The football coach at Friendship Collegiate Academy in Northeast Washington is gearing up for another autumn on the gridiron. Since Abdul-Rahim became head coach in 2004, his program has regularly sent its players -- including 19 last year -- to college football programs.

How would you boil down your recipe for success in getting players to major programs?

It's about surrounding yourself with like-minded coaches. We also lay out expectations. It's more about keeping players in line and on track academically and athletically throughout the year. We don't have a lot of downtime during those periods in which kids may not play a sport. Those are critical times when there could be some negativity that could affect their whole future.

What are your prospects for scholarships this year?

It may not be 19. I think it will be about 15. I think that's attainable, and this is the first year where we've had the amount of kids that have scholarship offers before the season. We've got about six kids who already have offers, and four already know they're going to Maryland.

Is the system as dirty as people seem to think it is?

It's where you are and which region you live in. In the mid-Atlantic, I don't think it's extremely, but down in the South, I've heard stories. It's a business on that level, and it's a different style of coaching. Some stay by the book, but some will do whatever they have to do.

Who is your coaching idol?

I take a lot from a lot of people, but Ron English, who was the head coach at Eastern Michigan, was my position coach in college.

The eternal question: Which is more important, an offense or a defense?

I think defense sets the tone of your team. I think a hard-working, blue-collar team is a team I respect more than a flashy, scoring-type team.

- Alan Blinder