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July 17, 2014

Fresh Start

Chapell, Colonels hope to turn over new leaf in 2014

WHITLEY COUNTY — First-year coach Jason Chappell isn’t any stranger when it comes to challenges. He helped guide the South Laurel Cardinal football program to a couple of playoff appearances after seeing his South Laurel squad win only three games during his first year as Cardinal coach.

Now he’s faced with another challenge as he takes over a Whitley County team that graduated 12 players from last season’s 1-10 squad.

Even with what seems like the odds being stacked against him, Chappell is ready to meet the challenges head on.

“I’m ready and the kids are our ready,” Chappell said. “The kids have bought in and the coaches are certainly settling in — it’s been smooth transition. And as far as last year goes, we don’t talk about it. What’s in the past is in the past.”

“And to be honest, I’ve changed my approach a little bit,” he added. “We didn’t start back from the dead period until this past Monday, but we all jumped right in with both feet, and instead of easing our way in, we went out there and we’re getting the job done.”

At the present time, Chappell said he and his staff are still looking at what the Colonel players can do on both sides of the ball.

“On offense, we want to be good at what we can do,” Chappell said. “If you have the players that can throw the ball, you’re going to throw the ball, and if you’ve got the players to run the ball, you’ll run the ball. I believe we have a quarterback that is capable of doing both.

“I really believe we’re going to be flexible enough to do either,” he added. “And right now we’re still taking the approach of seeing what we’re going to be good at.”

Chappell said he’s also pleased with the numbers he saw during the summer’s first practice since the dead period ended.

“We had 45 players out, but sometimes numbers can be misleading, too,” he said. “We’re still exceptionally young with 22 of the 45 being freshmen. The big question is how many of those kids are prepared. That’s our job to have those kids to be prepared to play football.”

And right now, Chappell said his players seem to be ready.

“Our kids’ demeanor has been great,” he admitted. “They have been great and very coachable. They are very eager, and very open to whatever the coaching staff has throw at them.

“What happened in the past is in the past, and the coaches and the players are looking ahead,” Chappell added. “I believe everyone is ready.”

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