The EKU coaching staff has had a very simple, but powerful message for its players in recent weeks.
Expectations don’t automatically lead to results.
And they’ve hammered that point home to every Colonel at almost every opportunity possible.
“If you read the papers, we are the Green Bay Packers,” Hood said.
The expectations are high, indeed.
The Colonels are the preseason favorite to win another Ohio Valley Conference championship. They will certainly be ranked in the Top 25 when the preseason polls are announced and there is a definitely a feeling surrounding the program that this could be a breakout season.
Still, the coaching staff doesn’t want their players to buy into the hype.
“I didn’t want them to think that we were down on them because there has been so much talk from the coaches (about staying grounded), Hood said. “The coaches are older and they know the traps of being picked No. 1 and getting too big for your britches. We don’t want it to sound negative to the kids.”
It’s a balancing act, for sure.
And that’s exactly what Hood addressed with the team Thursday after the opening practice of training camp.
Simply put, there’s still plenty of work to be done if the Colonels are going to make a second-straight appearance in the FCS Playoffs and win their first postseason game in almost two decades (1994).
EKU received 12 of 18 first-place votes in the OVC Preseason Poll. The Colonels are set to return 17 starters from a team that went 7-5 last season and had a league-best 10 players named to the All-OVC Preseason team.
Senior offensive lineman Aaron Adams, senior running back Matt Denham, senior offensive lineman O.J. Enabosi, senior offensive lineman Patrick Ford and senior wide receiver Tyrone Goard all received preseason OVC honors, while Ford, Adams and junior linebacker Anthony Brown have all received preseason All-American honors from a variety of publications.
All those accolades are nice, but there are still plenty of questions to be answered as camp unfolds.
“There’s a lot of hype about three first-team all-conference lineman coming back and that we only lost one starter on offense, so we are just going to roll past everyone,” Hood said. “That’s not as good as it looks. We lost four senior offensive linemen. So, we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
After opening practice Thursday at Roy Kidd Stadium with a night session, the Colonels scheduled workout Friday evening was canceled because of rain.
EKU is scheduled to return to the field today from 7 to 10 p.m. at Roy Kidd Stadium.