by: Chris Kessler
No.1 Valdosta State football team (2-0) will have a tough time following up their 41-0 rout over Shorter last Saturday.
Coming off the program’s first shut-out since 2011, the defense looks to keep up their hard-hitting and physical play when Angelo State (1-2) comes to town, but Head Coach David Dean is still looking for improvement.
“The one thing I’d like to see us do better is defending the pass, I don’t think we defended the pass very well. We’re going to face a lot teams that throw the ball, so we’re going to have to get much better at that,” Dean said.
ASU bring in a high powered offense that is 12th in the nation averaging 523 yards per game.
The Rams offense is led by duel threat quarterback Kyle Washington, who has 859 combined rushing and passing yards on the season.
“Just about everyone has (a mobile quarterback), you always have that plan in your mind of how are you going to defend a mobile quarterback,” said Dean. “This is nothing really new for us, the whole deal is we contain him and keep him in the pocket.”
Along with Washington, the Rams feature a pair of talented running-backs, Jermie Calhoun and Blake Smith, that both rushed for over 100 yards last Saturday.
As good as ASUs offense has been, its offense has stalled inside the 20 yard-line, scoring only 52 percent when in the red-zone.
Inside the red-zone, the Blazers’ defense has been at their best, as evident from the last performance that saw VSU force two consecutive turnovers as Shorter was on the verge of scoring.
“That’s kind of been the way we’ve been the last couple of years, we’ve been a team that breaks but we get into that 25 yard area we’ve been pretty good and don’t break. We know teams are going to get yardage on us,” said Dean. “We force teams to be either methodical or patient in what they do, and a lot of teams aren’t like that, they want that big home-run, they don’t want to take the four, five yard plays and when you get down in the red-zone that’s what you have to do”
The Rams’ defense has had their issues this year, surrendering 36 points per game and 480 total yards per game.
VSU’s offense should see plenty of chances to continue hitting big plays against Angelo State’s defense,who gave up four plays that went for over 50 yards last Saturday.
“A lot of our scores have been big plays that are a concern. I would like to see us eat up some more clock up and keep our defense off the field, but you’re never going to turn down a big play. As long as we keep doing that and winning, I’m fine without sustaining drives,” said Dean.
This Saturday’s game has been selected as the Gulf South Conference’s “Game of the Week”, and can be seen on ESPN3.
Kick-off is scheduled for 7 pm at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.