Carrollton, GA August 2, 2005 – West Georgias Braves enter the 2005 football season with designs on being the surprise team in this years Gulf South Conference race. If they succeed, the Braves will catch more than a few people by surprise.
West Georgia was picked eighth in Tuesdays release of the annual preseason poll of Gulf South Conference head coaches. One coach tabbed the Braves for second place, while the rest of the leagues mentors had UWG finishing no higher than seventh this season.
I think its an accurate depiction of the picture at this stage of the game, says UWG coach Mike Ledford. He adds, The top five (in the poll) have been the top programs in the conference over the last several years. And, obviously, Valdosta State has proven itself as the team to beat in the Gulf South Conference.
A year ago, West Georgia posted a mark of 2-7. They were 2-6 and tied for ninth in the conference standings.
Coaches made defending national champ Valdosta State the overwhelming choice to defend their league title. The Blazers were chosen first on 10-of-12 ballots. Following Valdosta State, coaches selected Delta State, Arkansas Tech, Central Arkansas and North Alabama as the leagues top five.
Individually, GSC coaches tabbed two West Georgia players for their preseason all-conference squad. Returning All-America punter Jeff Carpenter, an All-GSC First Team choice a year ago, was an obvious selection to the squad. He is joined by teammate John Perkins, a junior linebacker who was a second team all-conference choice last season.
Carpenter, Perkins, and some 115 other players report to campus Wednesday for the beginning of the Braves 2005 preseason camp. Following two days of physical exams, conditioning tests, and meetings, the Braves take the field Friday afternoon for their first official practice.