Spring Football: Carson waits on Pinyan
This is the second in a series on high school spring football practices ...
CHINA GROVE — Joe Pinyan was standing in the Salisbury High gym recently, holding a list of athletic banquet names.
Which is strange, considering he had already been hired as Carson’s football coach.
“I’m going down after school,” Pinyan said of working with his Cougars. “I’m still AD-ing a little bit here. I’m doing my job at both places. I’m just trying to help out and not make anybody mad.”
No one’s mad at Carson. The fans are getting one of North Carolina’s most successful football coaches, a man who averaged 10 wins at Salisbury in 10 years while bringing the Hornets a state championship in 2010.
When Mark Woody gave up football to become the new athletic director, Pinyan took the job. And he is hitting the weight room hard.
One of the reasons for Pinyan’s success with the Hornets is that program.
“We’ve incorporated it down there,” Pinyan said. “I can’t honestly tell you we have the numbers I want but they are working their fannies off. There are some kids who need to be out there and if I was at the school and able to see them every day, I’d encourage them.”
The players seem encouraged that Pinyan’s bringing his wishbone offense with him. Run correctly and confidently, you’re talking miles of yardage and tons of points.
But it will take time to learn. Many Cougars played spring sports but that is something Pinyan has always wanted his players to do. He points to rising senior quarterback Austin McNeill as an example.
“Austin came to me and said, ‘I need to know how to set up my summer for 7-on-7s,’ ” Pinyan said. “I told him to set up his Legion baseball and I’ll set up my 7-on-7s. I’m not putting that on a kid.”
McNeill may be the most important piece to Pinyan’s initial season. He was Rowan County’s leader in passing yards last year but will now run a new offense.
“Austin’s ready to take some snaps and learn the option,” Pinyan smiled.
Also new to the system will be the assistant coaches.
Three of his future coaches — Barry Mitchem, Josh Carter and Jason Stanley — were track coaches, “and I respect their time,” he said.
“It’s not that we’re lacking kids,” Pinyan added. “We’re lacking coaches.”
He likes what he hears from them, however. Woody has helped with the transition considering Pinyan won’t leave Salisbury until the end of school.
“Everybody there wants to be a part of it,” Pinyan said. “I think we’ll have a good staff. The guys I’ve talked to seem to be very, very optimistic.”
Pinyan will greet one of the area’s most sought-after athletes in Myquon Stout. ACC schools have looked at him as a defensive lineman and a shot and discus thrower.
“If there aren’t schools interested in Stout, they need to have their heads examined,” Pinyan said.
He thinks Tre Williams, a linebacker, can be a college player. But he also has other kids like Andrew Hower, running back Tyler Reynolds, who came in from California last year, and bruising runner Brandon Sloop, a returning 1,000-yard rusher.
As strange as it seems that Pinyan isn’t at Carson already, it’s nothing compared to a strange, strange schedule. Carson has only four home games.
And get this. The first five games are on the road, the opener at Salisbury. Carson’s home debut will be against West Rowan.
On Oct. 4.
Did we mention it was strange?
But looking at the glass half-full, that’s seven home games in 2014 when Pinyan’s players have fully adjusted to his new system.
Pinyan will also welcome a new conference combining Rowan and Cabarrus County schools.
“It won’t be any argument over who’s better,” Pinyan said. “If we go 11-0, we can say we’re champions of both counties.”
Of course, after a 4-8 season, no one’s expecting 11-0 at Carson. But remember, Salisbury was 4-8 the year before Pinyan arrived on Lincolnton Road.
He won seven his first year and never looked back.
Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or firstname.lastname@example.org.