He apologized. He did not want to avoid the question. He simply has no answer yet.
“We are TBA,” Minooka second-year coach Paul Forsythe, entering his 11th season in the program, said when asked to assess the Indians’ prospects. “We’re not necessarily young, but we are inexperienced. We have ability that I’m excited about, but until we go through the first three weeks, it’s all conjecture.”
Minooka, which finished 4-5 in Forsythe’s debut season, opens Aug. 30 at Morris, then hosts Providence before beginning Southwest Prairie play at Oswego. It’s perfect.
“If we are in the playoffs, we will see teams like Morris, Providence and Oswego,” Forsythe said. “And if we can get through this, it means we are a legitimate playoff team. I don’t want to schedule cupcakes to get enough wins to make the playoffs and then get blown out because we don’t belong there.”
On the plus side, Minooka has 6-foot-5, 285-pound Paul Stawarz, one of the area’s top offensive linemen, at right guard. His production last season resembled that of former Indian Blake King, now at Northwestern.
Stawarz broke his left foot in late spring and fell behind in a couple of areas. Now, all is well.
“After I broke my foot I couldn’t do the camp circuit, so I’m a little behind on the college stuff,” he said. “I couldn’t do all the workouts this summer, but I was able to do a lot of upper body work and I’m healthy now and ready to go.”
“Paul was pancaking a lot of guys last year,” said returning inside linebacker Mitch Vogrin, the defensive MVP last season whom Forsythe calls “the lifeblood of our team. He is such a positive kid.”
State-caliber wrestler Nate Gunn led the Indians with 509 rushing yards last season as a sophomore. Forsythe describes Gunn as a “between the tackles runner” and said the year of varsity experience is a huge plus in his case.
Seniors Shane Briscoe, the better passer, and Jake Czerniakowski, the more athletic, are waging a tight duel for the quarterback post. Czerniakowski will be in the receiving corps if not at quarterback.
Mark Geers, at 6-foot-8, is a Division I prospect at defensive end and joins Vogrin in providing a formidable pair of defensive building blocks. Safety Nate Kijowski has experience.
Otherwise, much is new about the Indians. On the other hand, the new includes tall, strong bodies in the offensive line.
“We’re big on offense,” said Forsythe, who’s his own offensive coordinator and is installing a multiple offense. “But big doesn’t mean good, it means big.
“We do have a lot of depth in our offensive line that are juniors. I’m in love with some of our juniors.”
“We have a good-size group up front,” Stawarz said. “There are new guys, but once we click, I think we’ll be really good.”
Vogrin feels it’s coming.
“We’re looking pretty good,” he said. “We are sound offensively, and defensively the young guys are learning to make adjustments. That’s what defense is, adjusting.”