The Jacksonville Fightin' Indian football team have already started to work on preparing for the 2014 season as the team has been active in off-season work for several weeks now.
We caught up with Tribe athletic director and head football coach Chris Taber this week to check on the progress of the Indians and to get get Taber's thoughts on the JHS athletic program in general.
Taber said that the attitudes are good and that he has been pleased with the effort that he has seen from his players as they work in the off season.
Despite the Indians going 0-10 last year, the focus has been placed on the future and in improving.
Taber, who will starting his third season in Jacksonville next year, said that there are several encouraging factors that should enable the Tribe to get back on track in 2014.
Jacksonville Daily Progress: For several reasons the participation numbers were unusually low last year which seem to contribute to the Indians' slide. How important is it to be able to beef up the ranks for Jacksonville to be successful in football.
Chris Taber: I think in any program the more kids that you have participate, the more kids you have to choose from. In football, particularly with the injuries, you have to have depth and lack of depth hurt us some last season. Participation is one of our biggest challenges right now. We've got to get some of the kids out of the hallways and into athletics. Not just in football, but in all of our athletics.
JDP: Are you hopeful that the numbers will be greater in 2014?
CT: Yes. In our middle school program we are up in total athletics about 250 kids, so it's starting to happen. Anytime you take over a program and start to install your schemes and processes it takes time. It's not a one or two year process.We saw success in our eighth-grade group this past season and they did well in district play and those kids will be our freshmen next year; so I think we're starting to see some change. Kids will be coming up to the high school programs that have had success in middle school.