ATLANTA -- Building on the momentum from a winning season and bowl victory, the Georgia State football team caps spring practice with Saturday's Blue-White Spring Game at Georgia State Stadium.
The game itself will kick off at 3:30 p.m. as part of a festive day that begins at 2 p.m., when the Panther players and staff will put on a free youth clinic on the field. Voice of the Panthers Dave Cohen will host a live radio show from 3-4 p.m. on 1340 The Fan 3/103.7 FM.
Admission and parking for the Spring Game are free. Click here for more information.
"We're really looking forward to the chance to let our guys put on the real uniform and battle it out, in our stadium in front of a great crowd," second-year head coach Shawn Elliott said. "We want to block and tackle and execute game-like situations very crisply. They will play hard, and it will be live game situations."
In his first season at Georgia State, Elliott led the Panthers to a 7-5 record, capped by a 27-17 victory over Western Kentucky in the AutoNation Cure Bowl for the Panthers' first bowl victory.
Georgia State returns 52 letterwinners, including seven starters on offense and five on defense, led by All-Sun Belt Conference returnees in wide receiver Penny Hart, linebacker Michael Shaw, defensive end Marterious Allen and offensive guard Shamarious Gilmore.
"Every year you graduate good, productive players, and you better have guys in place to take the next step," Elliott said.
Nowhere is that more evident that at quarterback, where four players--junior Aaron Winchester, senior Jaquez Parks, redshirt freshman Jack Walker and incoming junior college transfer Dan Ellington--are competing to replace AutoNation Cure Bowl MVP Conner Manning.
"We feel like we've developed a really good battle at our quarterback position," Elliott said. "It's been fun to watch them compete and see them make strides every day. We put them in a lot of live situations, and they've done a lot of good things in terms of commanding the offense.
"It probably won't be settled until fall camp. A lot of things have to go into that quarterback position, and 15 days really isn't enough."
Spring practice is a chance for younger players to show how much they have developed in the offseason and take advantage of opportunities to earn playing time. Elliott mentioned a few such players.
"At our running back position, Tra Barnett has stepped in and done a really good job, along with DeMarcus Kirk," he said.
"At tight end, Roger Carter has done a great job. His blocking has really progressed; it's fun to watch. He's a sure-handed pass catching tight end with some really good skills to move people off the ball."
The Panthers return four starters on the offensive line, but the competition has intensified with the development of redshirt freshmen like center Malik Sumter and guard Jalen Jackson.
"The offensive line play has been a lot more crisp," Elliott said.
Elliott looks forward to a productive and fun day at Georgia State Stadium, beginning with the youth clinic.
"We want to introduce these kids to Georgia State and to the game of football and experience a fun day out there with our players and coaches," he said.