BRANDON — According to Brandon coach Dean Eychner, the Eagles are “quicker than we have ever been and stronger than we have ever been.”
Senior defensive lineman Nick Summitt epitomizes the results Brandon has had in the weight room.
“Nick has had a great year in the weight room. He is going to do some good things for us,” Eychner said.
Summitt has been playing since he was 4 years old, mostly on the offensive and defensive line. Summitt said he just loves the contact.
“I just like hitting people,” Summitt said.
Brandon will be using more 3-4 looks this season and that puts added emphasis on Summitt’s performance. Summitt has been liking the role he plays in a 3-4 defense.
“We run a lot more slants. It gives me more opportunities to confuse the offensive line,” Summitt said.
Summitt hopes to play college football nearby so his family can see him play.
If that doesn’t work out, he plans on attending either USF or UCF and major in business.
Until then, Summitt will be trying to keep his defensive linemen focused so Brandon can close out its close games this year.
“We have to take care of the simple mistakes. We can’t jump offside or take dumb penalties,” Summitt said.
Last season, Brandon focused on a run-heavy offense that sought to wear opponents down. This year, the Eagles are looking to air it out more.
“We have always sought balance. We are hoping to open it up more,” coach Dean Eychner said.
Isiah Alexander will be the Eagles’ quarterback, while Jordan Green will be one of his main targets at wide receiver. Brandon will still look to run the ball with Keith Cook as the featured running back.
Brandon’s defense enabled it to stay close in many games last season. Its most impressive performance was against Chamberlain in a 14-6 win. The good news is that most of that defense is back, including linebacker Derek Cromarite and safety Damon Spencer.
“We have a core of experience coming back. It should enable us to be competitive in every game,” Eychner said.
Brandon’s philosophy is rooted in its simplicity. Eychner, in his third season as the head coach, said many of the concepts the Eagles use are from his time as defensive coordinator at Hillsborough.
“We want to be sound and line up right. We want to be rooted in fundamentals,” Eychner said.
The Eagles were 3-7 (0-4 in district play) last year. Special teams might be the key for Brandon this season. Brandon lost to East Bay after giving up two punt returns for touchdowns and lost to Durant after missing a field goal as time expired. Moreover, the Eagles lost four games by seven points or less (Riverview, East Bay, Durant and Berkeley Prep).
“We have to learn to close opportunities,” Eychner said.
♦ About The Eagles
Stadium: E.F. McLane Stadium, 1101 Victoria St., Brandon
Class-District: 7A-8 (with Durant, East Bay, Plant City and Strawberry Crest)
Coach: Dean Eychner (4-16, third season)
Last season: 3-7
Aug. 29: Blake
Sept. 5: at Bloomingdale
Sept. 12: Riverview
Sept. 19: Strawberry Crest
Sept. 26: at Chamberlain
Oct. 2: at Middleton
Oct. 17: Durant
Oct. 24: at East Bay
Oct. 31: at Plant City
Nov. 7: Berkeley Prep