George C. Marshall High (Liberty District)
Coach: Greg Sullivan (First Year)
2011 Record: 2-8 (1-6 in district)
Key Departures: More than 10 seniors
Returning Offensive Starters: 2
Returning Defensive Starters: 2
Key Games: Aug. 30 vs. Robert E. Lee, Oct. 12 vs. Stone Bridge High
A lot of things have changed at in the 33 years since new head football coach Greg Sullivan last played for the Statesmen.
The worn grass field at the stadium has made way for a new, synthetic surface and the number of players has decreased, as have the wins.
All of the latter are things Sullivan plans to change.
“The numbers are way down,” Sullivan said. “We’re going to build it from the ground up.”
The Statesmen only beat one Liberty District opponent last year (Thomas Jefferson High 17-1) en route to a 2-8 season. Sullivan said the team lost a good number of players to graduation last year, so this season would be a work in progress with an anticipation of bringing the program back stronger in years to come.
Wednesday, Sullivan walked amongst his players, stopping to give instruction to almost each individual. Sullivan, who was last at McLean High as an offensive coordinator, said he is used to rebuilding programs: The highlanders too had teams that experienced some lows before getting over the hump.
“We’ve been trying to develop into a team,” Sullivan said. “You have to get them to give up the individual stuff.”
With a team of juniors, like tight end Tim Garner and lineman Mike Nadjmabadi and a host of other underclassmen, Sullivan believes he has a good nucleus. Sullivan said more players will come as he recruits more athletes while walking the halls of the schools. The numbers, he said, would give them more players to work with.
“Right now we’re young,” Sullivan said. “We have a lot of inexperienced kids.”
The Marshall alumnus said it’s good to be back in a familiar place and the support from the community has been great. He said in time, football at Marshall will be back.
“We have a great administration that supports us,” Sullivan said. “The wins will take care of themselves as long as we play as a team.”
Click here for the Statesmen’s 2012 varsity football schedule.