Written by Aldean Starr, Staff Writer
VSU football is still grinding.
The Blazers started spring practice about a month ago and the players are starting to get on the same page with the new coaching staff and what is expected of them.
“It is going good,” Sharmaine Washington, senior linebacker, said. “Everybody is getting to know each other and figure out each other, we’re getting on the same page and starting to work together.”
The coaches are not the only new faces on the field in spring practice this year. Former starting quarterback EJ Hilliard from last season will not be lining up with the Blazers this season and long time running backs Cedric O’Neal and Austin Scott are also done with their time with the Blazers.
Along with top receiving threats and some offensive lineman, the Blazers will have a new look this upcoming season. Kerwin Bell is also implementing an offense that is very fast with the no huddle. Quarterback Roland Rivers is getting the majority of the reps and looks to be the offense’s leader.
VSU’s defense has lost linebacker Kenny Murphy, who was the quarterback of the defense. The school is also on its fourth defensive coordinator in four years.
The Blazers new defensive coordinator is James Rowe, a graduate assistant coach from the University of Florida. At UF, Rowe had a chance to work with one of the nation’s best secondaries which included highly-regarded NFL prospects such as Vernon Hargreaves III, Keanu Neal and Jalen Tabor.
Rowe’s experience could bring the Blazers pass defense some needed help a season after finishing fifth in the conference against the pass.
“It is a similar scheme (compared to last season) but we have different packages,” Washington said. “You can see the progression from scrimmage one to scrimmage two and the players are enjoying the new defense and the new offense so it is going really good”.
Blazers fans can still catch some action. The team only has a couple of spring practices left before the spring game this Saturday at 4 p.m.
“Everybody should watch out for the Blazers because nobody is expecting to make the playoffs this year so we are going to have to just go out and prove it to everybody,” Washington said.