As advertised, the Grant Pacers were impressive to look at, to watch, to talk to.
Grant dominated in its home scrimmage against Whitney (which should be very good this fall), Chavez, Sacramento and Yuba City. The Pacers were physical, a trademark under coach Mike Alberghini and driven defensive coordinator Reggie Harris. And they were fast. What is Grant without speed? I
Shaq Thompson was sensational, a do-all marvel who can be an 1,800-yard rusher, but also a dynamite receiver, defensive back, special teams ace and punter.
Alberghini has a great problem on his hands: How to use Shaq without wearing him out. Do you run him a ton like Devontae Butler, or pace him like a classic Pacer in the mold of Richard Watson and Syd Thompson, Shaq's older brother, of year's past where they take the most handoffs but also play every down on defense?
Alberghini does not want to make Shaq a workhorse back like Onterrio Smith or Butler as he needs him fresh on defense, special teams and as a punter. Nothing worse than a punter with dead legs.
New quarterback Terry Shine was solid, only a junior but a blur when he runs. He seems to improve by the day. James Sample was superb in the secondary. Even backup running backs ran with focus and determination, crashing into foes on the goal line.
The line looked menacing and motivated, headed by anchors Vei Moala, Puka Lopa and Darryl Paulo. These are also community and campus leaders, excellent students and gentlemen. They shake the hands of people in the community. The appreciate the media. They are all manners. In play, they are a terror.
To a man, the Pacers crave the showdown with Folsom.
Said Alberghini, "We've got some things to iron out, but we'll be ok. We're not an ordinary team that lines up and does one thing. We do a lot of things. But we can also run the ball and play defense, and we have very good offensive and defensive lines."