For those that missed the Mario Manningham stories from the past few days, click the following links:
What do you recall most about Mario from when you coached him and have you seen or coached against him since you moved over to Glenville?
“One of the things I remember most is he’s a great kid that comes from a good family. At the time I was there he was raw, but as the season went along you could tell that he was going to be a great player! We didn’t face them this year, but I still watched him. I still watch all of my guys. I still watch Prescott even though he goes to Michigan! (Laughing)”
I’m sure that you aren’t surprised that he’s a linebacker now.
“YOU know I’m not surprised! (Laughing). I told you before he went to Michigan that they would move him to linebacker. I told Prescott the same thing. Everybody always thought that. It’s just a matter of him learning the game at linebacker. He has the athleticism, he just has to get used to playing closer to the line of scrimmage and dealing with more contact.”
Tell me about Mario as a receiver.
“He’s incredible! He’s six-foot, between 175 and 180 pounds, and VERY quick. Plus, he doesn’t drop balls. He’s the type of receiver that as a coach what scares you is if you isolate on him out there and they throw the ball up for him, he’s going to go get it. He’s going to make a play on it. What makes him even more dangerous is he has great speed and can make the moves after the catch. I was at the Mooney game and I was talking to the coach from St. Ed’s and Harding was on the 50-yard line when they threw him a quick hitch. He took two steps, did a move, and then was gone down the sideline! I turned to the St. Ed’s coach and said, ‘how are you going to stop that?!’ (Laughing) “
I hear that he’s a good return man too.
“Absolutely! Anytime you have a guy with that type of ability, they’re going to be good return guys as well. He’s what you call ‘cat-quick’. He can burn a defender in one move!”
What parts of his game does he need to improve upon?
“He does a little too much at times. His moves are so good that sometimes he can get carried away with that dancing. Sometimes there can be an opening for 10 yards to the inside, but he’ll break it back out because he thinks he can make a bigger play out of it. He also needs to work on selling his patterns. Sometimes it’s easy to pick up on what he’s running. He still has some work to do. Because of that, it’s hard to compare him to someone that is established. But I’ll tell you what…any guy that can catch it and take it to the house on any play would be a good receiver to compare him too.”
I see you guys are going to play Harding this year.
“Yeah, we are. We play Harding in week 2. It will be at Harding with about 15,000 people in the stands. It will be a match-up between the #1 player in the state, which is Jamario O ‘ Neal, and the #2 player in the state, which is Mario. They are going to be matched up the whole game. Everyday that’s all Jamario talks about. They supposedly have three guys that are rated highly in the state and we have five guys that are ranked highly, so there will be some of the best of the best playing that night.”
“Mario going to be a great one. We knew that early. He just has to develop. He’s probably the most dangerous guy we’ll face. If Jamario wants to be Mr. Football he has to well against the best competition and that means doing well against players like Mario.”