By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
April 3, 2013 — After a 6-5 season and the hiring of a new coach, the Kentucky Christian University football team is on the field for spring practices.
Gene Peterson was hired on Feb. 20 as the new head coach of the Knights program after former coach Mike Furrey accepted the position of wide receivers coach at Marshall University.
Peterson said the transition to a head coach has been different but the players have responded to the change as he installs his system to lead the Knights on the field.
“They’re ready to put on the pads,” Peterson said. “Our kids have really worked hard over the winter. They’ve gotten a lot stronger and it’s amazing the results they’ve achieved in the weight room.”
In 2012, the Knights were third in NAIA in total defense and Peterson does not expect to change a lot on that side of the ball.
It is the offense he expects to only get better in the spring and carry over into the fall. KCU averaged 285.7 yards per game, but only scored 17.9 points a contest. Peterson wants to improve those marks.
“We just need to get better at what we’re doing,” Peterson said. “We really hit our stride the last few games of the season. Now we need to build on that for the upcoming season.”
The Knights have plenty of returners for this upcoming season including sophomore quarterback Cole Cooper, who played in nine games last season. With weapons such as wide receiver Marcus Hicks, who caught 28 passes for 525 yards and three touchdowns, is expected to be a big contributor next season. Peterson said those guys combined with several offensive lineman and others will expect to earn opportunities for playing time in the fall.
“We’ve got some guys that are competing with the returners that can only make us better,” Peterson said. “We are trying to develop some depth so by the time August rolls around, we have guys that can be ready if we need them to.”
Spring practices will end with the annual spring game for KCU on May 4.
“When we get out of spring ball we know what we have to work on for the summer,” Peterson said. “Our offense and defense aren’t going to change very much so hopefully everything gets better from the start of the spring to the end of it.”
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.