First-year Cardinal McCarrick coach Rich Hilliard talked about his team’s mindset after finishing 1-8 last season, the impact players on offense and defense to watch out for and more.
Q. What’s the mindset this season after finishing 1-8 a year ago?
A. The toughest part last year was getting into the weight room and getting them to believe. This year, we told them what our new goals are, what we have to do, and the seniors and some of the underclassmen really bought into it — we started making phone calls, getting more kids in the gym, so we started to gel in the gym and the team really looks like a team. These kids really want to play for each other and the coaching staff.
Q. How do you turn being a smaller program into an advantage and what are the strengths of this year’s group?
A. I use that as a motivating tool. I told us if we have 11 guys, we’re going to go play football and we’re going to be successful. We want them to have a little swag. There’s continuity and the kids are hungry. They’re going to give what they have. The small team that they are, they are ready to give what they have — they’ve really bought into what we’ve been telling them.
Q. Are there any players on offense or defense that people should keep an eye out for?
A. My quarterback, Jahmal Pryce — he’s very talented. I’ve been in this game for a while, and Jahmal’s as good as anybody I’ve coached in a while. Also, Zack Dorso — he’s a 6-foot-5 defensive end and he’s probably the hardest working kid on our team.
Q. What are the goals for the program?
A. My goals for the program right now are to be able to compete for the Blue Division, which has some very good, knowledgeable coaches, and another goal is to actually hope to make the playoffs, which is something this team hasn’t done in a very long time.