COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina State head football coach Buddy Pough sees the glass as half full heading into his team's upcoming season.
Entering his 16th year as head coach of the Bulldogs, Pough has practically seen it all during his tenure in Orangeburg. From winning six conference championships and making FCS playoff appearances to subpar seasons, Pough has weathered a number of challenges thrown his way at SC State.
This season presents another challenge for Pough. In a contract year for Pough with no long-term deal on the table, SC State hopes to find a way to bring home another Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title with a tightened recruiting budget and without a few assistant coaches.
"We thinned out a little bit staff-wise," said Pough. "We just hadn't been able to afford to have as many people around as we've had in some of the previous years. It's that kind of deal that you've got to understand that you've got to make a little bit more happen with a little bit less. Our guys have done a really nice job of filling the gaps and moving around and getting where we've got to get to make the whole thing work out for us."
In fact, not having as many assistants has allowed Pough to be a little more involved in coaching certain positions and getting involved with developing players. It's just one of the few things that keep Pough going.
"It's time for us to win big here," Pough said. "We like to see if we could get into these championship games and do some of the kinds of things that the league has got set up for us now so that we can do something really neat for not only our program but for our university. Our big mission now is to get into this Celebration Bowl and see if we can really make some hay that way."
Before the Bulldogs can think of getting to the Celebration Bowl, they'll have to get through a schedule that will see SC State play at home six times this year.
"I think it'll be a fun schedule," said Pough. "And then our schedule is set up differently this year that you get a chance to have more success than we've had in the previous years."
The Bulldogs have been working throughout the spring to prepare for the upcoming season. While sharpening their fundamentals are definitely part of what Pough would like his players to work on, he says finding a way for the players to gel together would also be beneficial.
"Anytime you've got as many new faces as we've got around here, you got a lot of guys trying to get used to each other," Pough said. "At this point, it's been a lot of fun. It's just neat seeing the guys that you've recruited and you work toward trying to figure out how you place them in all of these different places on your team. It's been an enjoyable experience just seeing these guys try to find their way."
SC State will hold their Garnet and Blue Spring Game on April 15th at noon.