10 Questions with new head football coach Nate Mendoza
May 25, 2012
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Kristen Gowdy and Emma Redick | Sports Editors | May 25, 2012
Q: What drew you to taking the position of head football coach after you took a year off last year?
A: Because I coach baseball, my decision probably surprised a lot of people, but I really miss it, I love football. It is the opportunity of a lifetime that doesn’t come up every day. I thought I’d take advantage of the opportunity and just go for it.
Q: What strengths do you feel that you’ll bring to the program?
A:I feel like I bring a strong work ethic. I’ll teach the kids how to be disciplined because you need that to be successful in athletics.
Q: You’ve graduated a lot of seniors this year from the team, including your star running back Josh Bartley and wide receiver Jake Roberts. Because of this, do you think you will change your offensive strategy at all to more of a passing offense?
A: It’s tough to say. Right now I’m just trying to assess them. I’ve only been out there for three days, and wasn’t a part of the team last year, so right now I’m a little green in that area of knowing what the kids can do. My assessments are going to be what determines what style of play we use this year.
Q: What are your plans for the program over the summer?
A: We’re starting the first Monday after graduation and we’re going to be here every day 8:30 to 12. We’re going to lift a lot and we’re going to practice hard. We’re really going to try to change things around here.
Q: While playing at Lompoc High School, you won a CIF championship. How do you think those experiences playing will affect your coaching here?
A: I think that it will help me a lot. I want to win, and I want to build a winning program on a consistent basis here. It’s going to be a tough task, but I’m going to try my best just like I do with baseball, and try to have a winning program every year.
Q: The DP and Lompoc football teams play each other every year, but do you think that not being from around here will put you at a disadvantage?
A: It could be more of a challenge, but I’ve lived here for four years now, and I just think that I’ll benefit from knowing a lot of people in the DP community. It’s going to be tough though because I’m not from here and I didn’t go to school here.
Q: What are your goals for next season?
A: My number one goal is to establish a working, disciplined team, and just to get the most of of my players on a daily basis. Whatever happens from there happens, but if we are competing in practice every day, that’s all I can ask from them. I’m not going to say we’re going to win every game, I just expect the team to compete as hard as they can in every game and we’ll see what happens.
Q: What do you look for in your players?
A: I look for good integrity, what they’re doing when I’m not watching. If you only work hard when the coach is watching, that’s not what I want. Good integrity, good workers, people who are respectful and people who are willing to put in the time to be great. You have to put in a lot of time to be a good program, and that’s what we are trying to instill in the players.
Q: Coach Uyesaka established an amazing program here, how do you hope to continue with that and do you hope to make any changes?
A: I just feel grateful that Jeff [Uyesaka] has done what he’s done these past few years with this program. He’s left it in a good condition for me, and I know I have big shoes to fill, and I just hope to carry on what he’s started.
Q: Do you plan on staying with the baseball team?
A: I’ll cross that bridge in the fall when Ms. Carey returns. As of right now though, I’m going to move forward as the baseball coach. It’s going to be a very busy year for me, but I owe it to the baseball players who are going to be seniors next year to give them everything I got. I’m not going to give up that job until I’m told to. I’m going to play it by ear and expect to be the baseball coach next year. As far as balancing my time goes, I have really good assistant coaches in the baseball program, who have offered to step up and fill my shoes in the offseason when I’m coaching football, and I hope I can be back in December by the time for tryouts and finish out the rest of the year with baseball. Just having good assistants will hopefully allow me to coach both.