Brinkley, Tars back at it

Coach, in his 25th year at Newport Harbor, leads Sailors into a season filled with high expectations.

August 31, 2010|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza,
(Don Leach / Daily…)

NEWPORT BEACH — The thick blue binders on a shelve inside Coach Jeff Brinkley's office at Newport Harbor High are of last season's schedule. Eleven games in all.

Each game is broken down to an exact football science.

Producing material for 14 games is the objective. The number means the Sailors will have reached the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division championship game.

Brinkley and his staff are back at it again. They are preparing for the upcoming season, to put the Sailors in position to be successful.

This year marks a quarter of a century Brinkley will have coached at Newport Harbor. Only two current head coaches (Los Alamitos' John Barnes and Valencia's Mike Marrujo) in Orange County have been at their respective schools longer.

At age 57, Brinkley said he is not slowing down. Retirement, he has not even thought about it.

"As long as I'm excited about going to practice and getting them ready, I'll be here," said Brinkley, who is looking forward to improving on last season's success: 6-5, 3-2 in the Sunset League and a first-round playoff appearance. "I still enjoy being around the players and coaches.


"I didn't know [I would be here 25 years when I arrived in 1986]. You just take it one year at a time. I got good advice from [former NFL and college] coach [Mike] White back then. He just said, 'Make this place the best you can make it.' "

Brinkley built a winner at Newport Harbor.

Under Brinkley, the Sailors have won 202 games, 33 of them in the playoffs and three coming in section title games. The expectation at Newport Harbor is always the same: to win.

Winning might not be as common this season at Newport Harbor.

The Sailors return five starters on each side of the ball, including senior JB Salem, a 6-foot-4, 258-pound lineman bound for Stanford.

Back on offense is quarterback Austin Rios, fullback Ryan Andrews, wide receiver Parker Norton, right tackle Dillon Gillette and center Conner Miki. One major performer from last season's second-place team in the Sunset League is missing.

Running back Cedric Whitaker is not back.

The void in the backfield is one of two obstacles the Sailors face. The other is a challenging schedule.

Brinkley said the team has moved on after Whitaker was a no-show this summer and during fall practice. The loss of a 1,003-yard elusive rusher who totaled 12 touchdowns last season will affect any team.

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