After a pair of practices, Valdosta State head coach David Dean says he loves the energy from his team, crediting his veteran leaders for lifting the vibe.
"If our enthusiasm stays this way, we have a chance to do some very positive things,” Dean says. “Those guys have been in the playoffs and understand what it takes to win and the hard work that goes into winning."
For the third straight season, the Blazers have a new defensive coordinator in Chad Williams. This is a veteran group however, and they say all is well in the transition.
"I think it's been really good,” says Dean. “I love the energy that those guys are flying around with."
"We’ve got veteran linebackers, so we're coming back pretty deep,” says junior LB Sharmaine Washington. “We're just going to go out there and have fun."
Dean was especially happy with how the defense performed Tuesday against the offense.
“We had a skeleton period today, and they really dominated the offense, which was good to see,” he says. “In the second day, when your offense is putting more stuff in and showing more things than the defense, and they're putting more coverages in. For our guys to play that way, it says a lot for the way our guys are coaching, and not only that, how our guys are learning.”
The Blazers have several quarterbacks duking it out for the starting spot. Dean wants each QB to have a fair shot. Six different signal callers saw reps Tuesday.
One constant remains offensively: the two man backfield of Cedric O’Neal and Austin Scott. The senior duo is expected to have another impressive season.
"I don't want Austin to get more yards than me. He doesn't want me to get more yards than him,” laughs O’Neal. “If we just compete as that right there, that'll push us to come out every week, and just be better."
The Blazers kick off the season on September 5 when they travel to Albany State.
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