York, PA - It's hard to call Red Land's Chad Weaver a new coach.
True, this season represents Weaver's first in charge of the Patriots. However, he played for Red Land, graduating in 2000. His dad, John Weaver, coached the Patriots for six seasons, and Chad was on former coach Frank Gay's staff for six years.
That's not exactly new, but Chad Weaver is expecting some things to be different at Red Land, starting with an improvement on the 2-8 record of a year ago.
approach since we started back in the offseason.
"Our main goal this year is to have a playoff game. None of these seniors have been in a playoff game, which hasn't happened for a while here."
The Patriots return a wealth of talented linemen. Because of it, Weaver is hoping to wear down
opponents by pounding the ball on the ground -- very important for the squad that was minus-11 in turnover margin in 2010.
"We are getting back into being physical, running the ball," Weaver said. "We are a running football team. Our quarterback is going to run it, our running backs are going to run it, everyone is going to run it."
Filling the void: Nick Diller was the feature back a season ago, running for 506 yards on 111 carries with seven of the Patriots' 12 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 17 passes and was the team's second-leading tackler with 48 before
graduating in the spring.
Red Land hopes to fill that slot with senior Ricky Kraynak, who averaged a team-high 5.2 yards per carry last year before a knee injury cut his season short, along with explosive junior Nick Smith.
"We have some kids that are going to get us positive yardage every time," Weaver said. "That is the key, sometimes I think you get caught up in the big play all the time. We are going to pound it down the field and take some time off the clock."
Varsity letters: In addition to West Virginia recruit Bret Neiderreither and Kraynak, three-year lineman Tanner Hubbard is back, along with a stockpile of players who earned letters a season ago.
One such player is quarterback Kyle Biddle, who had his growing pains as a sophomore, but Weaver likes what he sees so far.
"Last year he was kind of thrown into the fire a little bit," Weaver said. "He is a very heady kid, a smart kid, and he works hard. We think he has the ability to be pretty good."
New face in the crowd: Sophomore fullback Connor Parsons is an unknown commodity in Red Land's camp.
According to Weaver, the 5-foot-7, 190-pound Parsons is a bowling ball of a runner who wrestled on the Patriots varsity squad as a freshman.
"Probably as a sophomore (Parsons) is one of our stronger kids," Weaver said. "He is one of those kids that lives in the weight room. He's a tough, tough kid."
Mark your calendar: It's easy to look at one certain opponent every year, and this season the grudge game is in Week 5.
After all, Red Land and Cedar Cliff are in the same school district and even share a stadium. Now that is a rival.
Wide receiver/defensive back
What is your favorite pregame meal? I am going to have to go with steak. You can't go wrong with steak.
What practice drill do you hate the most? I hate the stalk-blocking drill. There is not much action, you just have to go through it. It is not physical whatsoever, that is why it is a pain to go through.
What is most exciting thing about opening night? Running out and looking up in the stands, seeing how many people are there. That is one of the best feelings.
How bad does the locker room reek? Right now it's not too bad. In about three weeks it will smell like a corpse. It's underground, all the two-a-day pads, it will fester. It's going to be bad.
What's your favorite move on the field? I don't have any speed or agility. I am very slow, but I can catch better with one hand than anyone I know. That is my thing, everyone knows it.
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