3 questions | Brandon Swift
As a backup quarterback last season, Brandon Swift watched in obscurity as East Lake High School set numerous school records en route to its first appearance in the Class 8A state football semifinals. Swift, a rising senior, parted company with the Eagles in January when he transferred to Palm Harbor University High. Now, Swift figures to have a more prominent quarterback role as the heir apparent to Tyler Kaminski, a first-team, all-county selection who is graduating. There is pressure considering the Hurricanes' past three quarterbacks — Kaminski (Concord), Billy Pavlock (Webber) and Sean Shelton (William Jewell) — went on to play in college and led the program to at least one winning season. Swift also is starting over with a new coach, Reggie Crume, who is taking over for Matt LePain, now the coach at Dunedin. Swift recently talked with the Tampa Bay Times about his new school and chance to lead a team for the first time.
How tough was it to be backup last season?
"It was hard. But Jake Hudson did a great job at quarterback at East Lake and the team had tremendous success. That situation taught me that you have a take advantage of every opportunity that's given to you. I learned a lot from the sidelines, and now I'm excited about leading this team to the same type of success we had at East Lake."
What is it like to take over for Tyler Kaminski?
"Tyler was a tremendous quarterback and those are some big shoes to fill. The team won a lot of games the past two seasons when he started, and he got them to the playoffs. That's what we're trying to do. There is some pressure, but we've worked in the offseason, and I'm confident we have everything in place to do some big things."
How was the transition going from East Lake to Palm Harbor?
"It was fairly easy. The players (at PHU) accepted me right from the start and we had a real connection. I was able to grasp the playbook quickly, too. We ran a pro style offense at East Lake and now we've gone more to the spread. I can't wait to get started. This is my one season to start, lead a team to the playoffs and show enough to hopefully continue playing in college."
Bob Putnam, Times staff writer