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Georgia State focusing on ‘small details’ leading up to Aug. 27 opener

Georgia State has less than two weeks until it opens up the 2014 Football Bowl Subdivision season, and the Panthers know they have work to do before their Aug. 27 showdown against Abilene Christian.

During a Saturday practice at the GSU Practice Complex in Atlanta, the Panthers’ offense focused largely on its running game. The affair started slow, but the panthers eventually found their rhythm.

“I thought we started slow, but once we got going, we were able to run the ball,” Head Coach Trent Miles said. “We wanted this to be more of a run scrimmage, and once they settled in, we were able to run the ball. The defense did a good job for the most part, except for a few breakdowns where somebody wasn’t in the right coverage or the right gap.

“We’re a fast football team,” Miles added. “Our kids move around pretty good. But we’ve got a lot of small details that we’ve got to clean up.”

Senior running back Duvall Smith led the Panthers with 102 yards on nine carries. True freshman Krysten Hammon ran for 79 yards, but saw his performance marred by a fumble, and sophomore Kyler Neal ended the day with 33 yards on 10 carries.

“Duvall did a good job of being patient and hitting the holes and hanging onto the ball,” Miles said.

Quarterback Nick Arbuckle, a junior college transfer from Pierce College in California, completed nine of 13 passes for 111 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown pass to LynQuez Blair. Ronnie Bell, Georgia State’s starter last year, finished the day completing seven of 13 for 96 yards.

“We got better from last week’s scrimmage,” Arbuckle said. “We did a good job of using our protections to pick up the blitzes. Overall it was just a better performance.

“We will keep working on our tempo and continue to establish an identity on offense,” Arbuckle added.