For the last nine years, U.S. Grant has won only one game each football season.
Third-year coach Dan Burgess is trying to break that streak.
The Generals finished last season winless in their district. The team also went scoreless in eight games, including a 70-0 loss to Lawton Eisenhower.
Burgess doesn't focus on any of that. Instead, he focuses on small advances in football and in life.
Q: How do you handle a team that went 1-9 last season? Carefully? How do you go about building the next year?
A: That's a really good question. It's one of the things myself and my staff handle daily. We go through school talking to kids that look like they might be athletes and are good kids and pretty good students. We try to get them involved. Once they get involved and are on board with everything, we try to go from there with it.
After last season, do you change anything with the way your staff coaches?
We've changed a little bit of our philosophy on defense. The offensive philosophy has changed from spread team to more I-formation for more ball control and more option game.
What do you do to keep the team from not being discouraged?
We really don't talk about it in a way that would be discouraging. We try to say, “Look guys. What we're looking for is a day-to-day improvement. Are you doing better than what you were doing? Are you working harder? At the end of the day, when you walk off the field, can you tell yourself you've gotten better?”
We don't dwell on, “Hey, we've got to score. Hey, we've got to win.” Realistically, that's going to be a problem, especially against the 6A opponents. We may not have enough bullets in the gun for that type of deal. We just say, “Look, get better every day. Every time we play, every time you practice, get better. Let everything else take care of itself.”
What kind of coach would you say you are?
Mother, father, counselor, brother, sister. Anything. We fill a lot of roles on this staff.
All my coaches do a really good job with whatever problems they might have. We try to make it a better situation along with being a disciplinarian and a teacher as far as teaching them the game. Our main goal, though, is we're looking for kids to graduate high school and be a positive contributor to society.