By: Chris Kessler
Valdosta State’s season opening 36-21 victory put the team on the right track, but the Blazers won’t get to take the field for another week due to their bye.
The Blazers handled Fort Valley State convincingly. Despite the score, head coach David Dean was disappointed in the Blazers’ second half performance.
“I thought we kinda lost a little bit of focus down the stretch, offensively and defensively. I was pleased because I thought we beat a pretty athletic football team and pretty much had the game in hand, but I think after the half we got a little bit complacent and if we want to get to where we want to be; we can’t have complacency, we have to finish off games.”
On offense the Blazer’s posted a total of 456 yards, led by senior quarterback Cayden Cochran, who threw for three touchdowns and had 285 yards through the air.
However, Coach Dean was most impressed with his new offensive line’s performance.
“Having a new offensive line, guys that have never started, our quarterback wasn’t sacked in that game, and you’re talking about (Fort Valley State) that pressures every single snap,” Dean said. “We were able to keep Cayden off the ground, which is surely a positive.”
Usually most football teams’ greatest improvement comes between week one and week two; for VSU it may come at a later time because of their bye week.
“To me, it comes at a bad time. I would rather correct those mistakes that we made last Saturday and carry over to Saturday. Now you have to sit and wait for another week, so I feel like we’re going to be starting over against Shorter and maybe the most improvement we’re going to have is between Shorter and Angelo State. I would much rather have this off week later on.”
With their lone bye week being so early into the season, it could be a problem for VSU as the season goes on.
“We’ll manage it as we go, depending on how beat up we are and the team we’re playing that week.At this level a couple injuries can hurt your football team. Hopefully we’re not going to face that.”
After their week off, the Blazers will play nine constitutive games, not including a possible playoff run.
“We’re going to have to be smart as we keep going down the stretch. We’re going to have to rely on what we do on Saturdays to as far as hitting and physical play, that’s going to have to carry over to the next Saturday because we’re not going to be able to do a lot of it during the week,” Dean said.
The Blazers (1-0) will be back in action on Sept. 21 against Gulf South Conference rival Shorter.