Georgia State Panthers

Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson talks during the Sun Belt media day in New Orleans, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. (AP Photo)
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Why did the Sun Belt vote against satellite camps? Because, reasons


On the topic of satellite camps, it is easy to see why the SEC, ACC, Pac-12 and Big 12 would have been in favor of shutting them down while the Big Ten would want to see them continue. It is less obvious why non-power conferences like the Mountain West Conference and Sun Belt Conference would have voted against them while the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA and the MAC voted against the ban. Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson also failed to shed any real light on why his conference would vote in line with the SEC and ACC, although he certainly tried.

The Atlanta Journal-Consitution reached out to the Sun Belt Conference and was given a written reply credited to Benson. It is, shall we say, not so enlightening.

“The Sun Belt voted on a controversial issue to eliminate these satellite camps. Six of ten FBS conferences voted to eliminate these camps. The pros and cons of these camps can be debated, and I am sure there will continue to be discussion on this matter, but for now the majority has spoken and it’s time to move on and the Sun Belt football programs will continue to get better with or without these camps.”

Got that?

The satellite camps were thought to actually provide more benefits to football programs from the Sun Belt than detract from them, which is why Georgia State has made it an annual mission to bring in a program like Penn State or Nebraska to join them for a football camp each summer. Georgia State head coach Trent Miles also let it be known he was in no way in favor of the NCAA Divison 1 Council’s ruling, saying “It’s very disappointing for the student-athletes who can’t afford to travel out of state to be seen by coaches and schools from other regions.”

But there was a vote, and the Sun Belt voted. Now move on, says Benson.

Former Cincinnati head coach Rick Minter lands at Georgia State as D-line coach

JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 24: Coach Rick Minter of the Philadelphia Eagles stands on the field before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 24, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Eagles won 31-24. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Philadelphia Eagles/Getty Images)
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Rick Minter served as Cincinnati’s head coach from 1994-03, leading the Bearcats to into Division I-A (now known as FBS) and into bowl games in four of their seven eligible years. After three straight seven-win seasons, he was let go for a 5-7 campaign in 2003.

Minter has remained in the game, coordinating defenses at South Carolina, Notre Dame, Marshall and Kentucky and coaching linebackers for Indiana State and, until this winter, the Philadelphia Eagles until he was washed out in the Chip Kelly tide.

On Friday, Minter resurfaced as Georgia State’s defensive line coach, where he will work under his son, Jesse, who is the Panthers’ defensive coordinator.

Georgia State finished 68th nationally in yards per carry allowed, 106th in sacks and 71st in tackles for loss last season, as the Panthers reached their first bowl game in program history.

Additionally, Georgia State has hired former Tulane offensive line coach Josh McDonell as a senior offensive analyst. McDonell has previously coached at Washington State, Stanford, Notre Dame and Purdue.

“We are thrilled to be able to add Rick Minter and John McDonell to our staff,” Georgia State head coach Trent Miles said in a statement. “Not only are they experienced coaches with tremendous track records, but they are outstanding people who will be role models for our young men.

 “These additions will help us take another step forward as we try to compete for a Sun Belt championship.


Georgia State elevates Luke Huard to OC as Jeff Jagodzinski deals with family matter

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Georgia State opens spring practice on Thursday, and Panthers head coach Trent Miles announced Tuesday a slight shuffling of his coaching staff.

Offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski has left the program to deal with a family matter with no timetable for his return, so Miles promoted quarterbacks coach Luke Huard to Jagodzinski’s spot.

Huard was the club’s primary play-caller in 2015 as the Panthers leapt from 1-11 to 6-7. Georgia State also jumped from 88th nationally to 43rd in total offense.

Additionally, defensive backs coach Eric Lewis will be the team’s special teams coordinator and defensive graduate assistant Liam Smith has been promoted to director of player personnel.

Idaho, NMSU out as Sun Belt members after 2017

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Apparently, Idaho’s sales pitch wasn’t as compelling as they’d like.

Two weeks ago, Idaho unveiled a 19-slide presentation aimed at continuing their football membership in the Sun Belt Conference, membership that was initially granted to both themselves and New Mexico State on four-year terms that are set to expire following the 2017 season.  Looking for an extension, both football programs will instead be looking for new homes in a couple of seasons.

What does the denial of extension do to the two football programs impacted by the decision? For the Vandals, it likely means dropping down to the FCS level and joining the Big Sky conference, where there other varsity sports are currently housed. For the Aggies, whose other sports play in the WAC, which doesn’t offer football, another go as an FBS independent will likely be in the offing.

With the impending departures of Idaho and New Mexico State after the 2017 season and the addition of Coastal Carolina for that season, the SBC will settle in with 10 members two years from now.  That 10-member lineup would feature teams from Texas (Texas State), Arkansas (Arkansas State), Louisiana (Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe), Alabama (South Alabama, Troy), Georgia (Georgia Southern, Georgia State), North Carolina (Appalachian State) and South Carolina (Coastal Carolina).

With the recent decision by the NCAA to deregulate conference championship games, the SBC will still be able to conduct such games with just 10 members instead of the previously-mandated 12.

UPDATED 2:51 p.m. ET: Idaho confirmed in a press release that the Sun Belt Conference has opted to go with a 10-team league following the 2017 season, putting them and New Mexico State on the outside of the conference looking in two seasons from now.  The release also stated that the university will now decide whether to accept an invitation to join the Big Sky of the FCS or compete as an independent at the FBS level.

UNLV hires Tony Samuel to coach defensive line

BERKELEY, CA - SEPTEMBER  7:  New Mexico State head coach Tony Samuel during the game with the California Golden Bears on September 7, 2002 at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California. (Photo By Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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Tony, meet Tony.

On Wednesday UNLV head coach Tony Sanchez announced the hiring of Tony Samuel as the Rebels’ new defensive line coach. Samuel spent the 2015 season in a similar capacity at Georgia State, helping the Panthers jump from 121st nationally in yards per play allowed all the way to 43rd en route to the program’s first-ever bowl appearance.

“I’ve known Tony Samuel since 1997 and we have had a long-lasting relationship,” Sanchez said in a statement. “He’s a tremendous football coach with a proven track record of success and we are fortunate to have him at UNLV.”

Samuel jumped into coaching at Western Michigan in 1982 but made his name in the business during an 11-year stint as outside linebackers/rush ends coach for Tom Osborne at Nebraska. From there he deposited head coaching stints at New Mexico State (1997-04) and Southeast Missouri State (2006-13).

“I have stayed in touch with Tony since we first met when I was taking over at New Mexico State and there is a lot of familiarity with a lot of people on the staff,” Samuel said. “I am excited about the potential of what can happen at UNLV and looking forward to being a part of it.”

In 2015, UNLV finished 107th nationally in yards per play allowed, tied for 126th in tackles for loss and a dead last 128th in sacks.