Thursday, August 20, 2009

Training camp report: Albany High

Albany High head coach Pete Porcelli reacts to players during a recent practice at the high school. (Photo by Tom Killips - The Record).

If there was a perfect fit for the Albany football program, they've found it in new coach Pete Porcelli.

Porcelli, who has taught in the Albany district for 17 years and coached the JV team previously, now takes over a varsity program that has won three games in the last three seasons.

From what I saw at practice earlier this week though, he has the players believing and that is probably half the battle.

While it may be easy to doubt Porcelli's ability to turn it around, he's already done it with two schools, Catholic Central for one season and Lansingburgh for eight years.

"You feel like change is going to come," said senior Zine Massey. "That makes us work harder too because we want to impress him (Porcelli)."

The sentiment on the team seems to have changed entirely.

"I'm going wherever the team needs me," senior Bilal Turner said. "That's all of our mentalities right now. If we need to move, we have to move to make the team stronger."

Porcelli put his team through an almost four hour practice and they'll need it as they have to learn a new offense: the double-wing.

The double-wing has been Porcelli's calling card, but there were definitely speed bumps during the practice I saw as players were going in every which way.

Still, they did have a grasp on it and I'm assuming will only get exponentially better before there first game with Schenectady on Sept. 4.

While Porcelli is optimistic about the team's chances this year, he did admit that there's a chance the turnaround could take more than one year, but he's ready for the challenge.

"It would be disrespectful to the seniors to say that this is a three or four-year plan," Porcelli said. "We want to win right now. Realistically can we? — Yes. Will there be bumps along the way? Oh Yeah."

Porcelli should definitely be able to help change the culture at Albany and I think even three wins in a very tough Class AA would be a big step in the right direction.

Note: This post is written by Andrew Santillo, who is helping out with our 48-page high school football 2009 preview section, which is set to hit the newsstands on Thursday, Sept. 3

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