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Q and A with Sacred Heart coach Paul Gorham
Paul Gorham enters his seventh season as the head football coach at Sacred Heart University. The Pioneers are coming off a 2-8 campaign and were picked to finish eighth in the Northeast Conference’s preseason poll.
QQuarterback Dale Fink struggled at times last year coming back from off-season shoulder surgery. do you think he was ever 100 percent healthy and how does he look going into this season?
A”I really think the last month he was (healthy). When he got into fall camp and he tried to grind through some things, the ball wasn’t coming out with the same jump, and after he played the first game, he had tendinitis in his bicep, so that slowed him down and he wasn’t practicing. He’d practice every other day and we were counting reps and limiting throws. … I’d say (he started feeling better) toward the end of the year and certainly this spring and summer. He’s performed real well and I think he’s got a little confidence back.”
QReceiver Steve Tedesco was such a big part of your offense the last few years, how do you replace the best receiver in school history?
A”Maybe we’ll have to focus more on the run or do more play-action like we did a couple years back. Steve was 78 catches for us, 1,000 yards and eleven touchdowns. We had some other kids with 35 catches and I’m a big proponent of getting a lot of people a lot of touches. but when it was crunch time, third down, Steve would find a way, and we have to find someone to step up and take that role.”
QYou had trouble running the ball at times last year. do you believe the Pioneers will be able to overcome that in 2010 with Marcel Archer healthy and Garry Cole back?
A”Unfortunately, (Marcel) go banged up early (last season) and when he got back and started to get his footing and get us those big yards, he got banged up again in the Central (Connecticut) game. … We had a good mix with his power and Garry Cole’s speed, which I like to have with two solid kids, but neither was able to complete the year healthy. Marcel’s back and had a great off-season and spring. He’s up to 215 and hopefully he can be that physical runner that we thought we had last year.”
QWith Tedesco gone, who is your biggest threat on offense now?
A”I have to go back to the backfield right now with Marcel. he had an outstanding spring running the ball and if we can get 1,000 yards out of him running the ball, I feel we can be as dynamic an offense as we were a few years ago. Hopefully, we can change it up, and instead of throwing to run, we can run to throw.”
QYour defense struggled last season, especially without lineman bill O’Brien and safety Rashod Underwood in the lineup. how important is it to have both players back?
A”Billy missed the whole season for us last year after being a preseason all-conference pick, and now he’s back on the defensive line to get together with (all-NEC end) Justin Embler. our free safety Rashod Underwood (who was also hurt) is back, so those are better than any two recruits we are going to bring in. Getting them back in there — they both were elected captains so that tells you where they stand with the team. it gave us a bit of a personality with them and hopefully we can feed off of them. We have 13 other kids back who all played some football, and if they can all take that next step and improve, I think we’ll be a little bit ahead of where we have been defensively.”