Written by Tiarra Bell, Staff Writer
VSU will kick off the 2015 season against one of its oldest football rivals, the Albany State Golden Rams on September 5. Coming off a breathtaking 10-3 season, the Blazers have been working hard all summer to continue to build on what they established last year.
Senior running back Austin Scott will be one of the notable key players this season.
“I’m expecting a championship,” Scott said. “A conference championship also. Just an overall great year. We have to do that by staying healthy.”
Scott finished the 2014 season rushing for 943 yards and scoring four touchdowns adding it to his career total of 18 touchdowns.
Joining Scott in our ground and pound backfield is senior running back Cedric O’Neal.
“Running backs are looking good,” David Dean head coach said. “Cedric and Austin are having an outstanding camp. Eric Scott looks good coming off a knee injury last year. Tolerance Sheperd looks outstanding. Unfortunately he got hurt on the last play of the scrimmage. All of our running backs are having an outstanding fall camp.”
O’Neal scored 12 touchdowns and rushed for 873 yards last season combing with Austin Scott for a total of 1816 yards and 16 touchdowns.
The VSU and ASU match up holds top level expectations as the two schools will meet for the 17th time.
“I expect the same intensions we came out with last year, but better because we have more guys and veterans on the team,” O’Neal said speaking of last year’s game in which the Blazers defeated the Golden Rams 38-10. “Some of the younger guys came in to play hard and we expect to have the same outcome as last year as well.”
As for the quarterback position, there is still an ongoing competition.
“There’s a lot of competition,” Dean said. “Unfortunately Kaleb Nobles has a groin problem. EJ Hilliard had an outstanding camp. Roland Rivers continues to improve every day.”
After spending one year at West Georgia as the linebacker and special teams coach, defensive coordinator Chad Williams knows that there are exalting levels of bragging rights with both schools.
“The pressure here at Valdosta is one like no other,” Williams said. “We understand the expectation. Our goal every day is to exceed the expectation. With the expectation being so high, it’s our goal to go above and beyond.”
Defensively, the Blazers will return with a solid number of veterans this year.
“It starts with those guys,” Williams said. “Those guys know the tradition and the coaching here. We’re relying on them to continue to bring that present. Kenny Murphy, Larry Murphy, Charmaine
Washington and Kenny Moore are some of the guys we will rely on this season.”
The Blazers will look to take on the Golden Rams on the road at 7 p.m.