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Although it is anew year and the Blazers have a new coach, the expectations have stayed the same.

New year, new coach, same expectations

Valdosta State held a blowout celebration to honor the best football season in school history.

The team was brought out to the stage, received praise from peers, fans and former head coach Kerwin Bell.

He mentioned how this team was one of the best he’s ever coached and that it wasn’t easy to leave after his three-year tenure.

“They’ve done this unbelievable thing, and played at such a high level, you always think what will they do in the next two years if we could just keep coaching them,” Bell said. “These guys are so good, so disciplined, and so unselfish, and they love to work. I think there’s going to be great things ahead but you know, a part of me still wishes I could be apart of that.”

It’s no secret that a lot of exceptionally good players are still on the VSU roster. Many freshmen and sophomores made up the team and shall continue to lead them.

With all the returning players, it appears that the Blazers still have the same goal in mind despite the looming coaching change.

“The same as last year, win it all,” All-American Ravarius Rivers said about the team’s expectations for 2019. “I feel like we got good leadership and I think that we got good young talent that can be formed into the pieces that we need in order to repeat. Because it’s harder to repeat than it is to win it the first time.”

Repeating is hard in itself. Now factor in the key players that graduated like Raymond Palmer, Stewart Spence, Jeremy King and others. With that in mind, also factor in a brand new head coach taking place for Bell and his staff.

Repeating just got a little harder.

Despite their situation, the team is still optimistic about the upcoming season.

As the celebration started to wind down, reports came out that VSU new head coach will be Gary Goff. Goff is a Valdosta State alum who played wide receiver and is leaving Tiffin University where he spent eight seasons.

Goff continuously made the team better year after year. 2018 was his best season at Tiffin as he finished with a 9-2 overall record. Now he’s making a leap from there to the helm of reigning national champions.

Given that Goff was a receiver, his offensive mindset should fit in well with the highest scoring offense in the nation. But he’s walking into a team with a lot of talent and many fans expect another title run, so Bell gave a little advice for the new head coach taking over.

“I think the big thing is develop the leadership. It’s always a different team, even though you got a lot of guys back, the leadership is where you got to really develop,” said Bell. “But the talent is here, I think the drive is here, got a great guy at quarterback who’s the leader of this team, so I look for them to have another great football season.”

Now that a new head coach is here, VSU can replenish the staff that moved on and get to work as signing day is right around the corner.

The VSU dynasty is still in effect for now, but it will be compelling to see how Goff carries the torch in 2019.

Written by Joshua Miller, Social Media Editor. Photo courtesy of VSU Athletics.

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