Valdosta Daily Times

Top Sports News

February 16, 2012

Valdosta State spring practice underway

VALDOSTA — It may still be winter outside, but the Valdosta State football team already has a spring mindset.

The Blazers offically began spring practice Wednesday afternoon with the first of 14 practices that will lead up to the annual spring game, which will be held March 3 at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.

“It is so good to be back on the field,” Valdosta State head coach David Dean said. “We had a lot of bounce in our step. I thought we looked good today. We have had a very rough offseason so far, as  with what we have put our guys through physically. So it was good to see them come out here and bounce around and get to work, but everyone looks good on the first day. Tomorrow will be the real test when we put a little bit more in.”

The Blazers are looking to bounce back from a disappointing finish to the 2011 season, which saw them lose the final three games of the season by a combined 13 points. The Blazers led in the final minute in each of the three games, but surrendered touchdowns to the opposing teams.

“We are trying to not talk a lot about it,” Dean said. “We are trying not to dwell on the past, but these guys know. It is brought up time-to-time. You hear them talking about it. More than anything, they just want to be successful and with their work ethic right now, I think it is going to lead to that.”

With spring practice being considered a place where players earn starting positions for the upcoming season, there are several position battles Dean and the VSU coaching staff have their eyes on. The biggest position battle might come at the defensive line and safety positions, according to Dean.

“We have to find some guys to step up on the defensive line,” Dean said. “Obviously our safety position, losing Harrison Dreiling, that position is wide-open. We have several guys that we redshirted last season that have the opportunity to step up.”

Many Blazers are being held out of spring practice or are being held to limited action for numerous reasons. While some are absent due to academic issues, some are recovering from injuries, including quarterback Cayden Cochran, who broke his collarbone in the season ending 30-23 loss to North Alabama.

Cochran is able to compete in 7-on-7 drills, but is unable to participate in full-contact drills this spring. He is expected to be 100 percent by fall practice.

Along with Cochran, the  Blazers remain without running back David Bailey, who is recovery from ACL surgery after he tore the knee ligament in VSU’s loss to rival Delta State in October.

When the Blazers open fall camp in August, they will be re-joined by offensive tackle Ryan Schraeder and linebacker Chas Matthews, both of whom are sitting out of spring drills because each have just one semester of eligibility remaining.

“From a stanpoint, offensively, the timing of things and the blocking, it does hurt,” Dean said. “We understand that it is a rule we have to follow but they’re just going to have to realize that when they come in for camp this summer that they are going to get a lot more reps to get caught back up and they better be in great shape.”

Despite the absences, the Blazers are still fielding 108 players this spring, which includes wide receiver Gerald Ford, who rejoins the team after missing the entire 2011 season after being academically ineligible, and freshman quarterback Kaleb Nobles, who enrolled at VSU a semester early after graduating from Fitzgerald High School.

“Just because (Gerald) missed last year,” Dean said. “It is exciting to have him back. And then Kaleb Nobles, looking at him from the first day, boy what a talent he is.”

Text Only
Top Sports News
  • MaryAlice.jpg Just Keep Running

    Forrest Gump once said, "I used to run to get to where I was going, but I never thought it would take me anywhere." In the case of 18 year-old Mary Alice Smoot, anywhere is Tampa, Fla.
    After four years of unparalleled success running cross-country at Valwood, Smoot will continue running competitively next season at the University of Tampa.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10U ELITE World Series Champs.jpg DKSA Elite win USSSA Global World Series

    DKSA ELITE just continues to win, the 10U team’s latest victory came in the USSSA Global World Series held in Destin, Fla. July 8-12.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Valwood.jpg A Different Look

    With football summer workouts in full swing, occasionally the intensity and competitive drive can wane going against teammates. But on Friday, Valwood, Brookwood, Lanier County and Tiftarea Academy broke up the monotony by meeting at Goddard Field for a four-team, 7-on-7 passing league.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • pilcher.jpg Berrien competes in 6-team passing camp

    If Ed Pilcher had his way, Berrien High would never throw the football.
    But that doesn't mean the veteran coach doesn't enjoy the opportunity that a passing league, or the six-team passing camp at Cairo on Thursday morning, can provide his Rebels.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bubba Walker promoted to defensive coordinator

    Valdosta State Linebacker Coach Bubba Walker has been promoted to fill the open posiiton of defensive coordinator for the Blazer football team according to an announcement made by VSU Head Coach David Dean Thursday.

    July 18, 2014

  • Albritton wins NCAA Elite 89

    Courtney Albritton's tremendous 2013-2014 season earned her one more award Thursday night when the Valdosta State softball star won the NCAA's Favorite Elite 89 Winner contest by securing the more votes than any other student-athlete.

    July 17, 2014

  • Justin Roper named Valdosta State quarterbacks coach

    Valdosta State’s hirin of Justin Roper as quarterbacks coach, previously reported by The Times, was officially announced by the school and Blazer head football coach David Dean on Wednesday.

    July 17, 2014

  • Lowndes_Tville 2.jpg Sneak Preview

    Fall practice doesn’t start for another eight days.
    Still, Lowndes High and Thomasville High got a sneak preview of what Friday nights will look like Wednesday morning at Martin Stadium.

    July 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • LeBron: I'm coming back to Cleveland

    Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.

    July 11, 2014

  • Div II Championship F_Rodg(11).jpg Beyond Sports Network releases 2014 preseason All-GSC football team

    Football season is right around the corner; exactly 57 days from now Valdosta State set to open its season at home against Albany State, but fans were able to satisfy his or her football withdraws on Tuesday when Beyond Sports Network released its Gulf South Conference preseason All-Conference team.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

Top News

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results