HYDEN, Ky. (WYMT) - Simply put Leslie County's 3-8 season in 2013 feel way short of expectations. "We definitely fell short last year as a team and as a staff at getting things done," reflects head coach Eddie Melton. "We don't want that to happen again. That's a pretty bad taste to have in your mouth throughout the entire off-season. The players are ready to get back. The coaches are ready to get back. We're very excited to get started."
The Eagles ended their season on a six-game losing streak but Melton says the issues that plagued the team one year ago have been resolved. "I feel like last year we weren't a disciplined football team on the field. There was some crucial moments in some games that we got penalties that we felt like cost us possibly three more wins throughout the season," he says, "and we can't have that. We tried to grow up some; talked about growing up some as a team."
One change that was made includes a better conditioning program, something that should help the team close out games in the fourth quarter. "In the end, in the fourth quarter last year we lost probably four or five games in the fourth quarter," says Mike Smith, a senior lineman. "A lot of them was on the line I guess. That's just going to help us win in the end, you know."
The one factor though that needs to be better for this team to succeed is the running game. "We got to run the ball a lot better," states Melton. "Last year we moved the ball quite a bit. We up and down the field, but we get around the 20-yard line, the red zone, and it seemed like we struggled to put it in, and that was in part because we didn't have a good running game."
"We got to run the ball better for sure this year," adds Smith. "If we run the ball better the passing game will open up, and running the ball is probably going to be our money."
An improved, experienced offensive line should help with that. "Toughness and physical," says senior tight end/defensive end Peyton Pugh about the line. "We go hard every day We fight and we grind."
As the Eagles aim to run, not fly, into the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2011.