After three straight seasons with at least eight wins, the Madison
County Mountaineers went 3-7 last year. As they try to get back on the winning track, head coach Stuart Dean says one of the main focuses is forming a unified front.
"We're trying to come together as a team. Last year we played like a bunch of individuals, and we're really trying to get the kids to buy into our team principle," says Dean. He says he'll rely on his group of seniors to help bring the team together.
Senior linebacker and wide receiver Clifford Fortune says, "I'm definitely talking to the guys, keeping us all together, everybody's head in the game. We're just having meetings before practice talking about discipline, team effort, and commitment to the team."
Dean says he hasn't even mentioned last year's record during
this year's camp, because he doesn't feel that he has to. He believes his returning players will remember how tough it was and use that for motivation. Those returning players will likely be the key to improving play on the field, on both sides of the ball.
"We return 4 out of 5 offensive lineman, so they've got to lead the way for us," said Dean. "Defensively, we've got to do a better job of stopping the run." Senior running back Maurice Gentry adds, "we have to focus on defense and tackle better. On offense, plays will come, but defense wins games."
In his seven years at Madison, Dean has been through both winning and losing seasons. He says to rebound after a tough year, his players will have to put in the work. "We're going to make sure we outwork anybody else. That's all we can do is just work harder than anybody else."