Originally Published: Aug 21, 2010 2:39 PM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
OKLAHOMA CITY -- When the eight Jones Longhorns players walked into the room at the Coaches Aid/Oklahoma Sports Media Day, there were no smiles on their faces and rightfully so.
In 2009, the Longhorns played well enough to notch an 8-2 record, but after a player was ruled ineligible Jones lost six wins and their spot in the chase for the Gold Ball.
“Truthfully [having a playoff spot taken away] was heartbreaking. Having that work taken away from us, it’s one of those things that we couldn’t control,” said running back Kris Vaughn. “Those things out there on the field were the things that we could control. It brought use more together than we had been, sort of like a family.”
But instead of dwelling on things that cannot be changed, the players and coaches have used their experiences as a rallying call for 2010.
“These kids have had something taken away from them and we use it as a motivation,” said head coach Dave Martin. “There’s not going to be a lot of teams that have had something taken away from them. We’ve put [the eligibility issues] behind us, but we’re going to use that as a motivational factor.”
Martin, not only steps in as a coach, but as an alumnus of the school, and feels a connection to his players that’s deeper than a player-coach relationship.
“With my coaching staff and these kids, they’re our kids, just like our family and kids at home and we’re going to take care of them,” said Martin. “We’ve got to go fix what was undone a season ago, and not only is it a motivating factor for our players, but our coaching staff.”