Metuchen coach Sal Mistretta commented on the importance of his team getting off to a fast start, the sheer presence of Division I recruit Dorian Miller and more.
Q. You stumbled out of the gate last year to a 1-3 start. With a relatively young roster this year, how important is it for your team to get off on the right foot to start the season?
A. It’s a big deal. We were very disappointed starting off 1-3 last year. Luckily we pulled out the game at Spotswood which turned us around and got us on a four-game winning streak. We have to get out of the gate successfully this season. We have a pretty tough schedule coming out of the start including teams like Keyport and Dunellen. We’re young but we believe we’re talented enough to challenge for the GMC Blue Division title. We have some expectations and can’t start 1-3 again.
Q. After going 2-8 in 2010, your team went 5-5 last season and qualified for the state playoffs. What are the keys to keeping the program headed on the upswing?
A. I think the key is that the program is pretty much now ours. Anybody that is a senior on the team, this is our third year coaching them. They’re really our kids — referring to my staff — now. It’s clear when you watch us that the personality of the team is the same as my Sayreville and North Brunswick teams of the past. The team has really bought into what we’re doing. As long as we keep being aggressive, are staying in good physical shape and working hard, we’ll be okay. They have a great work ethic and that type of thing is going to propel itself. We have 20 freshmen and 20 sophomores out and there’s lots of excitement surrounding the program. Success is going to help keep that going. Who we are and what we’re doing should continue with the path that we’re taking.
Q. Two-way lineman Dorian Miller is, for lack of a better term, a beast. He has scholarship offers from Rutgers, North Carolina and Tennessee to name a few. Describe what he brings to the table both physically and emotionally.
A. Physically he has all the tools. When you get a kid that big at a young age, sometimes you don’t know how they’re going to be as a leader and emotionally he’s one of our captains along with Michael Hronich. He’s a leader who works his tail off. I’ve verbally challenged him a few times in front of the team, and he’s the type of kid you can talk to him firmly. He’s a kid who just pays attention and does what he’s asked to do.
Q. What are your thoughts on moving from Central Group I to North 2 Group I?
A. It was funny when we looked at it. Anytime Asbury Park is not in your section, that’s a good thing. Unfortunately we play them this year. It’s weird because we don’t know many of the other teams in the section other than Middlesex and Dunellen. It seems strange to me that we’re going to be playing Weehawkin or Hoboken, but it’s where you are. It’s hard because all you’ve known is Central Jersey. When you start throwing around some of the names of the teams in the new section , the kids are baffled. It could be a good thing. We’re excited to be in the playoffs again. I know a lot of coaches aren’t crazy about the reclassification, but eventually it will hash itself out.