UV-E football season ends on a downer, part 2

Patrick Newell

It’s fair to say my commentary on the behavior of select fans and players after the final home football game touched a nerve or two. A losing season is a tough pill to swallow, failing to win any games is a horrible legacy to leave on the program. Let’s do the numbers quickly: It’s the second winless season for the UV-E Storm over the past four years, and in that time, the team has six wins and 29 losses. In spite of that inauspicious mark, I believed the program was about ready to turn the corner. In 2007, UV-E was in contention for a winning season until losing at the tail-end of week nine’s game against Delhi. The staff piloted a club that was statistically among the best defenses in Chenango County giving up less than 13 points a game. With so many solid players returning from that club, head coach Jack Loeffler had reason for optimism. As a bit of background information: I went to grade school with Mr. Loeffler’s son Aaron over 30 years ago, and I’ve known the family most of my life. Speaking to him during the preseason, I had never heard such upbeat, positive words come from his mouth. My first day visiting Loeffler, I was on site strictly to shoot pictures of practice and individual headshots of players. Without asking a question of his team, he was giving me headline-like quotes. I told Jack, “save those for my interview.” There was no question in his mind: He sincerely thought he had one heck of a group of players. Many times he told me, “we’re stinkin’ tough.” I had no reason to doubt him, and I picked the Storm to beat Bainbridge-Guilford in week one. B-G’s head coach was unsure of his group, whereas Jack was confident in his corps. That final went the Bobcats’ way by touchdown. With the advantage of hindsight, B-G ended up a playoff team. The Bobcats were better than expected, and in fact, half the teams UV-E played this year were playoff teams., Seven of the nine UV-E opponents were in playoff contention until the final week of the season. It was, by no means, an easy schedule. Still, the unrealized expectations of this 2008 season was such an affront to some people, it led to immature, rude behavior by a select few following the game with Oxford. You would think Mr. Loeffler and his staff had no idea what they were doing. May I remind readers, last year’s UV-Edmeston club had one heck of a defense. This staff didn’t suddenly forget how to coach. Since I used a quote in the previous blog that seemed appropriate, another one seems to apply here: “Coaches get far too much credit for winning, and way too much of the blame for losing.” Should the coaching staff at UV-E get a free pass for this past season? No, and I don’t believe those gentlemen would want one. It is incumbent upon the staff to address mistakes made this past year, and then correct them. My first suggestion: Hire another full-time varsity assistant coach. The benefits of an extra set of eyes – and ideas – is extraordinary. Not to mention, it would allow more attention to detail and individual coaching by position. Reader responses note that UV-E has a good group of young men stepping up to varsity next year. The best thing going for the newcomers: The slate is clean, and the program has nowhere to go but up.