ORANGEBURG, SC (WIS) - While there's been a few changes throughout the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, there's one thing that hasn't changed.
South Carolina State head coach Buddy Pough will enter his 14th season leading the Bulldogs. During his tenure with the program, Pough has won 105 games and six MEAC titles including two outright conference championships.
Pough, a former offensive lineman for SC State, says leading his alma mater has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of his life.
"No way I've been here 14 years," Pough said. "It's here. It's been fun. Let's hope we can do something to make it really special, because it's a critical time in our university. Nothing would be better than for us to get off to a great start and to set the tone for the year in a way that can be a positive reflection of our university."
Pough and the Bulldogs ended last season in a five-way tie for the conference championship, but they begin this year with four players who won't see action due to their roles in the brawl that occurred in the season finale at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium against Norfolk State. Still, the Bulldogs believes they are prepared to fill those voids when they face Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sept. 6th in Orlando.
"You've had enough time to make yourself aware and not put those guys in a position that it would be a surprise to anybody," Pough said. "So, the team's known it for a while."
Running back Jalen "Scoot" Simmons, offensive linemen Greg Newell and James Settles, and quarterback Calvin Giles-McClary were the four players listed who will not see action in the season opener due to suspension.
Nevertheless, Pough believes his team will be ready to play.
"It's a little bit of a strange deal playing on Sunday," Pough said, "but we're excited."