October 14, 2002
With the graduation of two time All-American quarterback Dusty Bonnner, the Valdosta State Blazers faced a big question this off-season. Could sophomore Buster Faulkner step in and fill the void? Well just six games into the season, that question has seemingly been answered. Faulkner has already thrown for 1,724 yards and 21 touchdowns, and been named the conference's offensive player of the week once.
Sophomore Buster Faulkner said, "I just got great players around me and a great coaching staff that calls great plays and one heck-uva defense, and I just got to find a way to get those guys the football and let them do what they do best."
But Buster's road to the starting position was not as direct as some would've guessed. As Bonner's backup the last couple of years, Faulkner came into the season as the projected starter. But when the Blazers openend up the year at Albany State, Buster found himself in an all too familiar position, on the sidelines.
Valdosta State head coach Chris Hatcher said, "We felt like Barrett had a great camp for not being here very long and we felt like he was playing better than Buster at the time so we started Barrett." "I didn't perform as good as I thought I could've but you're always going to have to hold off a few guys regardless of the situation and a few guys played great during camp," added Faulkner.
But ever since Faulkner stepped onto the field at Hugh Mills Stadium, he hasn't come off. The sophomore immediately sparked the Blazer offense, leading them to not only a win over Albany State but five straight since then. But this week against 11th ranked Central Arkansas, Buster faces his biggest challenge yet as a Blazer quarterback, a ranked opponent on the road. "There will be pressure but I feel that we got great players and we're just going to go out there and perform to the best of our ability," Faulkner said.
And with a win Faulkner may very well turn what was a question at the beginning of the year into a statement.
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