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Carlynton's second-year coaching staff has high expectations

| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 7:08 p.m.
Carlynton's Ryan Williams makes a catch in front of Tyler Thorne during practice on Thursday August 16, 2012. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Carlynton's Michael Walkowiak during blocking drills on Thursday August 16, 2012. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review

A coaching staff's second year with a team will tend to go smoother than the first as the players grasp how the systems are run and what the coaches expect. But in Terry George's second season as Carlynton's coach, he said not only do his players understand what is going on better but his staff does as well.

“We were a first-year coaching staff,” George said. “This year, I feel confident we will be better prepared. The assistants will know exactly what I want to focus on and where we should be.”

The coaching staff's second year did hit a bump, though, when projected starting quarterback junior Freddie McKissick tore his labrum in the offseason and is still healing from the surgery.

Until McKissick returns toward the end of the season, Carlynton will use junior Kevin Schuster or senior Nick Lang under center.

“Last year was (Schuster's) first season of varsity football, and he is vastly improved from then,” George said. “(Lang) was our leading rusher last season and gives us a dual-threat option. Also, his arm strength might be a little better.”

No matter the choice at quarterback, Carlynton will be able to rely on a stable of running backs for offensive production.

Junior Evan Ban returns and gives the Cougars an undersized, yet quick running back option. Senior Ryan Williams and Freshmen Isiah Canton and Jaron Wilkins also will contribute.

The Cougars return a majority of the line from last season, including juniors Joey Martin and Michael Walkowiak and sophomore Mike Griffin.

“Mike Griffin actually put on about 30 pounds in the offseason,” George said. “Lineman have worked really hard this year. We are excited to see how they pan out.”

George said the defense will be strong and will focus on limiting big plays. With the returning crop of players on both sides of the ball, George said the Cougars will strive for the goals he set when he took over the position.

“Our goal coming into the first season was to beat every team we played and make the playoffs,” George said. “We didn't reach that goal. I think the players saw the seniors come close last year but not get what they wanted and will use it as motivation.”

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