Valdosta State curbs title enthusiasm for new season

Quarterback Cayden Cochran reveled in the spotlight of winning a national championship for one month. After that, he said, it was time to start over.

“It kind of stinks because you think for so long on this goal you have and you put all this work toward the goal you want at the very end, and then when you achieve that goal you’re kind of told to forgot about it in a month,” Cochran said, a senior this season.

The Blazers finished last season 12-2, completing a 10-game winning streak by topping Winston-Salem State to capture the Division II national title.

Cochran said this year’s expectations haven’t changed. “We want to do the same thing,” Cochran said. “Our goal every year is to win a national championship. We want to win every single game we play, and we want to win a Gulf South Conference championship. We haven’t done that since 2010, and we want to win a national championship. I think that’s the pressure we put on ourselves every year.”

Playing his high school ball at Cashion (Okla.) High, Cochran said the Blazers will continue to run the spread offense, comparing the system with what the University of Oregon employs.

The Blazers have solid downfield threats at receiver and are improving in the run game under offensive coordinator Andy Richman, Cochran said.

He said the younger players are blending well with the concepts on offense and defense, and he looks forward to seeing practice pay off when they hit the field.

“I think that’s what’s kind of tough in camp is when you have such a new group — getting the concepts understood and getting the communication through so we can have an efficient practice,” Cochran said.

Although he passed for 26 touchdowns last season, Cochran said improving his game is a top priority.

“I want to be more accurate throwing the football,” Cochran said. “The more smooth the quarterback position can play, the more smooth our team can be this year. Last year I put us in some binds we had to get out of, and the less that stuff is around the more smooth we will be as a team and a unit.”