CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS)-- With just one week remaining until the return of Friday night lights, the approaching season brings a new mentality for the Monticello Mustangs.

"For us it's really try to change the focus, change the mentality," said Monticello head coach Matt Hicks, "Our guys have been really bought in as far as dedicating their time to getting better in the off season, really pushing together as one entity toward a plan for success."

Now back in pads, last year's 1-9 record isn't just a number anymore it's become a rally cry.

"We talk about the record from last year and we got the chip on our shoulder to definitely be better this year," said senior wide receiver Brandon Herring.

"We use that as motivation every day." said senior DE/OL Lisad Rose, "We just want to be better as a program. Like change the program and bring the program back to how it used to be."

Improving on last year's season is a task that starts off the line of scrimmage and in the locker room as the team is more bonded and bought in.

"That bond, it's crazy," said Herring, "I feel like we're going to be so different. When we get on the field together it's going to be a movie."

"Building those bonds in the off season really allows them to understand each other better," said Hicks, "Understand that they're all pushing towards that common goal and really use that relationship to allow them to to push their teammate to the next level and demand everything that their teammate has for them on Friday night when it really matters."

With a chip on their shoulders and each other by their sides the Mustangs are ready to surprise everyone under the lights.

"Everybody's doubting us," said Rose, "Every team. Every team comes at us and is like oh we going to blow them out, we going to do this but this year we're practicing like we're taking the games seriously. We want to win some games this year and I feel like we're going to win a lot of games this year."