Night and day.
That was David Green’s description of how different his team is this year compared to last.
The second-year Enloe football coach said the Eagles are buying into the process of building a program. He’s seen nearly 80 students each day during summer workouts.
Winless since Oct. 31, 2014, Enloe is looking to reverse the streak and show it can compete – if not entirely now, then definitely in the future.
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“We’re not in a position to where we can look at one particular game,” Green said when asked about the team’s biggest contest of the year. “Hopefully in a couple of years, that’s one of the spots we’ll be at.”
The Eagles open at Bartlett Yancey on Aug. 19.
“We’ve made huge improvements since last year in attitude, work ethic, buying into the program,” Green said.
Green believes he has the personnel to compete this season and possibly find a win. Enloe’s closest game was a 21-17 loss at Person last season. The Eagles were shutout four times, three coming against Cap-8 Conference opponents.
It’s no mistake that the Cap-8 is one of the toughest leagues in the area, and Green said he expects everyone to be better than the year before.
By time Enloe hosts Millbrook in the conference opener on Sept. 23, the improved Eagles would have had a chance to spread their wings.
“It’ll be interesting to see what kind of strides we’ve made,” Green said of the Cap-8 opener. “We want to be competitive in the conference.”
Enloe gave up 34.5 points a game last season; Leesville Road scored the most with 55. The Eagles scored 6.9 points a game.
They lost their top rusher in Antavius Marrow and their trusted quarterback Keshawn Adams to graduation.
Converted receiver Carleon Merritt is expected to be the starting quarterback of 2016. He stepped in when Adams was injured last season.
Green expects to be strong at running back and in the secondary.
“This isn’t going to be the same old Enloe that people may have gotten used to in the past,” Green said. “I think we’re probably going to surprise some people. I’m not saying we’re going to run the table, but if people are thinking it’s going to be the same Enloe, they’ll be surprised.”
How does the Enloe staff keep its players encouraged after a winless season?
Green said last season he told the Eagles it takes a process to build a program. Coaches have monitored the players’ weight room and classroom activity to assure them they’re in it for the long haul and in order to sustain the Eagles’ work.
“It’s all a process,” Green said. “It wasn’t a one-year deal.”
Who will replace Antavius Marrow as the team’s top rusher?
Enloe will share the ball more than last year. There are six capable running backs who can divide the responsibilities. Chris O’Neal (5-foot-11, 220 pounds) is a bigger back, while someone like Hamilton Moore (5-11, 185 pounds) can provide more speed. The Eagles will use the medley of rushers for balance.
“We think running the ball is going to be a strength for us,” Green said.
What will be the biggest strength on the field?
Six returners will compete for four spots in Enloe’s secondary.
“We’ve got a good group back,” Green said. “We’re going to be really good at running back, we’re going to be really good at receiving, but we think our secondary is going to be the strength of our team.”
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan
More on the Eagles
Last year: 0-11 (0-7 Cap-8)
Offense: Spread option
Contributors: Marcus Harris (Jr., WR/DB), Hamilton Moore (Soph., RB/LB), Bryce Rogers (Soph., RB/LB)
The number: 2014 – The last time Enloe won a football game, on Halloween of that year.
Schedule *all games start at 7 p.m.
Aug. 19 at Bartlett Yancey
Aug. 28 BYE
Sept. 1 at Rolesville
Sept. 8 at Knightdale
Sept. 16 Person
*Sept. 23 Millbrook
*Sept. 30 @ Wakefield
*Oct. 7 Heritage
*Oct. 14 at Leesville Road
*Oct. 21 Sanderson
*Oct. 28 Broughton
*Nov. 4 @ Wake Forest