Focus on quarterback
By BOB PUTNAM
Published August 25, 2006
ST. PETERSBURG - Loyal to the Wing-T, Northeast coach Jerry Austin always favors quarterbacks who can stand tall, shrug off linebackers and throw through a brick wall from an insulated pocket.
Finding players who fit Austin's ideal has never been a problem. Quarterbacks have flourished running the same 12 plays Austin uses in his offensive system.
In fact, since Austin took over the program in 1979, nine of his 13 quarterbacks have been selected either first- or second-team all-county.
Given the success, it is no wonder the Vikings have lofty expectations of their quarterbacks. And Northeast expects big things out of Armando Sanchez.
Sanchez displays toughness, determination and the ability to deliver the big play.
That should give the Vikings' Wing-T some balance.
The confusing and consistently effective offense usually begins with running backs plowing through holes on traps, misdirections and sweeps. The ground game attacks the defense on all perimeters and sets up the play-action pass.
Sanchez has already pulled off a few of those passes in the spring game against Lakeland George Jenkins and last week's preseason classic against Gibbs.
"We think we've got a good one there," assistant coach Jay Austin said of Sanchez.
THROUGH THE AIR: Sanchez has some talented guys to throw the ball to in receivers Eric Terrell, Joel Elliott and Sam Adams. Together, they should make up for the loss of departed senior Leon Wright and J-Mike Lewis.
ON THE GROUND: Northeast has a bevy of backs. Jeff Brinson, Chris Julius and Juarez Winn are all capable of gaining 1,000 yards for the season. The offensive linemen are extremely mobile for their size, which allows them to pull and block effectively, skills particularly important in an offense that relies on traps, sweeps and screens. Dylan Mundella, Matt Chris, John Soler, Pat Hanley, Corey Lien, Yoser Pacheco and Eric Niekens give the line some depth.
DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: The line is deep with Javonte Boyd, Mike Rodriguez, Rod Jackson, Corey Lane and Hanley. Sanchez and Pacheco are the leaders at linebacker. The biggest loss is in the defensive backfield, where Wright started the past three seasons. Antwan Carson, Chris Butler, Cortez Gaitheright and Winn will be in the secondary.
JUST FOR KICKS: The Vikings will likely rely on members of their soccer team to do the kicking and punting.