Out in Orangeburg the South Carolina State Bulldogs had media and picture day Saturday morning.
Head coach Buddy Pough and his players are excited about this season because of a stout defense that features reigning MEAC defensive player of the year Darius Leonard and an offense that can be dynamic with Mykal Moody and Dwann Ford at quarterback.
When it comes to the schedule last year they went through murder's row taking on Clemson, LA Tech and and UCF all on the road.
The Bulldogs open the year against Southern University for the MEAC/SWAC challenge on national TV. The Bulldogs believe they have an easier path to hopefully more Ws this season. Coach Pough cautions that this won't be a cakewalk.
"We got a chance to better schedule wise this year. But at the same time these guys can beat us up to. We got to go to Southern. Traditionally those guys have been really good down there. We come back home and play Charleston Southern and everybody knows how good they are and then we play Johnson C Smith here," Pough said.
The 16 year head coach at South Carolina State also adds that there won't be too much wear and tear on his team this season so they should be fresher late in the season.
"The best part of the whole deal is I don't think we'll deal with some of the physicality and some of the travel considerations that we had last year. As tough a part of the deal of anything last year was not just the fact that we played hard teams but we played hard teams a long ways away by bus. So you get those things working all together in concert then the next thing you know is you got a pretty tired football team."
Leonard is also optimistic that his team can build momentum with their early season slate before entering their MEAC schedule.
"Last year we started off with three big schools this year we kind of broke it down a little bit this year so I think we'll come out a whole lot healthier than we did last year and like you said our fourth game is against North Carolina Central so we go to hit the ground-we got to be running. Because if not don't want to take that first L in the conference."
The Bulldogs season opener is Sunday September 3rd against Southern on ESPN2. Kickoff is set for 2:30 pm.