ATLANTA - After four seasons, Georgia State football coach Trent Miles was fired over the weekend. As his team got back on the practice field Monday, some players couldn't help but feel guilty.
"At the end of the day on the football field, I feel like we let him down," said redshirt junior quarterback Conner Manning.
Manning, who transferred to Georgia State from Utah and credits Miles for a second chance, picked up the phone over the weekend to call his now-former coach.
"I apologized to him when we heard he was released," said Manning. "I felt a lot of that guilt on myself and on the team for not doing our job on Saturdays."
Other players had similar feelings as they tried to regroup before their final two games of the season. Some were still jarred after finding out the news about Miles on social media.
"It's a weird feeling. It's just really confusion," said senior safety Bobby Baker, who added he called his position coach to confirm the news.
The 2-8 Panthers still had music on at practice and interim head coach Tim Lappano said he'll keep the same routine for the team. Still, it's hard to prepare for the unknown.
"I told all our players and coaches: we're on a job interview right now," said Lappano. "For the next few weeks, we're interviewing for a job."
Lappano said he was not focused on trying to earn the full-time job himself.
Players say they don't have time to be depressed or upset, especially with rival Georgia Southern coming to town on Saturday. That presents an opportunity to redeem a struggling season no matter who is coaching.
"Felt weird today, him not being out here, felt like something was missing," said Manning, "but at the end of the day we have to prepare ourselves for the game."