"Probably the best approach is that you keep your expectations high all of the time," said the head coach, who is going into his 14th season. "We could be sitting and having this conversation and say we have two starters back on each side of the ball, but we expect to field a competitive type of ball."
At least the coach does not have that situation confronting him. Seven players return on each side of the pigskin to offer some measure of comfort.
However, with the exception of quarterback Michael Moore, fans might need a program to identify the other ballcarriers in the Eagles' traditionally strong running game.
That attack spread over Bermudian Springs' 11-1 record in 2011 was spearheaded by Tyler Fitzkee and Adam Berryman, who teamed for 3,323 yards and 46 touchdowns on the ground.
"In total, we return more players than we have in quite some time," said Defoe, adding, "From that standpoint, it's a positive, but I think what a lot of people from the outside are looking at is that two guys brought a lot of touches to the table, and there's going to be a lot of focus on that."
To replace them, Defoe expected a spirited battle in preseason camp, though Zach Stroup, who had 104 yards and three TDs of his own in 2011, might get a longer look.
Stroup said. "The last two years have been great, but you know, I don't (think) people are satisfied with where we finished, and I think they're expecting another great year."
Despite such gaudy numbers, though, Defoe said the defense, which must replace two inside linebackers, still holds the key to whether the Eagles can go deep into the District 3 postseason.
Save the date: The Eagles have replaced traditional opening foe Northern with another neighboring rival, New Oxford, for the next six years.
"We're extremely excited to have that back," Defoe said about the former Blue Mountain League foe. "At one point, I think Bermudian-New Oxford was one of the big natural rivalries for each school."
Intangibles: The Eagles have retained all of their coaches for 2012, and Defoe indicated his staff might now be the longest-tenured group in the YAIAA.
"Some of them could go on and lead another program if they'd like, but fortunate for us, they like it where they are and they've stayed with us," Defoe said.
Bottom line: In a division that might be improved across the board in 2012, the defending YAIAA Division III Eagles remain the standard of success.
If the Eagles find capable players to fill both of the backfield positions and the linebacker positions, Bermudian Springs will remain a contender.
At least, with the move of YAIAA Division III-rival Delone Catholic to Class A in 2012, Bermudian Springs could find an easier road if it returns to the postseason.
email@example.com; 717-637-3736, extension 144. Twitter: @ChuckCurley.
Favorite food? Chicken tenders and french fries. Anywhere I go, if they've got chicken tenders and french fries, I'm ordering them.
Favorite singer? My favorite artist is Eminem. I just like the way he hip-hops and he raps.
Do you have any game-day superstitions? Not really besides my stomach gets so upset that I throw up before every game.
What's more thrilling -- a big pass or a shut-down defensive play? Shut-down defensive play. I have more fun playing defense, and because that can be a game-changer on defense.
What's the last book you checked out of the library? It was an autobiography by Ty Cobb.
|8/31||at New Oxford||7 p.m.|
|9/7||at York Catholic||7 p.m.|
|9/14||Eastern York||7 p.m.|
|9/22||at York County Tech||10 a.m.|
|9/28||York Suburban||7 p.m.|
|10/5||Delone Catholic||7 p.m.|
|10/12||at Fairfield||7 p.m.|
|10/26||at Littlestown||7 p.m.|