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August 31, 2007

Q&A with coach Craig Bathgate

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

A: "The kids have a lot of enthusiasm. We could always use more numbers, but the ones who are here are working hard and hopefully the work will pay off."

Q: How would you sum up the 2006 season?

A: "From what I understand, it was a dissapointment. They had a lot of quality athletes, and for whatever reason they couldn't get it done. But it's left us a lot to build on."

Q: Who are your top returning skill position players?

A: Jesse Jarvis, RB - "He's a workhorse, on and off the field. He's a heavy-duty guy, he can carry the load."

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Keith Gilchrist, WR - "He's a threat outside who gives us speed and a passing threat."

Jordan Lavender, QB - "He can scramble and throw. He's going to be relied on as a game manager, and he's definitely a running threat."

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

Offensive line:

A: Keith Moats, T; Jeremy Gardner, G - "I expect a lot out of our line. We have pretty good size up front. We're not deep, but what we have is solid."

Defensive line:

A: Moats, DT - "Our other two interior guys are sophomores. We want them to stuff the offensive line, eat blocks and give the linebackers a chance for them to do their job. If they eat blocks, we'll be in good shape."

Linebacker:

A: Jarvis and Jon Connors, ILB - "They're our two big hitters. There will be some fullbacks and tailbacks who will regret seeing them."

Secondary:

A: Gilchrist, S - "He's our free guy and a ball hawk. He's got good reaction and good speed."

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

A: "It will be tough to replace (tailback) Dan Jarvis, because of both his speed and his leadership."

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

A: "Defensive linemen Doug Morgan and Dustin Violet, and Connors at linebacker. All three of them are sophomores, and they'll make an impact because of their size and their work ethic. It's not easy for sophomores to step into the starting lineup, but I'm confident they could start for most teams in the county."

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

A: "We need to change the attitude here. There seemed to be a lot of lackluster feelings and efforts made toward football in the past here, and we have to change that. We've started changing that already with practices."

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

A: "We need to develop better discipline. I know that's been a problem. ... I don't think they went into a lot of games with high expectations last year, and we're already going into this year with some. Hopefully we can turn this program around."

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