08/16/12 — FOOTBALL TAB -- Goldsboro: Reid has the "big three" intangibles this fall

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FOOTBALL TAB -- Goldsboro: Reid has the "big three" intangibles this fall

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on August 16, 2012 1:48 PM

Depth, talent and athleticism are the big three for any high school football team in North Carolina.

Coaches dream about having teams with those prized characteristics and have nightmares about opponents who can boast such attributes.

Goldsboro High School head coach Eric Reid has all three and is looking to get the most out of the 2012 Cougars.

"There is no doubt that being a young team full of juniors and sophomores last season has paid off for us this season" Reid said. "Those same guys are back and they have varsity experience that they can build off of."

The Cougars have returning players at eight positions, including nearly every skill position, on the offensive side of the ball. Quarterback Julius Murphy will lead the team on to the field for his senior season and is expected to put up big numbers in the Cougars' revamped pro-style offense.

Murphy threw for 1,310 yards on 87 completions in 2011. Most of his throws were deep passes as part of the team's three-back set. This year he will be faced with more reads and less launches in the split-back formation.

"Julius is getting some college looks and coaches at that level want to see what he can do in a pro-style offense," Reid said. "We took a few days over the summer and went over it with him, and (Murphy) really grasped the concepts right away."

If Murphy is the key to the team's offensive success, then putting together a solid offensive line is crucial. Goldsboro is in the process of replacing two starting linemen and filling out a unit that can open up holes in the running game as well as pass protect long enough for receivers to get open.

"That is priority number one right now," Reid said. "We have to find out who is going to be out there over the last week of practice and get them accustomed to their assignments."

A talent-rich defense should help the team stay in games until the offense hits full stride. Goldsboro has a pair of playmakers -- Bernard Cannon and Asunji Maddox. Both Cannon and Maddox have multiple collegiate offers already on the table and are looking to improve their stock over their senior season.

Cannon will play a hybrid defensive end/linebacker spot in the Cougars' 4-4 set. Maddox will anchor the secondary from the safety position.

"Those two guys are two that I expect big things from," Reid said. "I think our defense as a whole is going to be very good and that starts with the two leaders of that unit. Both of them are capable of playing at the next level and they are eager to make a statement this year."

Goldsboro opens the season Friday at perennial 4-A power Wilmington New Hanover. The Cougars launch their final season in the Carolina 1-A Conference at home Sept. 28 against North Duplin.

"We want to leave this conference with another championship, but we know that isn't going to come easy," Reid said. "There is no room to take anyone lightly."