By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
Rod Elliott would be the first person to tell you just how disappointed he and his Cold Springs football team were about not making the Class 2A playoffs a year ago.
The Blue and Gold quickly snapped a lengthy 35-game losing streak in the coach’s first season with the Eagles since 2005, but ultimately finished an unspectacular 3-7 en route to their eighth-straight losing season.
Despite a string of tough-luck campaigns, Cold Springs has a lot to be optimistic about looking ahead to the fall.
The Eagles return 18 starters — nine on each side of the ball — and, according to Elliott, are poised to make some noise when the lights begin shining again on Friday nights.
“I think our team started out a lot further ahead this year than last year,” Elliott said. “We basically spent all of last season teaching the guys fundamentals. We stayed in our base offense for all of our games.
“This time, though, we are going to be able to be a lot more multiple, and I think three or four of the games we lost last season, we’ll be able to turn around this fall.”
Although the Eagles return a staggering amount of starters, Elliott’s main goal coming into and out of spring involved developing quality depth behind those returning players.
Unfortunately for the coach, however, injuries and spring sports hampered his ability to get the goal accomplished in full.
“We were really trying to find some linebackers this spring,” he said. “Part of our problem was we ran into some injuries and had to hold back some players we were hoping to get a look at in our positions of need. We also had three coaches who were unable to help out as much due to coaching some of our spring teams.”
Though depth could be an issue for the Eagles moving forward, they do return a healthy amount of playmakers off last season’s squad, including running back Logan Campbell and quarterback Austin Moore.
The two switched position late in the 2012 campaign, with Campbell excelling toting the rock and Moore looking steady calling plays under center.
With a solid year under their belts, the Blue and Gold will look to take a giant step forward this season, as they hope to snap an eight-year playoff drought.
“That’s our main goal,” said Elliott, who was also atop the program during its last postseason appearance in 2004. “We were very, very disappointed we didn’t get in last year.”
To break that devilish trend, the Eagles will have to improve from top to bottom in hopes of turning around some of those close losses from a season ago, including a couple of two-possession defeats to Lamar County and R.C. Hatch.
They got off to a nice winning start in April, dispatching Vinemont 38-35 in their jamboree game, where Elliott said his players were able to get some good playing experience.
“We’ve got a very good football team this year, in my opinion,” Elliott said. “We are expecting to make it to the playoffs, but we do have a very tough region. But I think we have a very good shot at accomplishing our goals.”
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.