August 31, 2007

Q&A with coach Chuck Tinninis

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

A: "I think it's solid. All the coaches stay around and we have the middle school running the same system as we do here. And we also have good kids who come out and work hard."

Q: How would you sum up the 2006 season?

A: "If we would have stayed healthy, our record would have been better. But if we didn't have the depth we had, our record would have been worse. The kids just kept working and rolled with the punches. It was nice."

Q: Who are your top returning skill position players?

A: "Adam Ritchey returns with a whole year under his belt at quarterback. He understands our system and now he's a year older and stronger. The same goes for Dustin Barry at running back. Rusty Cordell can be put in a number of places to play. He's very athletic."


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

Offensive line:

A: "Ben Gates was all-league for us last year and Jesse Lenharr, who played as well as Dan Campbell did last year, who was also all-league. They give us a good starting point to build around."

Defensive line:

A: "Lenharr was a first-team defensive end and Jared Smith was named to the second team. They both have experience. Smith is a legitimate Division I prospect. A lot of schools are interested, but they want to wait and see what he does this season."


A: "Matt Copenhaver is a third-year starter who runs our defense and is a smart player. Cordell is able to run with most running backs. Jordan Statler started some games at outside linebacker for us last year."


A: "Barry started four or five games back there last year because of injuries and did well. Ritchey played three or four games back there too, but he had a shoulder injury so we're not sure how much he will play there."

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

A: "It's Dan Campbell. He was a vocal leader who was first team both ways, but it will be his leadership that will be tough to replace."

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

A: "John Frick will start at tackle and defensive end. We hope he will be able to do it and he probably will. Paul Peer will be in at linebacker. He ran the defense for the JV team and now has to step up and play next to Copenhaver."

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

A: "Our line is the big question mark on offense and the secondary on defense. We don't have the quality depth that we have had in the past."

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

A: "We have to stay healthy because our second unit is not close to our first unit. Last year, the guys who stepped in are now veterans and half of them are seniors and half are juniors starting. We are not just a senior-oriented team."

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