Around the county in 30 days
A daily spring preview of every football program in the county.
Coach: Mike Gottman (sixth season, 31-23)
Last season: 5-5 (1-2 in district)
District: Class 6A-6 (Riverview, Sarasota, Sarasota Riverview)
Key losses: LB Eric Councill, QB Jeremy Fussell, PK Evan Kelly, TE Royce Rose
Who's back: DT Austin Devall, OG Tom Frazier, LB Ruben Garcia, OT Cole Gilliam, RB Ryan Rice, SS Marshon Shoemake, RB Jetwan Smith
What's new: The offense. Like many teams around the state, Durant, which previously used the I-formation, is going to the spread. In the past, the Cougars were a run-it-down-your-throat team. But because the squad has a bit more athleticism at the skill positions than in recent seasons, Gottman decided the spread could better utilize that talent. If all goes as planned, the switch should create more space for Rice, one of the county's most underrated players, and Smith, who will split time between halfback and receiver. For the Cougars to transition smoothly into the new system, the line, which lost four of six starters (tight end included), will have to grow up in a hurry. At quarterback, Durant is likely to utilize both the arm of Daniel Coan and the legs of Steve Van Vaerenbergh, depending on the situation.
Audible: "Defensively, we'll be stronger. But offensively, I don't know if we'll be as strong. We've got a good nucleus. We just need to find a few more pieces to the puzzle." — Gottman
Did you know? Gottman played football and baseball at Division III William Penn (Iowa). As a defensive tackle, he started four years. In baseball, he played two years as a third baseman/designated hitter.
Spring game: 6:30 tonight vs. Armwood
Aug. 29 at Gaither
Sept. 5 vs.
Sept. 12 at
Sept. 19 at Newsome
Oct. 3 vs.
Oct. 10 at
Oct. 16 at
Oct. 24 at
Nov. 7 vs.
Nov. 14 vs. Bloomingdale
Keith Niebuhr, Times staff writer