TBO.com: Tampa Bay Online, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times - breaking news and weather.
Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014
Preps

Familiar name takes over the Mustangs


Published:

— There’s a new Schmitz at Mitchell High. Andy Schmitz takes over for his father, Scott, who retired from football after 33 seasons and starting two football programs, including Mitchell.

“The biggest thing my dad taught me was to surround yourself with good people and take care of those people,” Schmitz said. “Treat your coaches with respect and allow them to disagree with you, too. (Scott) never said, ‘I’m doing this.’ It was always: ‘We’re doing this.’ He always leaned on his staff, and I’m lucky enough to have most of the staff returning.’’

And while Andy Schmitz may not change the foundation his father built for Mitchell’s football program, there’s one thing he knows must change: Getting into the playoffs through a tough Class 6A-District 6.

“That’s the biggest issue around here,” Schmitz said. “The fact that we’ve been around 13-14 years and never won a district championship is, well, unacceptable to all of us. We hang out at 5-5 and 6-4 every year and it always feels like the program is right on the cusp and about to take the next step and then we don’t take it. That’s the big push here: not to be average. Not to be 5-5.”

Mitchell looks strong on defense, especially returning linebacker Larry Couch, who had 136 tackles last season. Lineman Omar Minier leads an experienced offensive line that should open holes for Ryan Marsh (32 carries, 207 yards, four TDs) and buy time for quarterback Alec Lambert to hook up with receiver J.J. Lewis.

“The transition has been easy and the kids are pretty happy it’s not someone totally new,” Schmitz said. “They seem to be pleased with it because it’s been pretty seamless, plus we know all these kids from JV and from middle school coming up. We will probably have a lot of youth, but we’re all looking forward to what’s to come.”

Correspondent Mike Camunas can be reached at mike.camunas@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @MikeCamunas.

Subscribe to The Tampa Tribune

Comments