Speaking to a packed house Monday night at Gillum’s Sports Lounge, Eastern Kentucky University head football coach Dean Hood unpacked his outlook for the 2010 Colonel Football season.
Hood thinks the return of several key players will be the key to the Colonels starting a new winning season streak.
“I really like our team. I thought last year we were really young and inexperienced,” Hood said. “Even the older guys on the roster were guys that hadn’t played a lot of football games. For the first time since I’ve been here we have our safeties back, which is critical because they are the ones who called the defense. We also have our quarterback back and we hadn’t had that. I feel good about that. “
One area that Hood felt like needing improving over the off season was the offensive line and help for that came at midterm with the transfers of five offensive linemen, including two from Hofstra. One of the Hofstra transfers, junior Derek Moore, started 23 games in his career for the Pride while earning 2009 All-CAA third team honors.
“We really shored up an area which could have been a real weakness for us in our line by losing 2 starters by getting 5 guys at midterm,” Hood said. “ I feel like we did that immediately and that really showed during the spring as the kids learned the offense. “
The Colonels will start the season on Aug. 22 at Missouri State and will play their first three games on the road. Eastern’s first home game will be on Oct. 2 as they take on Kentucky State. Hood said he started getting his team ready for playing on the road back in the spring by playing some scrimmage games in eastern Kentucky.
“It’s a little weird not being at home until October but it is what it is,” Hood said. “So we get on the road and go play and try and help ourselves by taking ourselves on the road during the spring. “
One major change in the Fooball Champions Series division this year is the expanded playoffs. The NCAA expanded the playoffs to 20 teams, up from 16. Hood says that will impact scheduling in the future. “It changes scheduling a lot.,” Hood said. “ If you’re under the mindset we have to win or we are not going which has pretty much been the way it has been for the OVC the last 10 years I think. If that’s your mindset and thinking then you don’t care who you schedule as long as you win the OVC. Whereas now if you think hey we might get a second team in, then you better schedule some teams that will get you some points with the committee if you happen to not win the league. “
One of the games that Hood hopes to impress the committee with is Louisville. Hood says the games against BCS schools help the Colonels in several ways.
“I like the BCS game. I think it does worlds for your recruiting,” Hood said. “I think it helps you focus over the off season. The guys see that on the schedule and they a little more app to work and be united. I like for the opportunity to be the next Appalachian State and be the lead story on Sports Center. I like for the budget standpoint to be able help you get the things you need by playing the money games. “
You can hear Coach Hood’s comments here. Sorry but the audio is pretty low due to my recorder being moved when he started talking.