Medina High School athletic logo / Photo courtesy Medina athletic director Jeff Harrison
Most high school football coaches begin training camp by discussing the dedication necessary from each member of the team for the squad to accomplish its goals.
Before asking his players to check their egos at the door, first-year Medina High School head football coach Dan Sutherland opened fall camp for the Bees on July 30 by declaring his own long-term commitment to the program.
Sutherland is the team's fourth head coach in as many seasons and he wanted to make sure all in attendance knew the program's period of instability had come to an abrupt close with his appointment as head coach.
"I'm not going anywhere," Sutherland said of his message to the Bees during their first team meeting. "I'm a graduate of Medina High School and have been on the staff for the last nine years."
Sutherland and his staff are eager to turn one of the area's most unstable programs into a model of consistency.
"We're excited to start to add some consistency to this program," Sutherland said. "We've implemented our systems into the youth, middle school and freshmen levels. We want to build this program from the ground up and establish a common, connected program."
The new coaching staff has installed a multiple-I formation offense and a 4-3 defensive scheme.
"I told the team that we will be a physical, mentally tough football team that won't beat itself," Sutherland said. "We will be disciplined and everything we do [will be] based on being a tough, disciplined football team."
Medina returns 14 letterwinners from the 2011 squad that posted a 4-6 overall record and a 2-3 mark in Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division play.
The Bees open the 2012 season on the road Friday night at Garfield Heights.
Sutherland recently answered questions about this year's squad and its upcoming season for WKYC's usatodayhss.com Web site.
WKYC's usatodayhss.com: What is the biggest question/uncertainty you have about your team that you hope to have answered by the start of conference play?
Medina football coach Dan Sutherland: How fast this team can gel together with a new coaching staff, offense and defense. The players have accepted every challenge we've laid in front of them.
WKYC: What are your goals for your team this season?
Sutherland: Become a disciplined, smash-mouth football team that competes every snap. We want to control the ball on offense and play fast and physical on defense.
WKYC: What must happen for your team to accomplish those goals?
Sutherland: We, as a staff, must teach these kids how to compete with an edge and a toughness. Push them to the brink of their physical and mental capabilities and then show them that they can break through that brink.
WKYC: Who are your team's projected leaders this season?
Sutherland: Outside linebacker/running back Emerson Buckland, offensive lineman/defensive lineman Mitch Doraty, wide receiver/defensive back Danny Eller, quarterback/defensive back Dillon Weisler and offensive/defensive lineman Jake Glomb.
WKYC: Which newcomer(s) on your team has the greatest chance of becoming a household name by the end of the season? Why?
Sutherland: Offensive lineman/defensive lineman Mike Hierholzer. He started the first three games as a sophomore before hurting his knee. He is a 6-foot-3 junior who can run and is strong. He has the potential to be a two-way player and a possible Division I [college] athlete.
WKYC: What do you expect to be your team's greatest strength this season?
Sutherland: We believe that we have a strong offensive line and defensive line and have the chance to be a strong running team [while] also stopping the run on defense.
WKYC: What is your team's biggest weakness right now?
Sutherland: We're playing catch up on offense and defense. Other programs are mastering their offense and defense; we're trying to learn ours with a new staff.
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