South Brunswick coach Joe Goerge discussed replacing eight two-way starters, the Vikings’ stable of running backs and more.
Q. Although South Brunswick graduated eight two-way starters, your predecessor, Rick Mantz, certainly didn’t leave the cupboard bare. Still, how will your inexperienced offensive line fare?
A. Certainly, Rick has built a program there and done a great job. The expectations are there to continue to play at a high level. With that said, the offensive line, I think, is critical in any offense, and certainly ours. When you have to replace nine starters on the line, it’s not easy, but in a big program like this, you expect seniors to be playing. You expect them to be the guys in the starting lineup. That will probably happen again now (where) juniors who didn’t play a lot last year are going to be expected to step up and fill those voids as seniors. If you have some exceptional (younger) players, they are going to play. I think our line has continued to get better. They certainly have a ways to go.
Q. South Brunswick remains loaded at the skill positions. What can you tell us about some of those players?
A. Start right at the top with (receiver) T.J. Taylor, who is one of those guys that you get every once in a while. He is special on both sides of the ball. You have (T.J.) Perkowski back at quarterback. The kid (Amir) Johnson is a newcomer (at quarterback), but I think he’ll be a good one. (Dion) Hooper is certainly another (back) who saw a considerable amount of time and the expectation is that he will perform at a high level. Donte Strickland is coming in as a sophomore. He played a little bit (at running back) down the stretch in those last couple playoff games and the North Brunswick (Thanksgiving Day) game. He is somebody that needs to get experience, but is somebody with a bunch of talent. (Receiver) Yusef Harrison is a newcomer as a senior who didn’t play at all last year, but is another kid that is really starting to come on now. In the backfield, you have the (Dahrae) Ford kid (top returning rusher). Another newcomer is (fullback) Matt Golden. So I think, yeah, there’s some nice skill out there, and the guys behind them working in are good players, too.
Q. How have your newcomers fared on defense thus far?
A. No question, there’s a lot of new kids playing there, particularly up front. Other than (Rashaan) Baker, nobody has played the line. We did get better (in an Aug. 25 scrimmage), but we’ve got to continue to improve. I think the players are understanding some of the things we are doing (in a 52 defense). We tried to stay pretty similar to (Mantz’s) defense. (Alex) Berkuta comes back. He played some linebacker. (Brian) Lee is new. Some guys in the secondary are brand new corners. T.J (Taylor) played some in the defense last year, and so did (Dion) Hooper, but not a whole heck of a lot. We certainly want to get other guys involved in the scheme on defense. Defense has been the area that we are trying to put together in terms of having quite a few new players there.