2013 KHQA BARNSTORM TOUR: MELTING POT OF STYLES, UNIQUE TALENTS LENDS INTRIGUE TO THE RAIDERS
Bill Connell "We talk about I Formation. We talk about Queens. We talk about Double Tight. We talk the Spread System. We talk the Ghost System. These guys have had a taste of all of that. They've been in the program for four years to have a taste of it all. So I'd say again, this group can do a lot. They believe in themselves that they can do a lot."
Logan Schutte: "I think we will be a lot better than people are expecting us to be. I think we can do a lot of different things that people think we can't do and stuff that we haven't done in the past. We have to change it up a little bit."
It might be Bill Connell's most underrated asset as a coach; the ability to adapt his system to his personnel, rather than the other way around. He'll play the cards he is dealt to strength. And this year's hand is most unusual by typical QND Standards. For starters, the run of L.O.U.S. (Linemen of Unusual Size) has gone cold...
Bill Connell: "You go back, way back Chris and we had great success with average to below average sized guys. They did great things. They were quicker than your opponent. They would get after you. They would block you. They were mean. They weren't nice. And then, whatever got in the water there for a few years, we had some of the biggest linemen you could imagine..."
Jordan Chapel: "Yes, we may be small on paper but we fight off the ball and have a lot of experience up there. Leading us is Ben Miller, Tyler Marquess, Jimmy Case, Jeff Haley...all those guys come out to work every day and give us a good look up front."
An even bigger anomaly, at least at this point is that the Raider Passing Game, led by a trio of stellar Wide Receivers and a rising veteran Quarterback in Joey McCaughey trumps QND's traditionally strong ground game.
Joey McCaughey: "This year I had a lot more confidence than I ever did before, being a returning starter from last year. Having guys like Barry Welper and Jordan Chapel that have been starting for three years now and guys like Brady Genenbacher and Logan Schutte have really stepped up also."
Bill Connell: "You know these guys believe in him. And you can tell he's mature a lot over last year when he steps up under that center."
There is also a new vibe on Defense, with the strength of that unit now rooter in the Secondary and the giant Obert/Weiman shoes to fill at Linebacker.
Brady Genenbacher: "I think our biggest thing on Defense is going to be our experience. We've got a lot of guys in our Secondary who have a lot of experience. And me and Logan (Schutte) and Zach Vahle, Jordan Chapel and Barry Welper all have a lot of experience and that is going to really help us this season."
And lest anyone forget, there is the biggest change of all as Bill Connell finally gets his wish with a move to the West Central Conference.
Bill Connell: "It matches our needs a lot more. Our sized type schools. And people get excited. You tell our people here at Quincy Notre Dame that you are going to square off with Pittsfield, there's some excitement in the air and people are going to come to see that. Same with Illini West, that had beaten us up at their place a couple of years ago. And people are always excited when you say Macomb, so I am excited to look across the field and see some of those schools. More people here. When you said Peoria Manual, I don't know if it excited a lot of people. But I know there is a lot of the old timers and if you say Pittsfield, they will come for miles."