The season did not start the way it was supposed to, or at least I’m sure that is how Coach David Dean and his players feel. Newberry probably has a slightly different opinion on it.
The fact is that this is Dean’s first home opening loss, and more importantly it is his first loss to a team other than North Alabama and Delta State, two teams Dean has had more than a little trouble getting past in his first two seasons. He has a combined record of 2-4 against them.
Considering Dean has not been able to beat the Statemen yet during his tenure and he has split the four meeting with UNA, it seems that the Blazers are looking at an uphill slope for the rest of the season.
If anybody can do it, surely it is Dean, but if anybody can stop him then it has to be Terry Bowden or Ron Roberts.
Against Newberry, the quarterback play lacked motivation throwing five interceptions, the running backs lacked drive, collecting only 88 yards on 28 carries, and the secondary looked outmatched, giving up 333 yards and three touchdowns.
Against UNA and DSU, that could get ugly quick, and this is supposed to be a season of redemption when it comes to those other schools from the big three.
However, Dean would tell you that it is important for his team to come together and learn from this experience. He would also probably say that his team will bounce back and be ready for conference play. If I didn’t see the game I would believe him, but from the look of it the team wasn’t even ready to take the field.
Dean will without a doubt have his team ready to play after the off week because that is his style, and Southern Arkansas should expect to pay for what Newberry did. Sept. 12 will be the beginning of a new season and that is exactly how the team will approach it.
The only problem is that Newberry took advantage of the Blazers’ weaknesses, and now those exploited flaws are on tape for the rest of the season. So even though Dean will most likely lead his team to big wins in the next couple of games, they will have to find a way to fix those glaring, well documented problems.
With all of that in mind, it will be interesting to see how Dean handles the coming months and just as, if not more, important how his players rally around him. The playoffs and a chance at the conference championship are not in jeopardy, yet, and it will be a true testament to the winning culture at VSU and Dean’s abilities if he is able to turn this already losing season around.