The journey to a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference football title starts in the heat of the summer.
Over the past week, South Carolina State has welcomed back some returning players. Summer weeks on campus are an opportunity to get players, including freshmen, accustomed to life as a Bulldog.
Head coach Buddy Pough said, “We’re just getting back, and our guys are doing some early-in-the-morning running and weightlifting trying to get in shape.”
“We’ve had about a week of them being here now, and it’s been mostly orientation to get them acclimated and in shape to be able to do some of the drills,” said Pough, whose coaching staff cannot work directly with the players until practice officially begins in August.
“All of our freshmen are in a class or two right now and they’re working hard to get a grip on what college football is like,” Pough said.
“I’ve seen how they looked in the weight room and everyone is coming along good,” he said.
The summer voluntary work by players comes just a short time after S.C. State completed a spring football slate that followed no season in the fall of 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The spring games gave Pough and his staff a chance to see what their squad has and what will be returning for the fall.
“It gives us a lot of different kinds of sensations coming out of that spring,” Pough said.
“During a regular spring, we have 15 practices. At that point, you’ll be trying to find your way because you didn’t have nothing major that you could use to decide how far the team came, because you didn’t play anyone but yourself,” Pough said.
“Even when it was going good, if you make a big run, you worry about the defense. Whereas if they (the offense) don’t make any big plays, you think the offense has got issues,” he said.
“We got to play Alabama A&M, Alabama State and Delaware State twice. To have those four games, it was such a different kind of feel than what we’ve ever had coming out of the spring.”
After going 3-1 in the spring with the only loss coming to HBCU National Champion Alabama A&M, Pough is looking ahead.
“I’m excited and our guys are excited. They’ve seen what we could be as a football team,” Pough said.
S.C. State starts on-field practices Aug 5.