August 6, 2003
Valdosta-Some coaches do not like to be picked in the preseason to win their conference.
Valdosta State's Chris Hatcher is not one of those coaches.
The Blazers start the season ranked number one in the nation in one D-II preseason poll and are picked to win a record fourth straight Gulf South Conference title by the coaches of that league.
With such hefty expectations, Valdosta State hit the practice field for the first time this afternoon as they know they will get the best from every team on their schedule.
The first item on today's practice schedule was a conditioning test to find out who was in the weight room this summer and who was on the couch eating pizzas.
After the conditioning test was over, it was time to get to work.
The Blazers priorities during camp are to replace all-conference receivers and defensive linemen and to find some depth at linebacker.
If those goals are accomplished, the Blazers could return to Florence Alabama this December to play for the D-II national title for the second straight year.
Coach Chris Hatcher said "No two teams are the same no matter how many returners (starters) you have and it is going to be interesting to see how quickly this team can gel. What type of players we have brought in. If they fit in our system, if they are coachable and that is what this preseason is about."
Valdosta State's defense is picking up another divison one transfer with former Florida State defensive back Yohance Buchanon expected to report for practice Wednesday afternoon.
VSU will put on full pads on Sunday and open the season August 30th at home against Albany State.