ATLANTA -- Georgia State head coach Shawn Elliott had a smile on his face after practice today.

That's because Thursday's workout was the Panthers first in full gear.

"We started tackling today. First day in pads, it's great to play some real football out there," Elliott said.

Georgia State opens the 2019 season in just over three weeks. The seaosn opener is Aug. 31 at Tennessee (3:30 p.m. at Neyland Stadium), and the Panthers' home opener is one week later on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. vs. Furman at Georgia State Stadium.

Elliott has praised the off-season work of new strength coach John Sisk and his staff, saying that he can see the increased size, strength and conditioning on the field.

"If you look at our football team, from a physical standpoint, they look like they've been in the weight room. They look like they've taken advantage of Coach Sisk and his staff and the summer workouts," Elliott said. "That's a big plus for us.

"If you look the young guys, their heads are swimming just like you typically see, but our older guys, have a lot more experience and their assignments are very fluid," Elliott continued.

"We still have a long way to go. This is practice No. 6. By no stretch of the imagination are we ready to play a football game. But it's good to see good competition and great effort. Our coaches and players are busting their tails out there to do the things necessary to win."

Preseason practice continues Friday morning, and then the Panthers will scrimmage on Saturday.

Season, single-game and group tickets for all six home games at Georgia State Stadium are on sale now. Call 404-413-4020 or visit GeorgiaStateSports.com/tix.