PREVIEW: Eddy Expects Big Strides From Patriots in 2014

By
Clay Benjamin

Dateline
Updated Sun, Aug 24, 2014 10:27 pm
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Editor's Note: Over the next two weeks our reporters will be bringing you team previews for each team in the SEOAL, TVC-Ohio, TVC-Hocking, and our West Virginia teams. We continue in West Virginia, where Parkersburg South is putting 2013 behind them. 

In 2001, Bill Belicheck won his first Super Bowl with the New England Patriots in just his second year as head coach of the team. Though Coach Mike Eddy isn't coaching in New England and trying to win Super Bowls, the second-year coach hopes to have his Patriots making big strides in 2014.  

Eddy and the Parkersburg South Patriots are coming off a 2-8 record and a last-place finish in 2013, which was his first year in Parkersburg after leaving Gallia Academy after the 2012 season.

"Obviously, last season was not acceptable," Eddy said. "We have put in a lot of work and spent a lot time this offseason changing the culture of this team. "

Youth and inexperience were the Achilles' heels for the Patriots last season, but with the majority of the starters returning, Coach Eddy can see success this season.

"We have the capability to be a playoff team," Eddy said. "They take 16 teams to the playoffs. We are okay with being team 16, as long as we make it."

A key member of any football team is the quarterback, and Patriots quarterback Garrett Gilkerson returns for his junior year. Last year as a sophomore, Gilkerson threw for 1,081 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions while completing 55 percent of his passes.

"Last year as a sophomore, he made mistakes,” Eddy said, “but you can expect that from a kid his age. We are going to see him mature and grow as a player and a leader for the team."

This season Gilkerson's go-to will likely be receiver Brendan Schwendeman, who had 20 catches for 219 yards and three touchdowns last season. Schwendeman also had 81 carries for 768 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground last year.

"Brendan has shown us a lot so far this offseason," said Coach Eddy. "He has been very impressive so far and you can really see him grow as a player."

With a lack of depth on the offensive and defensive lines, keeping the big boys healthy will be key to the Patriots success this season. Though the lines lack depth, the team has plenty of depth in other places that will help the team.

"We are very fortunate to have a lot of talent," said Coach Eddy. "We have a lot of depth in our skilled positions that will help us throughout the season."

The Patriots will open the season again at home versus the Ripley Vikings on Aug. 29.

'Gridiron Glory' airs every Friday at 11:30 p.m. on WOUB. You can follow the show on Twitter @gridironglory, like the Gridiron Glory page on Facebook, and follow along on Instagram @woubsports. You can also join the conversation throughout the season by using the hashtag #GridGlory. 

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