MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
Two-minute drill with Dunedin quarterback Anthony Diviney, whose Falcons have a new coach in Max Smith and are looking to right a program that has just three total wins in the past three seasons:
What’s happened over here at Dunedin the past few seasons?
People not showing up for practice, lazy attitudes, not wanting to work hard.
Is that different now?
I think Coach Smith came in and boosted morale right away. I don’t think I’ve ever worked this hard since I’ve been here. It’s ridiculous. He just came in and picked us up and took us on our way.
Three coaches, three years. Is that hardest on the quarterback?
It’s hard on everybody, to be honest. Everybody has to learn the offense, not just me. The defense, the offensive line, everybody.
The numbers are way down. There’s 32 kids out (in practice). Is that discouraging?
I would rather have 32 that want to play than 104 that just want to come out and be part of the team. Everyone out here is working hard, and everyone wants to play and that’s what we want.
Your new district has teams like Jesuit, Lakewood, Middleton, Robinson and Spoto in it. What did you guys do to make the Florida High School Athletic Association so mad at you?
We’re actually enthusiastic about it. We don’t know any of the teams, there’s no history, no “they kicked our butts last year” stuff. So we’ll go and just watch film and practice and execute. No bad blood anywhere, so that’s probably helpful for us.
One player we don’t know now, but will by the fall.
Tramaine Batten (running back). He’s going to be a the one everyone knows. I like everything about him. He catches, he runs, he hits hard, he learns quickly. He’s everything you want in a football player.
Three can't-miss spring games
We asked readers this week what they thought the best spring game matchups were, but now we’ll tell you ours (all games set for May 27):
1. Countryside at St. Pete
Dear people who get a little too worked up over the results of spring games,
Last year St. Pete clobbered Countryside and went on to a 10-0 regular season.
Countryside, meanwhile, licked its wounds and ended up …oh, going 10-0, too, then a few more rounds in the playoffs.
Reporter who gets a little too worked up hyping spring games
P.S. Despite the losses to graduation that have stripped the Green Devils of their best players, this should still be a good game.
2. Lakeland at Lakewood
Gutsy call by coach Cory Moore to schedule this one, but if the Spartans even hang close or — gasp! — win, it could really launch Lakewood to a productive summer.
A loss, however, sends the cocky Spartans crashing back to Planet Pinellas.
3. Largo at Clearwater
If you’re going to go to a spring game, try to find one that is a natural rivalry for that extra added zest. This might as well be a regular-season game for these teams.
Added bonus: Listening to Tornado fans ask, “How did we let coach Rick Rodriguez get away again?”
Finding the right combo
East Lake lost linebacker Patrick Millen, the team’s leading returning tackler, to a torn ACL on the first day of practice, and is trying defensive end Andrew Freeman and rising junior Darien Woodard out as a potential replacements.
Both players are around 6-foot-3 and 190-200 pounds, and can run. Freeman posted a 40 time of 4.71 this spring at the National Underclassmen Combine.