South Carolina State conducted its first preseason football workout Tuesday night as the Bulldogs began preparing for the 2011 campaign. Tuesday’s practice was originally set for 3:10 in the afternoon, however, head coach Buddy Pough and his staff moved the drill to the evening to avoid scorching temperatures. Bulldog practices through Saturday will also begin in the evening at approximately 7 p.m.
Almost 100 players were on hand for Tuesday’s practice, which was conducted in shorts and helmets and concentrated mostly on conditioning.
Pough noted his team appeared to be in reasonable good shape but added that he and his staff considered it a sense of urgency that his players hit the ground running and learn quickly because of the many unknowns for a team that lost 11 starters, among them the Bulldogs’ three-year starting quarterback, three starting offensive linemen and the starting linebacker corps.
The team suffered another blow on Tuesday as Pough reported that redshirt junior wide receiver Lennel Elmore, who led the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in receiving with 48 catches, has been declared ineligible for the 2011 campaign.
“I’m excited about the season but there are so many unknowns on this team,” Pough said. “I don’t have a clue at this point of how we are going to do. I know one thing, we must get ready quickly because we have an early schedule about as tough as we’ve ever faced.
“There are always great expectations here at SC State,” continued Pough. “We want to win our conference and get to the playoffs, but we have to find out early who wants to play and who can help this team. We probably got about 35 new guys between signees and walk-ons and some of them will have to be ready to play.
Pough’s team, which has won or shared the last three MEAC titles and made three consecutive appearance in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, face a challenging start to the 2011 campaign.
The Bulldogs open the season Sept. 1 at Central Michigan, one of two Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams on the schedule, travel to Bethune-Cookman Sept. 10 to take on the Wildcats who snapped SC State’s 21-game MEAC winning streak last year with a 14-0 win at Orangeburg and shared the league title with Pough’s team and Florida A&M, then make a second trip to the Midwest to face a second FBS opponent in Indiana at Bloomington Sept. 17.