Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Camp notes: Trinity

Was out at Trinity earlier today to talk to Ryan Coyle and check on the Hillers, a team that must replace quite a bit of talent.

First impression: They're going to be just fine.

Trinity's practice -- special teams, then an uptempo, offensive walkthrough -- had a great pace to it, and I saw about a half-dozen guys capable of replacing running back Patrick Frey (now at McGuffey), quarterbacks Jason Vankirk and Don McWreath, tight end Jared Deep and wide receiver Corey Hunsberger.

Not booking Trinity for a trip to Heinz quite yet, but if you think the Hillers were destined for a 2-7 disaster, think again.

Start with quarterback, where junior Forrest Cullings takes over. Cullings looked sharp today. Very sharp. He's young, so I don't think Coyle's going to turn him into Brett Brumbaugh or anything, but he made several nice throws and actually worked through some progressions.

Even hit senior Brandon McGavitt on a post route to highlight some of the deeper passing plays.

Behind Cullings will be running back Robert West, the team's top returner with 81 yards and four touchdowns, as well as Colton Jordan and Rylee Yocca. Gaage Marry will play fullback. McGavitt figures to take on some of Hunsberger's responsibility as a playmaker.

"I think we're going to surprise some people with our offense," Marry said. "Not too many people think we're going to be able to move the ball this year."

>>If you've ever been around Trinity for an extended period of time, you've probably been scared of Coyle. OK, maybe not. But the guy's intense. Practice is broken into tiny segments, and there's never a question who's in charge.

I asked some of the players I talked to today whether they've grown more comfortable with Coyle over the past year.

"Practices are a lot smoother," Marry said. "We know the tempo now."

"You have to take him in small doses," McGavitt joked.
"His bark is worse than his bite," McGavitt added, drawing a laugh from yours truly.

>>Also very impressed with the weight room Trinity created for itself using an old storage space at the middle school, where the Hillers hold camp. New machines. Re-done floors and walls. Just a gorgeous place. And they're apparently the only ones who use it. The school matched the money the team raised, and it shows. Just a top-notch facility.

>>Trinity will very much be defined by its offensive line. The Hillers were hit hard by graduation up front, the top returner being senior Steven Iams. The size, as I saw today, was there. But Coyle -- a former lineman himself, even though he doesn't look the part -- has his work cut out for him in this department, developing some of these big bodies.

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