About a half-dozen Raiders might play both ways, Quinn said, and he thinks that reflects a change in high school football around the area.
"I see it happening more and more," he said, "and I think it's going to be more and more common."
Four of the five returning starters will probably be asked to play both ways, because the Raiders need to get the maximum out of their minimal experience. And what experience those five have. Last year, with a collection of well-seasoned seniors, Ryan won the Catholic League football championship for the first time in the school's 22-year history.
For now, Quinn said he's aiming for the last playoff berth. "I just want that fourth spot," he said. "You just get there, and the season starts over."
COACHING. John Quinn started his third stint as Ryan's head coach last year. Before then, he had coached the team from 1966 to '75 and 1981 to '84.
LAST YEAR. Ryan finished at 10-2, recorded six shutouts, and above all, won the Catholic League title.
LETTERMEN LOST. The 1988 all-Catholic first team included five Ryan seniors, two more players than any other school placed on the squad. One of those seniors - center/defensive lineman Steve McEachern, received both defensive and offensive honors. McEachern has moved on to Fordham, a school with three Ryan players on its roster and former head coach Steff Kruck on its staff.
All-Catholic running back Frank Wycheck received a full scholarship to Maryland. The three other first-teamers - receiver Steve Devlin, offensive tackle Tom Ott and linebacker Jeff Burke - all went to Lycoming.
Graduated quarterback Bill Sachs and receiver Marcello Settembrino will remain teammates at West Chester University. Second-team all-Catholic linebacker Pete Rendina is at Susquehanna University.
And if you want to see Quinn beam, ask him where defensive lineman Joe Fox ended up. (The honorable-mention all-Catholic will play for Princeton.)
LETTERMEN RETURNING. Four starters from 1988's outstanding defense are back: defensive lineman Alan Brown and linebacker Tim Wade, both second-team all-Catholic picks, linebacker Dan Ledva and defensive back Shane Hollawell. Returning to the offense is fullback Mike Barnett, who provided strong blocking for Wycheck last year and demonstrated tenacity as a ballcarrier late in the season.
NEW PLAYERS. Among the most promising newcomers in the starting lineup are seniors John Jadach and Paul Gunsser, who may play on both lines. Senior Fred Fife, a basketball starter as a junior, is giving football a try this year, and Quinn is planning to use him as a tight end or defensive end.
Senior George Maloney will take over the quarterback's job. Junior Matt Ott, Tom's younger brother, is expected to start, possibly at center or as a linebacker.
PROBABLE STARTERS - OFFENSE. The tailback duties are up for grabs. Candidates include Jim Hill, Jamie Silva, Wade and Barnett.
At the ends, Quinn said he would probably go with two tight ends. Chris Goodwin, who backed up starter Dennis Kirby last year, Bryan Heron and junior John Sitler are vying for the jobs.
The interior line should feature Ott or senior Mike Norris at tackle, possibly Brown and Ledva at guard, and Jadach and Gunsser at tackle.
PROBABLE STARTERS - DEFENSE. Three underclassmen are candidates to join Wade and Ledva in the linebacking corps: junior Brian Devine, Ott and sophomore Pat Joyce. On the line, Andy Skaziak can expect to join Brown, Jadach, Gunsser and Fife. Maloney and Barnett may join Hollawell in the secondary, along with senior Ray Hall and junior Jim McCaffrey.
SPECIAL TEAMS. Kicker Matt Knowles, a star on the soccer team, graduated, and Quinn is looking for another soccer player to replace him. McCaffrey may handle the punting.
OUTLOOK. Inexperience makes the Raiders a question mark. Playing two nonleague opponents at the start of the season could provide a considerable boost.
SEASON OPENER. The Raiders host Roman Catholic at 7 Friday night.
PLAYER TO WATCH
The game loomed large on Archbishop Ryan's 1988 schedule: Bishop McDevitt, the defending league champion, Sept. 25 at Northeast High.
And for Alan Brown, a quiet junior on the defensive line, the contest presented a daunting challenge: Derick Pickett, an all-Catholic lineman who eventually received a scholarship from Penn State.
Brown had already faced a highly regarded lineman in a scrimmage against Cardinal O'Hara, with disheartening results. "I got beat pretty bad," he said. "It really opened my eyes."
He expected more of the same when he saw Pickett come out of the huddle at the start of the game.
"I saw him, and he was so big, I was sort of scared," Brown said.
Then came the first play, and like the O'Hara scrimmage, it opened Brown's eyes. This time, though, he realized that he could hold his own in the Catholic League.
"After the first hit, it was OK," he said. "I figured if he was one of the best linemen in the league, I could do OK."
Ryan won the McDevitt game, 17-0, as Brown kept Pickett in check. From then on, Brown continued to improve, and by the end of the season, the coaches named him to the second all-Catholic team.
Over the summer, Brown spent 2 1/2 to 3 hours in a weight room three times a week. He and Ryan fullback Mike Barnett worked out together, pushing each other farther and farther. "I never worked so hard in my life," Brown said. ''I just thought about a football scholarship and decided I had to do it, instead of just having fun."
Brown would like to stay in the East next year, and he is very interested in the Ivy League, although it does not permit athletic scholarships. But with a 92 average in school, he doesn't want to overlook academic opportunities for the sake of football.
The University of Pittsburgh, a Division I-A power, has sent letters to Brown, but he suspects that he'd do best at a Division I-AA school. He weighs 260 pounds, but at 6 feet, 3 inches, he would be shorter than most top college linemen.
Boston University, a Division I-AA school, has also shown interest, and Brown said he would like to explore schools such as Bucknell and Fordham.
Before all of that, he wants to work on his pass defense and try to help Ryan return to the playoffs. Winning the Catholic League title was a thrill, he said, but he doesn't want the end of his high school career to be anticlimactic.
"This year is my senior year," he said, "and you always want that to be your best."