VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — Expectations are always high for the Valdosta State football team, that's something that new head coach Tremaine Jackson knows and embraces.
The Blazers open fall camp on Friday, and this is a team that plans on embracing all those expectations.
Valdosta State, who finished national runner up a season ago, was picked to finish first in the Gulf South Conference. They also have six athletes named to the preseason all-GSC team. Jackson said the accolades are nice, but he knows they don't mean anything. For the Blazers, they know the work it's going to take to get to where they want to go.
"These guys have taken a player, day to day approach on doing things and getting little small wins, every day, every hour on the hour," said Jackson Wednesday. "I think that's what is going to lead to our success. It's nice for me as a head coach, I've never been voted number one, but you don't get a ring for being preseason number one."
This team will be led by veteran leaders like quarterback Ivory Durham and running backs Seth McGill and Jamar Thompkins, three of those six players on that preseason team. The Blazers have 55 newcomers this season. About half are freshman, and the other half are transfers, a necessary number to fill in the holes left vacant after last season.
"We needed that help. We needed a lot of help," said Jackson. "We have the 132nd ranked rush defense in the country. That's what the numbers say we are. We can't be that and achieve our goals. We wanted to make sure we addressed that, and our coaching staff has done that."
Friday's first practice kicks off at 8:20 in the morning.