How do you follow up a dream season?
This was exactly my thought when talking to Naperville Central head coach Mike Stine earlier this summer at the Red Grange Passing 7-on-7 team event at Wheaton South high school.
From the looks of the crowds and media following Stine and the Redhawks around all day, I wasn't the only one wondering the pulse of the defending Class 8A state champions.
So, what was the vibe in Redhawks camp this summer, you ask?
Let's call it "measured confidence."
[100 DAYS TO KICKOFF: Naperville Central Redhawks]
Naperville Central in 2014 returns just six starters from the 2013 state championship team (two on offense; four on defense) yet the returning starters all made significant contributions in 2013. Senior WR/DB Michael Kolzow (Illinois State) made his impact felt on the receiving end, yet his move to the defensive secondary in the state playoffs might have been the biggest and best personnel adjustment from the Redhawks staff.
Iowa State commit senior linebacker Bobby McMillen, who keyed a vastly improved Redhawks defense from a season ago, is also back. Senior running back Kevin Clifford is a strong runner and junior wide receiver Emmanual Rugamba (6-feet, 172 pounds) already has an early offer from Illinois this summer.
Yet in a season that is already shaping up to be another wide open campaign, can anyone blame Mike Stine for having measured confidence?
WATCH: EDGY speaks with CB Mike Kolzow
WATCH:EDGY speaks with LB Bobby McMillen
WATCH: EDGY speaks with WR Manny Rugamba