-wise, and improve our agility, and find out about each other.
"We tried to establish discipline and paying attention to detail. Now it’s time to get to the real football part and see who can do what.
"I want to them get a great knowledge of our system, scheme-wise," he continued. "It’s an evaluation of what each player can do. And I want to figure out who is tough and who’s not. It’s an evaluation every day, mentally and physically."
Season tickets are on sale now for the 2013 Georgia State football season, featuring seven home games at the Georgia Dome. Call 866-GA-STATE.
SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE (Subject to change)
Mar. 27 (Wed.), 9:30 a.m.
Mar. 29 (Fri.), 5:25 p.m.
Mar. 30 (Sat.), 10:40 a.m.
Apr. 2 (Tue.), 8:55 a.m.
Apr. 4 (Thu.), 8:55 a.m.
Apr. 5 (Fri.), 5:25 p.m.
Apr. 6 (Sat.), 10:40 a.m.
Apr. 9 (Tue.), 8:55 a.m.
Apr. 11 (Thu.), 8:55 a.m.
Apr. 12 (Fri.), 5:25 p.m.
Apr. 13 (Sat.), 10:40 a.m.
Apr. 16 (Tue.), 8:55 a.m.
Apr. 18 (Thu.), 8:55 a.m.
Apr. 19 (Fri.), 5:25 p.m.
Apr. 20 (Sat.), SPRING SCRIMMAGE, 1 p.m. at Georgia Dome