- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Hawks have now taken over that top spot in ESPNChicago.com's poll and look to hold on to it while shooting for their second consecutive Class 8A state title. Maine South coach Dave Inserra took time out of his practice Monday to talk about the big win, Olsen and more.
What impressed you most about your team's win over Wheaton Warrenville South?
Dave Inserra: I think mostly the defensive effort, the turnaround from Week 1. We had nine guys starting for the first time in Week 1. That was their first varsity start. They learned a lot on the fly. They learned from their mistakes and corrected those mistakes. We can still get better, but it's a definite improvement.
How do you feel about your team after two games?
DI: In a big-game atmosphere, my main concern was how quickly our receivers grew up and how quickly our defense grew up. Those two areas were a concern for us, and they became a benefit.
What did you take from Greg Olsen's speech?
DI: Just the whole excitement for the boys. He kept expressing to them that this is the last time you suit up with your buddies. It's your last chance, last memories, make it special. That's what I took. And to have a Chicago Bears player talking in front of you before a game, if that doesn't get you pumped, I don't know what does.
How have you felt about Tyler Benz's play at quarterback after taking over for Charlie Goro?
DI: Tremendous, couldn't be happier. I think he started the game 13-for-13. He stuck most of the time with his reads. He's just running a smooth offense. By the middle of the third quarter, we were working the clock already. When he's going both ways, you don't know if you'll have time to teach him everything. He was watching the official, and waiting to run the play. You can't teach those things.
Can he play at the next level?
DI: Absolutely. I know he didn't have film coming out of last year. On pure size, they got to look at him. On pure arm strength, they have to look him. When a play broke down late in the game, he scrambled for 15 yards, and he took on nine of their guys. He's a tough kid. He has poise.
Did you feel you had another state-title contender coming into this season?
DI: Absolutely. With Tyler, with Matt Perez, with that one-two punch. Our offensive line, we knew was solid. Obviously, the second week was a big test. So far, so good. We responded to the test, but we have to keep going. If we're a good team, we'll continue that.
Are you worried about a letdown for this week's game?
DI: That's the biggest thing. Whether it's next week or the rest of the season, that's what we have to do as coaches, make sure that letdown doesn't come. We always tell them, 'The only opponent we're playing is ourselves.' We try to do that in practice and in games. That's on us as coaches.
Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
17mMichael C. Wright