Coach David Dudley wants to turn negatives into positives for the Pleasantville High School football team.
Dudley is in his first season as coach. He was a Pleasantville assistant the past two years.
Before that, he was an assistant at Egg Harbor Township for 10 years. Dudley quarterbacked EHT to the South Jersey Group III title in 1993.
He takes over a Greyhounds team that finished 0-10 last season. Pleasantville hasn't had a winning season since 2003.
"I already told the kids to take the things that are negative about the Pleasantville football team and turn that into positives," Dudley said. "We have to get kids who know they have responsibilities in the classroom, as well as on the field. I need some seniors to attend college this year and show the community and the players on the team that if you put the work in it can transition to you playing college football."
Another of Dudley's top priorities is to increase the number of players in the program. The Greyhounds currently have about 40 players, but half of those are freshmen.
"We're just trying to do better (than) we did last year," said running back and linebacker Dontaye Rivera. "We have a new coach and a lot of freshmen. We are just trying to build on that."
Pleasantville will rely on two of the Cape-Atlantic League's most talented players in Rivera and quarterback and defensive back Josh Evans.
Dudley said Evans is working on improving his throwing mechanics.
"He's a natural running back trying to play quarterback," Dudley said. "He can utilize his feet and get yards."
Dudley said Rivera could play for any team in the league.
"He could play any position on the football field," Dudley said. "We've had him at defensive end, defensive tackle, inside linebacker, corner."
Dudley wants to emphasize the run and a stingy defense.
"Last year there were a couple of games that we fell short of by less than 10 points," Dudley said. "We have to be able to establish some character and pull those games out. I'm expecting our defense to lead us and our offense to control the game with the run."
Dudley also hopes the program gets a boost from Pleasantville's new artificial grass field.
"There's a lot of athletes walking the halls of that high school and for whatever reason they choose not come out," Dudley said. "I hope the field helps."
Contact Michael McGarry:
PLAYOFF APPEARANCES: 8
LAST PLAYOFF APPEARANCE: 2003
PLAYOFF RECORD: 5-8
LEAGUE/GROUP: Cape-Atlantic League United/South Jersey Group II
COACH: David Dudley (first season)
2010 RECORD: 0-10
2011 PREDICTION: Rebuilding - Greyhounds haven't had a winning season since 2003.
GAME TO WATCH: Sept. 16 vs. Vineland - Pleasantville plays its first game on its new artificial grass field.