Monday August 15, 2011
North Augusta, SC--A lot of times you'll find football coaches being pessimistic about their squad. At North Augusta, it's just the opposite with Dan Pippin. Here's a team that went to the state semifinals a year ago, and Pippin says this year's squad may be even better.
It'll start on offense with the skill positions. They lost Loranzo Hammonds, but remember Tyrell Hillary played a bunch a year ago and not just in mop up time. He'll be the go to guy taking the snaps.
Throw in Vinnie Miller, Devonte Pressley and Kahorie Johnson, and the firepower is there. They're playing an ultra tough preseason slate where they already matched up with Goose Creek and Silver Bluff and will play Greenwood. They say that will only make them better when the games count for real.
"It's my belief that you make the preseason as difficult as you can," says Pippin. "Make it a little bit harder maybe than even the regular season. Our big thing is that we have to be ready to go by when we play Lexington in our region. I think we'll be fine."
"It' gives us a chance to see where we are," says Philip White. "Going against the number one team in the state. We have a bunch of first time starters, especially replacing all five offensive linemen. So it's a big task and it was definitely a big challenge, but I think it'll better for the season."
The offensive line is where there's some question marks. All five starters are new, and some have been banged up here in the early going. This team is now also well aware there's no sneaking up on anybody as they are one of the premiere programs in South Carolina.
"We know that over the years, starting from 1-10 and going on, the target has gotten extremely bigger," adds White. "We want to keep it big. We'd rather have a big target on our backs than a small one, so we just want to keep it big and win as many as we can."
The defense will also be relatively young, but Tony Merrieweather may be one of the best linemen in the area. If this team scores points in bunches early, the line play will only get better as the season goes on, which spells trouble for the rest of the teams in their region and beyond.