CHATHAM, NJ - Three weeks into summer sessions for the Chatham football team, new head coach Dan Czepiga is cautiously optimistic as he prepares the Cougars for the 2018 season that will open Sept. 7 at Mount Olive.
"We have good numbers," Czepiga said. "I like what we've got. It's tough to gauge where we are because everyone is learning a new system. The offense is working on a learning curve. Our quarterbacks made some nice throws (in a 7 vs. 7 scrimmage) and some wrong reads. We're figuring out positions for everybody on the team right now."
Czepiga, the former offensive coordinator at Ewing, plans on running the no-huddle offense as the head coach and has brought in Evan Picariello from Hanover Park as his defensive coordinator.
Chatham scored just 71 points in 2017 during a 1-9 season and Czepiga has three quarterbacks to choose from in seniors Ryan Lonergan and Colin Petrullo and junior Ryan Coughlin.
Colin Petrullo throws a pass during summer practice on Thursday
"Overall, the passing game looks pretty good," Czepiga said. "Right now it's a no-huddle, but I don't know if it will be a spread offense. We have a couple good tight ends and we might go out there with two tight ends and two wide receivers."
For the first time in years, Chatham will have its head football coach teaching at the high school. Czepiga will teach biology and exercise physiology. Joining him at CHS will be physical education teacher Picariello.
"We have nice sophomore class," Czepiga said. "We have good linemen. We're going to platoon a little bit. Hopefully, we won't have too many guys going both ways so we can keep them fresh. But some of our better guys will have to go both ways."
As far as the schedule goes, it will be very different from the 2017 season. Mount Olive and Parsippany Hills are the only opponents that remain from last season. The new schedule (see below) includes non-conference games again Morristown and Millburn, as well as conference games against Madison, Dover, Hackettstown, Hanover Park and Parsippany HIlls.
Chatham football 2018 Schedule