match their deep talent
BY ED WRIGHT
Members of the Plymouth football team's actions will speak louder than
their words this fall, but their words will make quite an impact, too,
according to head coach Mike Sawchuk.
"We have more vocal
leaders this year than we've ever had
before," said Sawchuk, whose team made its third trip to the Division 1
state football playoffs in 2008. "Our vocal leadership is awesome.
"This is a great
group of young men. They worked their tails off
during the off-season. We had about 90 percent perfect attendance at
the off-season workouts, so this team will work."
Sawchuk revamped his
program's weight-lifting program following
a visit to the University of Miami's football facility this off-season.
"I talked to their
strength-and-conditioning guy and learned a
lot about what they do," he said. "We still do the core lifts every
day, but there's more of a total body workout after the core lift."
The change has had
a positive impact on the players.
"We're sore all over
now after a workout, and that's a good
thing," said senior center Keith Choma. "We used to kill our upper body
or lower body every other day, but now we kind of do everything
together. It seems like everybody is maxing out every day. We're all so
much stronger than last year."
There will be
some familiar faces across the field on Aug.
28 when Plymouth opens its season against Salem. Former Wildcat
offensive coordinator Kurt Britnell was hired as the Rocks' head coach
this past spring and he brought a few more Plymouth assistant coaches
"It was already a
rivalry, but it will be even more intensified
with my former coordinator over there," said Sawchuk. "I'm very happy
for them. Who wouldn't be happy to see one of their assistants become a
Like the workout
program, the Wildcats' offense will also take
on a new look. The team will utilize a spread, no-huddle attack that
should leave defenses with little time to make adjustments.
"It's the same
offense that the University of Michigan runs,"
As of Friday, it was
yet to be determined who will be guiding
the offense as senior Ryan Barrera and junior Vic Hicks are both in the
"They're both great
athletes with great arms," said Sawchuk.
"They're both smart kids, too, so it's going to be tough. One thing is
for sure, though: Whichever of the two isn't playing quarterback will
be on the field somewhere."
Wildcats' talented group of running backs will
be senior Jenarian Caldwell, who has been clocked at 4.4 in the 40-yard
dash. Sawchuk also has extreme confidence in the abilities of Jerel
Jenkins, Tommy Whitlow and Tony Rhodes.
"Rhodes is my Mike
Alstott," he said, referring to the former
Tampa Bay Buccaneers' bruising fullback. "He'll run over people."
The catalysts for
the 'Cats' receiving corps will be senior
Brennen Beyer and junior Jake Morris. Junior basketball player Justin
Moss is just some completed paperwork away from joining the team. With
the 6-foot-6 Moss in the line-up with the 6-4 Byer, the Wildcats would
be tough to defend in goal-line passing situations.
"Just throw it up
there," Sawchuk said.
The offensive line
is the deepest Sawchuk has been blessed with
in his four seasons on the job. Among those flanking senior center
Keith Choma will be Jordon Birman, Matt Priebe, Matt Sheridan, Mark
Wallath and Tyler Goble.
Daryl Cohn returns to anchor the defensive line,
which will also include Wally Eppler, Austin Gosnell, Jacob Zawaski and
line-backing unit will be sparked by senior Jamie
Emminger (the group's lone returning starter), Rhodes and Goble.
Tyler Grosh, Morris,
transfer student Alex Ruffin and Phil
Emminger will lead the defensive backfield.
kicking game will rest in the reliable hands, er,
foot of junior Kyle Brindza, who is being recruited by several Division
1 college programs. Brindza booms kick-offs through the end zone with
regularity and he's converted a 60-yard field in practice.
"Not only is Kyle a
weapon, but he's an unbelievable person,"
said Sawchuk. "He does everything right. He's in Fellowship of
Christian Athletes, he has awesome grades -- he's just an awesome kid
who works his butt off every day."
Wright can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (734) 578-2767.