Vipers preparing for next year after missing playoffs
By Ashley Hargrove
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Disappointed and disgusted.
Those are the words Tennessee Valley Vipers head coach Milt Theodosatos used Monday to describe how he and his team felt after finding out they wouldn't be making an appearance in this year's arenafootball2 playoffs.
With their 7-9 finish, the Vipers ended up in a four-way tie for the final two playoff spots. Strength of schedule helped determine those two spots. Oklahoma City and Birmingham got the edge, something Theodosatos said he doesn't agree with.
"I'm disgusted with the fact that we beat Birmingham twice and didn't make it," Theodosatos said. "In my opinion, the system needs to be looked at and re-evaluated. To me, the best way would be head to head, compare the records, and go from there."
For Vipers wide receiver and defensive back Joel Babb, not making the playoffs was tough, but he said it's a learning experience.
"It was real tough to get the news after we won our final game at home," Babb said."We thought that if we won we would be in. It was kind of disappointing, but that's how you learn. You learn from your mistakes and always take that with you."
A former walk-on at Alabama, Babb finished the year with 33 catches for 507 yards and 13 touchdowns in eight games.
As for any coach, the goal is never to be mediocre, and for Theodosatos and his Vipers that stands true.
"You never want to be mediocre," Theodosatos said. "Our goal at the beginning of the season was to win the Arena Cup. If your asking if I'm satisfied with our 7-9 record, the answer is no."
The Vipers' were hit hard early in the season with injuries to quarterbacks Tony Colston and Ryan Porter, which the team had to overcome. Former Alabama A&M and North Alabama quarterback Chris Gunn helped steady the ship.
"He helped us as much as he could," Theodosatos said. "With him living in Birmingham, that was a big commitment. He had great games, and then he had some not-so-great games, but that's the way it goes sometimes. He played the best he could under the circumstances he was in."
Although the season has just ended, Theodosatos said he's already working toward next year. When asked if there was anything he was going to do differently, his answer was simple: "Win."
"The only thing I would like to do is win more," Theodosatos said. "We lost a lot of close games this season. If we can get some better luck and win a couple of more games, we'll be in good shape."
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