Spring is a time of new beginnings, and nowhere in college football is that more true than at Georgia State. The Panthers are not only breaking in new head coach Trent Miles, preparing for a slate of new opponents in the Sun Belt Conference, the program that played its first game in 2010 is bracing for a new life as a Football Bowl Subdivision member.
On Wednesday, the Panthers took the field for the first time as an FBS program and Miles was focused not on milestones, but on what he saw in front of him.
“I saw a lot of kids that want to do a good job and were eager. We’re still in the process of trying to teach them our expectations on how to practice – the tempo, a sense of urgency, running to the ball and taking care of the football. I saw a lot of kids with good attitudes that want to do well.”
The 49-year-old Miles made his name as a head coach by turning aroud a flatlined Indiana State program (the Sycamores went 1-23 in his first two seasons) into three straight winning seasons. In taking over a 1-10 Georgia State team, Miles starts that process over again through the proving ground of competition.
“Competition makes you better at every position,” he said. “We’ve got to see it everywhere. Nobody has a spot. Nobody’s guaranteed anything and everything is open. We want to see it from every position, from the trainers, managers, the coaches, everybody’s competing.”
Though Wednesday represented a historic day in Georgia State’s short football history, the Panthers’ head coach is taking things one day at a time, and not out of any dread of the unknown – he just loves football.
“This is a sanctuary. The greatest thing in the world is coming out here with these kids and being with football,” said Miles. “I’m sad because instead of 15 we’re down to 14 (practices). I wish we could keep going.”