WHEATON – After splitting time under center as a sophomore, Ryan Graham returns for his second season as the full-time starting quarterback for Wheaton Warrenville South. The senior and his teammates are trying to bounce back from a rare season of missing the playoffs last year – the first time since 2002.
Schmid: What do you take away from last season?
Graham: Last year we had a lot of talent but we were also young. I was a young player and I struggled a bit last year. But I also learned a lot from it. When you have a down year, it really puts in perspective how hard you have to work for it.
Schmid: Your team was in a lot of close games last year. How do you come out on top in those?
Graham: I think we have to do all the little things right. Personally, I have to be a lot more consistent in the short passes.
Schmid: How did the offseason go?
Graham: In the summer we did really well. We did real well at the Notre Dame 7-on-7 and we ended up playing 11 games at the Red Grange 7-on-7. Coach [Ron] Muhitch was really happy with what we did. We grew a lot.
Schmid: What is the mindset the team is taking into this season?
Graham: I think everybody thinks we are in another down year. Everyone looks at us like we are the underdogs. That's where we want to be. Hopefully we can come out and hit them in the mouth and come out on top.
Schmid: What are the keys to being successful on offense?
Graham: Consistency on every play, we can't make stupid mistakes and we have to limit our turnovers. We want to make a gain on every play and not take as many losses this year.
Schmid: What has impressed you about the defense so far?
Graham: Their intensity. They are not the biggest guys out there but they definitely bring some heat. Every day they come out wanting to beat us and that makes us better and the team better.
Schmid: Do you enjoy playing a tough schedule?
Graham: That's the fun part. We all want the hardest games because we want to prove that we are the best. You have to play the best to be the best.