Vineland is in a hurry.
The Fighting Clan will run a no-huddle offense this season. Coach Ed Belfi says that should help Vineland's inexperienced offensive line.
"We're trying to use our speed and set the tempo of the game," Belfi said. "With our offensive line, we feel it will force defenses to give us a more vanilla look. They won't be able to scheme against us."
Vineland returns enough experience to improve on last season's 4-6 record. The Fighting Clan takes some momentum into this season. It ended last year on a three-game winning streak.
Junior running back Brian Winchester rushed for 1,191 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.
"He has great speed and vision," Belfi said. "But if we can't block for him, he's not going to go anywhere. But he has the ability to make things happen."
Randy Young, who averaged 11.3 yards per catch, returns at wide receiver as does fullback Darrel Chestnut. Juniors Darrius Flowers and Bob Romano are competing for the quarterback spot. Flowers saw some action last season.
But none of Vineland's offensive linemen have seen significant varsity action.
"We're working on getting that group to jell together," Belfi said.
On defense, the Vikings return talented linebackers Steven Ribot and Randy Young.
"Ribot is real quick," Belfi said. "He gets to the ball. We're trying to build the defense around him."
The Fighting Clan is also getting a boost from senior nose guard Jayson Williams, who quit the team for personal reasons last season.
"He's come back and really dedicated himself for his senior year," Belfi said. "He's been a real leader."
With the talent at the skill positions, Vineland could surprise. The Fighting Clan haven't had a winning season since finishing 7-3 in 2003.
"The line has to come together," Belfi said. "If they do, there's a possibility we can win some games."
And with the no-huddle offense, wherever Vineland ends up, it will get there quickly.
PLAYOFF APPEARANCES: 6
LAST PLAYOFF APPEARANCE: 2003
PLAYOFF RECORD: 0-6
LEAGUE/GROUP: Cape-Atlantic League American Conference/South Jersey Group IV
COACH: Ed Belfi (28-52,
2008 RECORD: 4-6
2009 PREDICTION: Spoiler. The Fighting Clan has enough talent at the skill positions to surprise this season. But Vineland must overcome a lack of experience on the offensive and defensive lines.
THE GROUND GAME:
Brian Winchester emerged as one of the region's best with 1,191 yards last season.
Darrius Flowers, Jr., QB, 5-11, 175;
Bob Romano, Jr., QB, 6-2, 196;
Randy Young, Sr., RB/DB/WR,
Brian Winchester, Jr., RB, 6-0, 193;
Darrel Chestnut, Sr., RB/LB, 6-1, 203;
Steve Ribot, Jr., LB, 5-11, 195;
Marlin Milbourne, Sr., OL/DL, 6-1, 195;
Derek Coney, Jr., LB, 5-9, 196;
Albert Arroyo, Jr., LB, 5-8, 180;
Matt Garvey, Sr., DL, 5-9, 195;
Jeff Bryson, Sr., OL/DL, 6-4, 225;
Nick Evans, Sr., DB, 5-10, 176;
Troy Henderson, Sr., LB, 5-10, 165;
Jayson Williams, Sr., OL/DL, 6-0, 250;
Nate Offer, Sr., LB, 5-9, 160.
Vineland's 2009 schedule
Sept. 11: at Mainland, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18: at Absegami, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2: at Ocean City, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9: Lower Cape May Regional, 7 p.m
Oct. 16: at Egg Harbor Township, 7 p.m.
Oct. 23: Hammonton, 7 p.m.
Oct. 30: Atlantic City, 7 p.m.
Nov. 6: Oakcrest, 7 p.m.
Nov. 26: at Millville, 10:30 a.m.