VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — Year number two for Valdosta State head football coach Tremaine Jackson is off and running, and after a five-win season a year ago, VSU is hungry, and ready to prove that they will be one of the best teams in all of division two.
"We have a desire to be strong, a desire to be tight, a desire to be enthusiastic, a desire to be right, a desire to get it the right way, a desire to be together, a desire to please, a desire to work, a desire to be the best that we can be, and the list goes on and on," said Jackson. "That's us, that is what we want to do, and we want to make sure that our players understand that it is about desire, the most talented team did not win the Gulf South Conference last year, it was the team that had the most desire, and when you look at the teams that we have had, it was the teams that had the most desire, so we want to get that back."
A desire to be great, Valdosta State is chasing the programs first title since 2018, and despite a lot of new faces, Coach Jackson believes this roster is one that will be able to compete with the very best.
"We are down and dirty, we want to get it out of the mud as we way, and so man I think our guys are doing just that, they are scrapping, they are fighting and clawing, they are tougher, more physical," added Jackson. "So today was just with helmets on, we'll see what they are in pads, and then we'll make another evaluation but certainly glad at the start that we got, and I want us to trend to get better."
A start this team is proud of, and one the Blazers are excited to build off of.
"You can't win the GSC (Gulf South Conference) in just one day of practice," said Valdosta State junior quarterback Sammy Edwards. "So we try to focus on winning that day, having something in that day to work towards, and get that done so we can stack and build days on that."
"We have got a long way to go, but I do love the way that we started with enthusiasm," added Jackson. "We're practicing longer, we're doing things a little bit more intentional than we have done around here, and so we are definitely asking a lot from them, but I love how they responded for the most part."
Looking to respond the right way, and the Blazers believe as a team, if they come together, they can grow into something special.
"Man, I think we have a lot of hard workers, you know in past years, we may have been super talented, but we didn't have discipline," added Edwards. "You know what I mean, I think this year, we have a disciplined team, that is ready to get to work and we have a lot of extra guys doing a lot of extra work."
"We know what we are doing inside our program is the right thing," added Jackson. "We can tell by our grades, and how we got started in the offseason, and so we are really excited, and these guys are going to take it day by day, to eventually get the result we want in the end."
Looking to take things one day at a time, and the Blazers expect to be a force in the Gulf South Conference here in 2023. Opening night for Valdosta State is set for September second.