By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The variations on the theme are many.
“Put up or shut up.”
“Don’t talk the talk, walk the walk.”
Then there’s the “overall motto” for the PikeView Panthers football team in 2013: “Don’t talk about it, be about it.”
Three PikeView running backs talked recently about the team’s dedication to improvement, as the springboard to bounce back from last year’s 0-10 record.
Hard-nosed senior Hunter Moses (5-foot-10, 160 pounds) said living with the win-loss record “was pretty rough, but all in all, I think it’ll help us to strive harder this year.”
“It motivates you to be there (in weightlifing and conditioning) every day, and always get one more rep,” said Moses, who set the standard for the rushing attack last season with nearly 1,000 yards rushing.
Joe Jennings, at 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds, will be Moses’ running mate in a two-back offense. The scrappy sophomore said, “We’ve learned to just not give up even though we had the losses. This year I know we’re going to be better. We just have a better team.”
“We have a bunch of guys who came out and lifted. And we want to win this year. ‘Don’t talk about it, be about it.’ ”
Daniel Brown, also a sophomore, was penciled in as a relief back for Moses and Jennings early in the preseason. He’s a usually-straight-ahead runner who uses his 160 pounds on a 5-foot-8 frame to maximum advantage.
He reported, “We’ve done a lot of weightlifting and a whole lot of conditioning.” His life on a farm has provided even more opportunity: He said he’s lifted a lot of square bales of hay since the first cutting this spring.
“I’ve definitely gotten stronger, and probably a whole lot faster,” Brown said.
Jennings said, “I’ve lifted about every day. I love football and one day I hope to get a scholarship to play football in college.”
Moses referenced the 10 seniors on the Panthers’ roster and said, “We have probably 10 times the leadership this year. With all the hard work and dedication we’ve put in all summer, things have to change.”
The attitude is not the only thing that has changed for 2013. Head coach Bobby Wyatt, who concluded his first season in charge at PikeView last November, said, “We’re changing our offense up a little bit this year.”
“After being here a year with these kids and seeing the speed and athletic ability that we have, I think maybe I was asking too much of them to try to be a physical team. (We want to) turn back to more of a finesse team.”
Moses will still be “the main back” in a spread look, Wyatt said. Jennings will join the senior for a two-back look.
“Then we’ve got Daniel Brown, who will be able to relieve both of them,” Wyatt said. “Honestly, I know Hunter has been the workhorse, but from what I’ve seen out of Joe and Daniel, (who) are both sophomores, they’re not far from what Hunter can give us.
“So we’re not going to be losing a lot with any of the three in there.”
Year two of Wyatt’s system will not present the steep learning curve that the players faced last August.
Moses said, “It’s easier this year, knowing what offense we’re going to run. Now we can perfect it. ... We’re a lot better prepared.”
He said about the PikeView coaching staff, “I love every one of them. They’re the best coaches we’ve ever had. They taught me the true meaning of football.”
And what exactly is the true meaning of football?
Moses said, “You’ve got to have leadership, integrity — and be tough. And it’s not always about winning.”
Jennings said, “It’s about building a family, a brotherhood.”
Brown provided probably the simplest answer to his motivation to keep playing the sport.
“It’s just something I’ve always done,” he said. “I love the game.”
— Contact Tom Bone at