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S.C. State football expects even more improvement
After two years of playing on an elite level, South Carolina State must replace key personnel entering this fall.
But with the state of his program, coach Buddy Pough doesn’t believe in using the ‘R’ word.
“I don’t think we can talk about rebuilding anymore,” he said. “Our program’s at the point now where we put some guys in some different spots and we continue to move on. We’ve got to be better.
“Every year, regardless of who we lose, we expect to improve.”
Pough and men’s basketball coach Tim Carter spoke Thursday night to the university’s Greater Augusta Alumni Chapter at Cafe 209.
Pough has given the alumni reason to proudly wear their garnet and blue. The Bulldogs have won the past two Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championships with a combined 16-0 league mark. The team also went 10-3 and 10-2 the past two years, respectively, with losses to Appalachian State in the first round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs each year.
The Bulldogs entered the 2009 postseason ranked seventh in the nation in the FCS standings. They also ended the year No. 1 in three polls that rank Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“We want to be one of the top Championship Subdivision programs in the country,” Pough said. “We don’t necessarily want to be just a top HBCU program. We are working really hard to be with the Appalachian States and Georgia Southerns. Hopefully, we’ll continue to improve.”
S.C. State must replace its top two running backs, top two wide receivers and top tackler from last season. The Bulldogs return their entire offensive line, entire linebacking corps and senior quarterback Malcolm Long.
The team will begin the 2010 season with a challenge. After losing at South Carolina in 2009, the Bulldogs open Sept. 4 at Georgia Tech.
Pough said playing larger programs only helps his team. It even helps the fans.
“You think you know how to tailgate,” he told the faithful, “watch these cats.”
The Bulldogs signed three Augusta-area players in the off-season – LB Terrell Fitts (Glenn Hills), OL Jarrad Quarles (Richmond Academy) and DL Marquis Parks (Lincoln County) – to add to a pair of local connections already in Orangeburg, S.C. Sophomore tight end Antuanne Carr (Butler) is expected to start for the Bulldogs, while defensive lineman Ronell Ferguson (Lincoln County) will also see significant minutes.
“(Carr) is a great player. We’re just trying to make sure he does everything right,” Pough said. “(Ferguson) is a really good player and will probably be one of our captains before he is done.”