Q&A with Keystone Heights coach Chuck Dickinson
Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 12:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 12:41 p.m.
1. What are your expectations for the season?
"My expectations are like they are every year. We expect to compete for the district title. We are usually only as good as our seniors, and their goal is to do better than the team before them. Last year we were 6-4 and came up a little bit short of the playoffs, and we hope to better that record and get back to the postseason in 2013."
2. Tell us about some players you expect big things from this year?
"Obviously the key is the offensive line. We also lost two starting linebackers on defense, John Brown and Chris Gillen. John was our leading tackler last season. Our starting quarterback Blake Valenzuela is back so we hope to be more proficient in the passing game. We obviously lost Alex Gonzales but we have some pretty good backs and our deep at the running back position. Our running backs, Darien Gilio, Michael Carroll as well as Sam Anderson and Josh Knight, a lot of those guys play on defense. We have to rotate guys in and out so they're not on the field all of the time, and obviously can't have injuries because of depth issues."
3. In what areas do you expect your team to improve most from last year?
"Offensive line, because we have some new guys coming in and it will take time to jell. Hopefully we learned from the spring and will learn from the fall classic against Ridgeview. It's a depth issue too with players going both ways. In the secondary we lost some players but should have good depth. At the defensive line and especially defensive end positions, we lost some key players, most notably Sean Foray."
4. With the loss of Alex Gonzales, will this still be primarily a running team or will you mix it up more with the pass?
"This past year we weren't very proficient in the passing game, about a 35 percent passing ratio. We need to be more efficient at the passing game. We have run primarily the wishbone but have run an I-formation the past four years. We were about an 85-15 run to pass ratio last year and we are primarily a running team. We really want to run the ball and keep the other team off the field while avoiding mistakes."
5. With South Sumter and Mount Dora both being moved up to 5A, how does this district look in comparison?
"When you lose South Sumter, that's a perennial playoff team.They are always good and have always been good. Losing them is a big help. Bradford and Interlachen are rivalry games, so that helps us get fired up. Umatilla we have beat the past few years, but they were within a touchdown late last year before we pulled away. The Villages we haven't played the last few years, but they are also a quality team. We have to hope we can make it to weeks 8, 9, and 10, or our district games, without any injuries. I expect Interlachen to be better this year because their JV was good last year. The Villages is very well coached as well. It's going to be a good district and we have a chance to do well in it if we play well. Anyone has a chance."