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Mercersburg Academy

FB TAB -

August 31, 2007

Q&A with coach Dan Walker

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

A: "These kids we have are enthusiastic. This could be the hardest working group of kids in my five years here."

Q: How would you sum up the 2006 season?

A: "It was disappointing from a personal standpoint. As a coach you want to see the kids have success on the scoreboard. They had some success inside the game, but in this day and age, it is what's on the scoreboard that matters."

Q: Who are your top returning skill position players?

A: "We've got a four-wide set with Tyler Mort as the top receiver, Mitch Shetter is a young man that is a WR and we use him in different places and we've got a pair of sophomores - Josh Muller and Jordan Riley - that saw a lot of time as true freshmen."

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

Offensive line:

A: "A.J. Firestone. He moved from tackle to guard this year and he played some center last year. Another is Clyde Fitzmaurice at tackle."

Defensive line:

A: "Firestone is the one guy there."

Linebacker:

A: "We've got Bond Stockdale. He's a junior that was playing for the first time last year. He had to come in a play a lot. Brian Wright is a senior and and he has grown with some weight added. And Chris Freeland leads by example."

Secondary:

A: "Mort. He's just 160 pounds but plays like 220. He's tremendous against the run and a good cover man."

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

A: "With our post-grad program, it would be Bryan Morgan. He was a two-way lineman that has moved on to Duke."

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

A: "The list is long. Five post-grads and four are from Maryland. Ben Eaton (running back from Gilman School) is about 220, runs a sub-4.6 and will do the majority of running. Nick Rowan (Landon School) is 6-3, 230, and a great trap blocker. Collin Stevens (Good Counsel) is a 6-3, 200-pound receiver that will create some mismatches for defensive backs. Garrett Matthews (Kent County) is an all-league lacrosse player who played football for the first time last year. And we have Billy Campi on the line and he's super off the ball. We've got Trevor Smith, a junior from Philadelphia who has a great arm and is cool under pressure, and two kids from Germany - Curtis Feight at defensive end with a 6-6 wing span and Stephan Kreifels at wide receiver."

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

A: "In my mind it is learning to change the attitude and handling adversity. If we have a bad play it's not saying 'here we go again.' The attitude started fresh the first day."

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

A: "We have to play as a team. I know it's a clich, but I believe in that and we've been doing that. We need to be mentally tough."

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