James Buchanan


August 31, 2007

Q&A with coach Kevin Gustafson

Q: How would you describe the state of your program?

A: "It's on the way up. We've taken baby steps. This year we want to take some big steps. We have seniors who are returning lettermen and some talented sophomores coming through. We hope we could get better as we go week to week."

Q: How would you sum up the 2006 season?

A: "We closed the gap on all our opponents last year. Our scores were closer in 2006 than they were in 2005. Those were the baby steps."

Q: Who are your top returning skill position players?

A: "Jesse Smartt is back at quarterback after starting the last half of last year and throwing for 675 yards. Tucker Hill was our leading running back with 400-plus yards and five touchdowns. He has size and speed so he can run over players or get around them."


Q: Who are the top returning players at these positions?

Offensive line:

A: "Josh Cantrell is returning at tackle. He is 5-foot-11 and 295 pounds and is a three-year starter and a captain.

Defensive line:

A: "Cantrell is our top defensive line player, too. He has experience and goes both ways which is tough to replace."


A: "Linebacking is our strength. Smartt returns after leading us with 104 tackles last year and Brian Hughes will be moving from the inside to the outside. He had 92 tackles so we have our two top tacklers returning. Hill is going to be an inside linebacker."


A: "We are replacing our whole secondary. Skyler Rowe will be back there as a senior who is a good open-field tackler."

Q: Who is the one departed player who will be most difficult to replace?

A: "Rusty Hughes will be tough. He's now playing at Albright after switching positions for us last year. He went from running back to the offensive line and played defensive end. He was a very unselfish player."

Q: Who are the "unknown" or new players who could make an impact in 2007?

A: "Tyson Keith is a a name that will be heard about. He was a running back who scored 14 touchdowns in six games last year. Levi Powell is a sophomore who will be a guard and defensive tackle. He benches 290 and squats 385. He's a real powerhouse."

Q: What is the biggest challenge your team will face this season?

A: "The biggest challenge will be this team coming together without having a lot of experience. It will be how the seniors blend with the juniors and sophomores. We also have a very tough schedule, too, in our division."

Q: What things must this team do to improve over the 2006 season?

A: "The line play is the biggest thing. We were not able to do that last year. We need to push people around. We also have to cut down on turnovers. We forced 31 of them last year, but we had 35, so that wasn't good."

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