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GSU benefits from McQueen's accuracy

Photo by Staff

Photo by Staff

ATLANTA — On any level of college football every player has a role, and every role is important.

That is true even for Scott McQueen, who has two of the game’s more unusual — and perhaps thankless — roles with Georgia State’s first-year program.

THE McQUEEN FILE

Who: Scott McQueen

Sport: Football

College: Georgia State

High School: North Gwinnett

Class: Redshirt freshman

Noteworthy:

• Two-year letterwinner as a right tackle at North Gwinnett, where he played for the 2007 Bulldogs team that finished as Class AAAAA state runner-up

• Lettered in baseball and track at North

• Walked on at Georgia State in the fall of 2009 just as the Panthers began their first year of practice in advance of its inaugural season this fall

• Is GSU’s long snapper for field goals, where he snaps to Duluth grad Iain Vance, and is the quarterback on the Panthers’ scout team

The North Gwinnett grad epitomizes the term “support role” with his job as the Panthers’ long snapper for field goals, as well as his other role with the GSU scout team.

“It’s different,” McQueen admits.

Few players ever set out to be a long snapper. And even though McQueen filled that role at North Gwinnett, it was secondary to his more high-profile role as the Bulldogs’ right tackle throughout his career.

Still, it is a role he was literally raised on.

“My dad taught me how to long snap when I was 7 years old,” McQueen said. “He said, ‘This is what’s going to get you to the next level.’ Ever since then, I’ve loved doing it.

“I knew what he was talking about then. I had aspirations to play college football back then, and he said, ‘Just stick with it,’ and I did.”

The elder McQueen’s advice proved prophetic, not to mention a big opportunity, when Georgia State began its program two years ago.

And the younger McQueen’s high school experience possibly helped win him the job on the Panthers’ field-goal unit — Bailey Woods handles long snaps on punts — because there is more to long

snapping than it seems.

In fact, there is a science to it. It requires a similar general accuracy a quarterback needs to throw passes.

And that is partially how McQueen got his second job with the GSU program.

After fourth-string quarterback Bo Schlechter was moved to wide receiver, the Panthers’ scout team needed a quarterback.

McQueen had never played quarterback before, but after watching him throw a ball around with teammates one day before practice, a few GSU offensive coaches got an idea.

“I heard (the coaches) kind of talking and saying, ‘Who should we bring over?’” McQueen said. “They were like, ‘Well, Scotty can throw.’ So they were like, ‘OK, we’ll try it out today.’ I guess I did pretty well.

“It’s pretty fun. It gets me active in practice instead of just sitting around.”

As the scout team quarterback, McQueen’s job is to mimic the starter from that week’s opponent.

At 6-foot and 245 pounds, that may seem difficult to imagine, since few have quarterbacks of that size, though GSU is one of them, with Drew Little at 6-5 and 245.

However, McQueen showed he was up to the task — perhaps too much up to it.

“The first week, I was pretty surprised,” McQueen said. “I was throwing it pretty well. I threw a couple of touchdowns in practice and one time, I got loose on a run. They all started laughing at me.

“They tell me what this guy’s threats are. … Either he can run or he’s got a really strong arm and he can put (the ball) wherever he wants. Really, I try to be like Brett Favre.”

Of course, given the nature and importance of McQueen’s job, the GSU coaches probably weren’t laughing at how well he was doing it.

And he takes his role as the scout team signal caller quite seriously.

“I enjoy doing well,” McQueen said. “I’d say my best week was Jacksonville State week (when the defense played well as the Panthers nearly upset the No. 4-ranked Gamecocks). I really felt like I had something to do with that.”

No matter which role he is in, just suiting up with the Panthers each week is something McQueen never figured he’d have a chance to do.

And he relishes every minute of it.

“It really is a dream come true, even though I’m just long snapping (and quarterbacking the scout team),” McQueen said. “The whole atmosphere and being in the (Georgia) Dome — I mean, that first game was crazy. I had adrenaline out of nowhere. … It just struck me — this is it.”

And he also keeps his father’s advice in mind for when his playing days at GSU are over.

“I feel like my field goal snaps are good enough to snap at the pro level,” McQueen said. “The main thing is, I’ve just got to get bigger and stronger. Those guys are pretty big.”