Q. How would you characterize this year’s team?
A. They’re battle-tested. Seventeen of 22 starters last season had never played on a Friday night, but now they’re back with regular season and playoff experience.
Q. What will be the keys to your success?
A. Consistency – we have to systematically put together four quarters every Friday.
Q. Who will be your key leaders on the team?
A. Vincent McColley (Sr., RB/MLB), Michael McGhee (Jr., RB), Jaheim Jones (Jr., QB), Arion Price (Sr., MLB/RB), Tracy Odom (Jr., WR/FS), and Austin Banther (Sr., OG/NG).
Q. What are your biggest reasons for optimism?
A. We have 17 of 22 experienced starters back who’ve had a whole year to develop fundamentally, mentally, and physically.
Q. Any lessons learned from last year?
A. Yes, hard ones. In the words of Nick Saban, “We are all out of options. When you want to be great, there are not a lot of choices. There are certain things you have to do and certain ways you have to do them.”
Q. Will we see anything different this year?
A. Our new offensive coordinator, Todd Burkhart, will bring a more balanced offensive approach with a bigger emphasis on the short pass game.
Q. How would you characterize your team’s speed?
A. At the linebacker and defensive line position, we have kids that are not “on the clock fast,” but they play with incredible effort and really pursue the ball.
We’re facing a challenging game every Friday night, and that will be difficult. For us to be successful, we have to create big plays offensively, particularly in the running game. On defense, we have to eliminate explosive plays in the running game and create more negative yardage plays for the opponent.
Photos Courtesy of Chattanooga Central High School