ATLANTA--Georgia State prepares for the first conference football game in school history as the Panthers host Richmond Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at the Georgia Dome.
The Panthers (0-3) are seeking their first victory of the season, while the Spiders stand 2-1.
We haven't played our best yet," said Georgia State head coach Bill Curry at his weekly press conference. "It's way past time to talk about it, and we're not talking about it anymore. We are working at it and we are working better, harder and that's all we can really do. I know that eventually works. I'm hoping that the team understands that
Practicing at the Georgia Dome this morning due to the inclement weather, the Panthers have made some changes to their practice routine.
"No one on our team or on our staff is happy with the way we have been performing, so we are all pulling together to work. We have changed some practice procedures," said Curry.
"Specifically, when you start the game and your team is obviously not dealing with the speed of the game the way you could or should, you need to practice against someone who is faster. So we are going best-on-best more than we have - that's sort of an NFL thing - and we are doing it at a speed as fast as we can while keeping people healthy."
The Panthers' first CAA game in their first and only season in the league comes against a strong Richmond program that has won five conference titles since 1998, more than any other CAA school in that time. The Spiders, now coached by Danny Rocco in his first season, won the FCS national title in 2008 under head coach Mike London, now the head coach at Virginia.
Curry noted that Richmond played well in a loss at Virginia and then was very impressive in victories over Gardner-Webb and VMI.
"They have a senior quarterback, John Laub, who has played very well," said Curry. "They have allowed zero sacks all season, and it's easy to see why. The ball comes out in a hurry, and he's very accurate. And when he runs, he doesn't slide; he runs over you.
Laub is averaging 219 yards passing per game while completing 60 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and just one interception. He is also the team's third-leading rusher with 77 yards and one score on 16 carries.
The team's top receiver is Ben Edwards, who ranks second to GSU's Albert Wilson in the CAA in receiving yards per game. Wilson averages 89.3 yards on 5.7 receptions per game, while Edwards is at 84.7 yards on 6.3 catches a game. Those two also rank one-two in the league in all-purpose yards, although Wilson leads by a wide margin with 158.7 yards per game to Edwards 116.3.
On defense, the Spiders feature safety Cooper Taylor, an Atlanta native and transfer from Georgia Tech who is this week's CAA Defensive Player of the Week. The 6-5, 230-pound senior had two interceptions last week at VMI, returning one for a touchdown.
Taylor is certainly familiar to Curry because he is the son of Jim Bob Taylor, a quarterback at Georgia Tech in the early 1980s.
"When he decided to leave Georgia Tech, we tried hard to recruit him to Georgia State, and he visited here," said Curry.
One constant for the Panthers has been sophomore punter Matt Hubbard, who has the top average in the nation at 50.6 yards per kick, although he is not eligible for NCAA rankings due to Georgia State's reclassification to the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Radio coverage for Saturday's game is available on Newstalk 1160 AM (WCFO) and AM 1690 (WMLB). For tickets, call 866-GA-STATE.