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Countdown to Kickoff: #12 Gonzaga Eagles

1:20 PM, Aug. 08, 2012 EDT

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Story by Malcolm Johnson

WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- This fall Gonzaga will return a team basically intact from a squad that made it all the way to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) final last year. Head coach Aaron Brady is 15-8 in two seasons with Gonzaga, where expectations will be set high after he led his team to the championship game in 2011.

The Eagles should have a bitter taste left in their mouth after being held scoreless in the championship game against perennial powerhouse Good Counsel. The Falcons laid a 42-0 romping on Gonzaga that should have this team eager to get back to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium for another shot at the title.

Record Last Season: 8-4

Big Question: With an undersized defensive line that lacks depth, will this highly skilled offense be able to flourish with inadequate pass-run protection?

Strengths: The Eagles are extremely talented at their skill positions and have the potential to discourage some of the area's better defensive units. Senior quarterbacks Chris Schultz and Connor Ennis both earned solid playing time and are being recruited by Division I colleges. Senior wide outs Paris Person and Brady Malone will make the Eagles' aerial attack one of (if not the best) in the WCAC, as both receivers are also drawing interest from Division I colleges. Then there's Robbie Walker ...

Breakthrough Player: Don't be surprised if Robbie Walker is first team all-conference next season. The rising senior will start at RB but can line up at a multitude of positions. Offensive coordinator Conrad Singh feels strongly about Robbie Walker's versatility.

"He played behind a senior last year but when we needed to make a play we'd go to him. He's one of our best athletes point blank, period," said Singh.

Walker gained over 600 all-purpose yards last season, rushing for 346 of them and four touchdowns, as a backup.

Best Player: Devin Butler's versatility as a defensive back make him not only the Eagles' anchor on defense, but one of the area's best defensive players. The 6-foot-1, 185 pound cornerback verbally committed to the University of Notre Dame in April. Last season, Butler intercepted seven passes, returning one for a touchdown. His soft hands have given coaches more incentive to line him up at receiver, where he caught three touchdown passes last season.

Why fans should be excited: Singh on the progress the Eagles have made in just two seasons under head coach Aaron Brady: 

"It was the best season we've had since 2003, just simply making it back to the championship game ... But more importantly it was coach Brady's first full year with his recruits ... We're building and moving forward. Being able to beat DeMatha twice, including the home game where we beat them in dramatic fashion, that was very good for our program."



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