The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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July 5, 2014

A look ahead, Dean Hood: Colonels have entire offensive unit back for 2014

HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — Urban Meyer’s close friend and fellow Ashtabula native, Dean Hood, and his Eastern Kentucky Colonels are coming off a 6-6 campaign in 2013.

There will be plenty of continuity on the EKU offense as all 11 starters return, something that can be both a good thing and a bad thing, according to the coach.

“We’ve got every starter back on offense, that’s good and bad,” he said. “(It’s) Good we got everyone back... bad that some of the guys are the same guys and really need to amp up certain positions. We really looked good in the spring.”

Speaking with Meyer at Wednesday’s press conference at the third annual Urban Meyer-Dean Hood Youth Football Camp at Spire Institute, Hood said the offenses in the Ohio Valley Conference have shifted to more of a lateral offense, utilizing lots of zone running plays and short passing.

The focus for the Colonels this season will be to get faster and more athletic on defense.

“Our league has gone to 10 personnel, with no tight ends, or 11 personnel, with one tight end, and it’s a real lateral game with a lot of zone running and screens and controlled short passes,” he said. “We didn’t change the structure of our defense, but we changed the personnel within it to get faster. That really helped us on defense and we really need it. That’s where we took a big hit in graduation is on defense.

“We’re excited about the season starting.”

One thing Hood might be a little less than excited about is EKU’s season finale, a trip to play in the Swamp at Florida.

That game was agreed upon when Meyer was still in charge of the Gators, according to Hood, and he doesn’t expect Florida coach Will Muschamp to quite as cordial as Meyer would’ve been.

“We’ve got the game that Coach Meyer agreed to play when he was at Florida, so we gotta go play that game,” he said, putting his arm around Meyer and shooting him a look, drawing laughter. “He promised to cook me a chili and sea bass and take his starters out if he’s up two touchdowns, but I don’t think Muschamp is going to stick to the sea bass and the pulling his starters, so we’re going to have strap up for that one.”

EKU opens the season at Robert Morris on Aug. 28.

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