Ryle was one of two coaches on staff, which were tasked to field a football team with just 23 players listed on the roster.
It’s no surprise that the team struggled in 2013, winning just one game, but he said one year has made all of the difference.
“I’m very excited with how offseason training has gone,” Ryle said. “After this past season we’ve continued to build relationships and trust that weren’t there to begin with, and that’s going to make a difference.”
There were arguably some benefits to starting so small, as many players were forced to play both ways. Now the Eagles’ roster has bolstered to more than 40 players, which means those experienced players won’t be asked to expend all of their energy in practice or on game days.
“Last year nobody really got a break,” Ryle said. “Once guys kind of settled into their roles they didn’t have anyone behind them to push them in practice, so with a bigger roster comes more competition.”
Not only was the roster size nearly twice as big this spring, but it was the first offseason that Ryle had his assistants.
Ryle attributed the stability of a full coaching staff to enthusiasm within the program.
“Overall, we had a great spring,” Ryle said. “We’ve got a lot more kids buying into the year-round system and weight lifting program.”
The biggest loss from last year’s roster will be receiver and defensive back John Towne, who led the team with 19 receptions for 354 yards and two touchdowns. Newcomer Jalen Dampier is expected to fill that void as the team’s strongest utility.
“Dampier came in just before Christmas and is going to be a great addition,” Ryle said of the rising junior. “He might play a little quarterback and will play defensive back. He’s got a lot of speed and athletic ability.”
Ryle also said lineman Zac Pruitt and James Lusk were graduating players that needed to be replaced. Replacing players won’t be as much of a chore now that there’s more individuals to compete.
“Having depth is going to be a nice plus,” Ryle said.