Q&A with Union County coach Ronny Pruitt
Published: Friday, August 23, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 2:41 p.m.
1. What are your expectations for the season?
“Our goal is to make the playoffs. I am expecting a lot of young guys to step up and fill the shoes of 23 seniors we lost last year. There are going to be a lot of holes to fill. We've got a good core group of guys and some very talented young guys coming up. We are going to expect them to fill some of those shoes.”
2. Tell us about some players you expect big things from this year.
“We have a new quarterback in Caleb Cox. We are expecting him to run the offense. We got some younger guys, Isaiah Johnson, Darrian Robinson. On the defensive side, we got Jo Jo Merricks, Josh Smith who are going to be down on the defensive line, two incoming sophomores. Some of these guys have already seen varsity play. It is not going to be all new to them. Asking them to step up and play a main role is going to be a big jump in comparison to last year.”
3. In what areas do you expect your team to improve most from last year?
“We are doing some things different. It is hard to say to improve on. What I want to keep is our defense, don't want to lose that defensive attitude that we have had. We are going to try to improve on our passing game, and doing some things different in trying to get the ball outside.”
4. How frustrating have the last two seasons (loss in the state semifinals on the road in 2011 and loss in the regional finals at home in 2012) been for you and your staff?
“It has been frustrating for me just for the kids part of it. Looking back at what we had, we had a lot of talent. We squeezed a lot of blood out of them. We had a pretty tough schedule the last two years, and when you don't have high numbers you have a lot of kids playing both ways. It is kind of a chess match. Is it disappointing? Yes. Having an undefeated regular season is great, but the ultimate goal is to get to that 14th game. The last two years we have been banged up and injured in week 12. This year we are going to work on that, try to keep the injuries to a minimum the best that we can. Obviously that is out of our control. In the summer, we tried for better conditioning so we would be in good shape.”
5. How do you see the District 7-1A race this year stacking up, and will the winner be playing in Orlando for a state title?
“Williston has joined in, Dixie County is really talented this year. I don't think anyone can argue we are in the toughest district in the state for our classification. What makes it that much more exciting is that we are all in each other's backyard. A lot of times you have districts that are spread across the state. You look at Dixie County, Chiefland, Williston, Newberry, anyone of those can step up. It is going to be interesting. We are all kind of in the same boat, numbers are relatively low. I like our odds. We just have to go out and work hard and not make mistakes. That's the main thing at this level.”
- Larry Savage