5. How much has Georgia State’s defensive line developed?
Despite one of the worst rush defenses in the nation last year, the Georgia State Panthers showed some promise at times. They actually were a very good defense on running plays that didn’t go for 15 yards or more. The problem was if they didn’t stuff a run, they would allow a big run, which would wreck their averages.
So we know that the defensive line can stuff runs, as they did it more often than average last year. The question is if it developed enough to be able to stop runs they don’t stuff at the line from turning into long gains. If that happens, the rush defense could do a major 180 this year and be incredibly great.
Now, the pass rush from up front is an issue. GSU was horrible at generating sacks last year. But if they get even slightly better at that, they could exploit a Tennessee football offensive line that still enters the 2019 season with many questions. After all, the Vols need improvement on their offensive line as much as Georgia State needs it on its defensive line.
If the Panthers took a major leap up front, they could stop a UT rushing attack in its tracks early on. And they may have just enough to frustrate Jarrett Guarantano, getting to him and hitting him early in order to knock him out of his rhythm and stifle the deep ball. It’s the opener, so these are questions we have no answer to yet. But it will be a major factor.