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August 7, 2010

No. 6 Trinity takes unusual approach

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

RivalsHigh.com has begun its 2010 countdown, ranking the teams from No. 1 through No. 100.

We started at No. 100 on July 26 and will release two groups of five teams per day. Then, we'll do a daily countdown from No. 10 to No. 1. Our top team will be unveiled on Monday - two weeks from the start of the season.

After that, we will wait until Sept. 1 for the next rankings, then have them every Monday during the season.

The team rankings were compiled by high school sports senior analyst Dallas Jackson, the Rivals AMP team, football recruiting analysts and the entire RivalsHigh network of publishers.

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No. 6 Euless Trinity, Texas
COACH: Steve Lineweaver
LAST SEASON: 15-2, Texas Class 5A Division I State Champs
FINAL 2009 RANKING:: No. 15 in RivalsHigh 100

If you have a chance to ask Euless (Texas) Trinity head coach Steve Lineweaver how his team looks heading into the new season, you probably should think about waiting a few days.

You see, Lineweaver takes an unusual approach at the helm of an elite-level program.

He gives the team and his coaches the summer off.

"It may be old school," Lineweaver said. "But we see them for 10 months, so we let them have summer to themselves. We leave that summer work up to them, to be mature and make the decisions on their own."

That means no mandated weight program - even though some kids still stop by the school to work out.

And no 7-on-7 season either - a staple in Texas football, if for nothing else than to get timing down.

Nothing.

With a showdown game against the No. 22-ranked Springdale (Ark.) Shiloh Christian just under a month away, Lineweaver and the Trojans - who begin the year ranked No. 6 in the RivalsHigh 100 - have some work to do.

"We have a lot of retuning starters," Lineweaver said. "That comes with expectations of course, so we will have to start with selling humility and work ethic. We have a process here that has worked. We will stick to that."

The Trojans bring back nine starters on offense and five on defense to defend their Texas Class 5A Division I state title.

"We all need mental breaks," Lineweaver said. "I respect our coaches' family time and I think that is why I have had the same nine guys here to help me the past five, six years."

The continuity of coaching has helped develop the process at Trinity. It has also helped make the Trojans one of the best teams year in and year out in the country.

"We never talk about championships here," Lineweaver said. "Some teams do and it works for them. For us, we don't. We keep focused on our process."

The process this year will start with trying to find a quarterback before the season starts.

The leader entering the team's first practice on Monday will be rising junior Lahi Kautai.

Kautai was the backup quarterback last year and, according to Lineweaver, is a good runner and throws well. Because he already knows the team's speed zone-read offense, it should make for a relatively easy transition.

However, a usually massive offensive line - one that typically has multiple players tipping the scales at more than 300 pounds - will be slightly smaller this year.

But Lineweaver thinks the slimmed down line will be more athletic and able to spring more big plays from two very different running backs.

Tevin Williams returns from a severe knee injury last season and will be joined in the backfield by Terrence Tusan, who filled in the last six games of 2009 to lead the Trojans to a state title.

"We will see how Tevin returns," Lineweaver said. "He is 100 percent physically, so it will just be a mental check. But he loves the game so much and loves to play. I am sure he will come out flying."

Williams will be eased back into the workload, splitting time with Tusan. It may not be the obvious split many would imagine.

Williams is 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds.

Tusan is 5-foot-5 and 155 pounds.

"Terrance will probably be our pound-it-in-the-middle guy," Lineweaver said. "He is smaller but his strength really is going through the middle. Some of it is his strength and some of it is that he can get lost in there and then pop out the other side. But we will decide based on situation."

The defense returns five starters and is highlighted by three players with three-star ratings.

Defensive tackle Suleiman Masumbuko, linebacker Jonathan Yenga and defensive back Brandon Carter will be the three leaders from the inside-out.

Carter will be the sparkplug for the team.

He had worked out at quarterback in the spring and caught the state title winning pass last season but, according to Lineweaver, really wants to play defense.

"Honestly, he wants to do everything," Lineweaver said. "We want him to do everything too. He returns kicks, plays wide receiver and defensive back. We can't line him up at quarterback and have him do all that as well."

The Trojans, however, will temporarily be without Masumbuko, who has spent the summer in Africa visiting his parents whom he has not seen in eight years. He has not returned to America yet and will miss the offseason workouts.

"He will definitely miss our first game," Lineweaver said. "He may miss the second game too. The condition he comes back to us in will determine a lot."

With the summer off, he could probably say that about everyone.



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