Around the county in 30 days
A daily spring preview of every football program on the North Suncoast.
Coach: Mike DePue (fifth season, 29-24)
Last season: 1-9 (1-3 in district)
District: 3A-11 (Jesuit, Palmetto, Sarasota Booker, Spoto)
Key losses: QB Justin Le, C Josue Bonilla, DB Andrew Hall, LB Ellis St. John, WR/DB Imani Wade, WR Herb Hogan.
Who's back: OL Andrew Meddaugh, DL Quinton Preston, LB Josh Key, QB A.J. Phillips, QB/WR Ruben Gonzalez, LB/FB Robert Smith, OL Mike Newman
What's new: As is usually the case at Robinson, there's a lot of talent. DePue just needs to transform that talent into victories. He returns eight starters, some of whom play on both sides of the ball. He will depend heavily on some young players and hope they can grow into their roles. Phillips, who had just five pass attempts last season, takes over the reins of the offense. And Robinson will run more of a spread option offense this season to take advantage of its athleticism. DePue is high on Gonzalez, a rising sophomore, who will play more of his downs at wideout. Another rising sophomore whom DePue believes will be an impact player is Smith, especially at linebacker. Linebacker speed will be important because Robinson is toying with the idea of converting its traditional four-man front to a three-man front to create a ball-hawking defense that "plays with a nasty attitude." That transition will be important in improving a team that nearly allowed three times as many points as it scored last season (321 to 108).
Audible: "We're going with character more than anything else right now. We're changing our attitude here at Robinson High School. We've lost the kids who were all about me. We're young, so we're going to have to grow up really quick. We can't be little kids anymore. But I think there's a rainbow at Robinson, and if we stay together, we've going to get to the pot of gold at the end of it." DePue
Did you know?: The Robinson weight room received a major facelift, mostly thanks to $17,000 a parent won through the Campbell Labels for Education program.
Spring result: Robinson lost 27-7 to Jefferson
Sept. 5 at Alonso
Sept. 12 vs. Jefferson
Sept. 19 at Leto
Sept. 26 at Jesuit
Oct. 3 vs. Newsome
Oct. 10 vs. Palmetto
Oct. 16 at King
Oct. 31 at Sarasota Booker
Nov. 7 vs. Spoto
Nov. 14 vs. Plant
Eduardo A. Encina, Times staff writer