Today’s question takes us to Pleasanton, home of the Alameda County Fair.
Ben’s question: Perhaps the biggest coaching hire this season wasn’t really a hiring at all. Foothill’s Matt Sweeney, after spending a year away from the sidelines, is back to lead the Falcons this season. There’s no doubting the man’s chops. I can’t remember the last time a Sweeney-led football team had an unsuccessful season. This time around though, he inherits a young team that didn’t necessarily set the world on fire last year. So, that begs the question. What kind of an impact will Sweeney have in year one of his comeback?
Chace’s answer: Nobody can argue that John Mannion had an almost impossible job last season in replacing Sweeney. Still, he managed to get the Falcons to a 6-4 finish and keep their string of playoff appearances alive. And, with the exception of Rob Andrews and Austin Day, the Falcons were fairly unproven heading into last season.
Enter Sweeney, a master motivator who already has a team eager to erase last year and make a name for itself.
Sweeney will have a lot of good pieces to play with, starting with quarterback Sean Mannion and WR/DB Ryan Walsworth. Mannion showed flashes of brilliance last year as a sophomore, and Walsworth is solid athlete who was named to the 2007 All-Times second team defense as a defensive back.
But for anybody who has seen a Sweeney-coached team before, it’s no secret that he enjoys pounding the football. Thus, finding a running back or two that can help establish a consistent rushing game, will be key.
But the bottom line is, with all due respect to John Mannion, Sweeney immediately makes the Falcons a feared team every time they step on the field. And it makes the new EBAL that much more intriguing. I’m excited to watch that league season unfold.