Coaches Corner: Ron Wisniewski
Red Mountain football coach Ron Wisniewski enters his second go-round at the school. Despite a strong start and a victory at 5A Division II power Peoria Centennial last season, the Lions struggled against elite competition late in the season and fell to Mountain Pointe in the playoffs. Before a little vacation, Wisniewski talked about the season, speed and schedule.
Any early thoughts or impressions on what you’ve seen from spring ball?
We’re more athletic and faster, and much more inexperienced. We only return two from our front seven (on defense) and let’s call it 2-and-a-half veterans on the offensive line. We have to replace a lot with a new QB and every single skill position player is gone. I think we’re faster and more athletic than recent teams in the past, but again that experience factor will be just that.
Who will be your new QB with Aaron Eiseler and Clint Cogswell graduated?
It’s still kind of an open battle between (junior) Mason Thorman and JJ Biscoe who’s also a starting DB. It’s going to be a learning curve either way but those are the two who are going to take the snaps in camp.
How about the RB position and a defense where a lot of experience was lost?
Every kid coming back in the backfield played last year (Cody Simioni, Cougar Garcia) so we’re solid there. I think we’re very good up front: Bigger, been together longer, know what they’re doing. The D-line took a hit there and some young kids have to step up, as well as LB. The big question marks will be the front seven and youth getting up to speed.
What do you think of the new schedules?
We have two open games (Avondale Westview and Brophy) and did a 3-way deal with them going forward. Brophy and Westview are very good and hopefully we’re good. Every road game is a playoff team from last year and our home games have Desert Ridge and Brophy and that’s two of the best. Everyone talks about having no more Fiesta Region schedule, but the only difference is Hamilton isn’t on the schedule. It’s solid and no less competitive, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Any particular kids who’ve surprised you? Or is there a core group that’ll lead the youngens?
Marqus Brantley (transfer from Gilbert), Billy Freeman, guys like that. We’ve probably got 4 Div. I-college calibur guys and a couple others who have a chance. Viliami Koloamatangiat is also going to be a stud at offensive tackle.