Rich Central coach Terrell Alexander acknowledges his team graduated a large amount of talent from last year’s 9-2 squad.
Gone are defensive stalwarts Malik Fountain, Isaiah Hardy and Iyen Ogbomoh, along with quarterback Michael Hoover and running back Ahmad McClellan, among others.
In the past such an exodus of talent would have caused the Olympians to go into rebuild mode.
Alexander, though, is confident that won’t be the case.
In fact, he considers Rich Central in position to reload for a run at Southland Conference supremacy.
“We have some holes to fill on both sides of the ball,” Alexander said. “But it’s our job as coaches to have the young kids ready to fill those holes. We have a lot of work to do. But I believe we have the talent to accomplish our goals.”
The Olympians’ skill position players were impressive during Homewood-Flossmoor’s Battle of the Border 7-on-7 passing tournament Friday.
It’s obvious Alexander has a tough decision to make at quarterback, where seniors D.J. Taylor and Dequan Richie and junior Emmanuel Taylor are battling for the starting role. Richie transferred from Thornwood.
“It’s pretty equal,” Alexander said about the QB competition among the three. “All three have looked really good.”
The Olympians, as a whole, have looked very good during offseason workouts. What concerns Alexander most is how his team will deal with adversity, which likely will rear its head on a young, inexperienced team.
He’s hoping by the time the season begins a handful of seniors will emerge as leaders.
“Our biggest hole we need to fill is leadership,” Alexander said. “That’s something we’re going to continue to build upon — leadership.
“We’ve been preaching to them all summer how we’re going to face adversity. Young players are going to have their moments. We’re all right with adversity. But we’re going to have to overcome it in a professional manner to be successful.”
Senior linebacker Noaman Logan understands his coach’s concern but is confident his teammates will handle anything thrown their way in a mature manner.
“Everybody is staying focused,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of talent on this team. This group is very close. We keep telling each other that as long as we play as a team, we’ll win.”
Some teams have a tendency to rest on their laurels after experiencing success the previous season. Senior slot back Deshon Kelly promises that isn’t the case with Rich Central.
“We have to work even harder,” Kelly said. “We’ve been very focused. We’re not satisfied with what we accomplished last season.”
Logan quickly seconded that notion.
“Last year is in the past,” he said. “We’re focused on every opponent this season. It’s a whole new year.”