Alright, it’s officially August. Smell the grass. Dust off the sleds. Two-a-days and “gassers” are just around the corner.
Thus, it’s time for our first of 30 questions we’ll be posting (six per week) as we lead up to the prep football season’s first East Bay kickoff on Friday, Sept. 5.
And what better way to start our inquiries by looking back to the big topic last year at this time — the new faces on the coaching carousel.
Chace’s question: Last year, several high-profile coaches took over at some very noteworthy programs. Alonzo Carter began at Berkeley, Tim Silva at Granada and Casey Moreno at Dublin. Each experienced highs and lows in the first season at their programs. Especially Carter, who was the only one to lead his team to a first-round playoff game, only to spend that night at home serving an NCS suspension. So, here’s question No. 1: What can we expect from these coaches and their programs in Year No. 2?
Ben’s answer: My crystal ball is a bit foggy so early in the year. But, that doesn’t mean I’m devoid of answers.
I think Berkeley is a favorite to win the ACCAL title this year. I know there are doubts about how he puts his squad together, and those doubts were bolstered by last year’s suspension, but the fact is that Carter built a winner at McClymonds and I expect him to do the same at Berkeley. RB/DB Jamar Smith is gone, as are linemen Faraji Wright and Edidong Essien. That said, I think we’ll find out a lot about the Yellow Jackets from their nonleague schedule (Castlemont, Castro Valley, Pittsburg, James Logan).
At Granada, Tim Silva should continue to build a foundation for his program. I don’t, however, see the Mats being markedly better than last season. The meat grinder that is the EBAL is waiting again and with the return of Matt Sweeney at Foothill and the dependability of the league’s other programs (and, oh yeah, that green and silver team on Winton Dr.) Silva and Co. have a tall task ahead of them.
Dublin could be an intriguing team this year. Moreno got off to a respectable start last year, implementing his system and getting a rather young squad to buy in. This year, he should see some results. The Gaels are set in the backfield with the return of their top two backs from last year, Frankie Davillier and Chris Hakimi. They should also have a fairly good offensive line led by J.T. Baumann. Dublin’s success this year could hinge on how well they defend against the pass because the rest of the DFAL certainly looks set to air it out.
Check back here tomorrow morning as we’ll preview this year’s first-year coaches.