New coach brings fresh outlook to Rams football

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Thu., Aug. 23, 2012
The Rockville Rams take part in agility drills during the first practice on Aug. 20. Photos by Steve Smith.
The Rockville Rams take part in agility drills during the first practice on Aug. 20. Photos by Steve Smith.

As training camp opened for the Rockville High School Rams football team on Aug. 20, many new players came out for the team. Also new is the head coach. Rob Schotlz, a 2004 graduate of RHS, is taking the helm after being an assistant to coach Pat Cox, who was offered the full-time athletic director position at Tolland High School.

While only 26, Scholtz wants to bring an “old-school” feel to Rockville football, while keeping the style of coaching the same as that of Cox and Dunn. He's doing so with a staff of coaches mostly around his age, but with the same sense of bringing the “glory days” back.

“We're adding a few wrinkles here and there. Everything else is just that,” he said. “It's all Rockville guys who want to see things get better. You have to have pride in what you're doing. We're trying to bring that back, slowly but surely.”

The enthusiasm of the players, in the early practice season, has been the best in years, the coach said. “The kids relate to us, being so young,” Scholtz said. “But, they know that this isn't about being friends. They know that they need to learn what we know and that they and we have jobs to do.”

While Scholtz said he is not afraid to be a disciplinarian, he hopes the players will see that he expects them to be good people first, and the wins will come. “Be a good guy first, then play football, then win games, then go have fun,” he said. “You guys want to win, you've got to be good people first.”

With that spirit energizing the team and a lot of effort put into spring practices and summer workout sessions, Scholtz said he is optimistic about the chance to improve markedly over last year's one-win record. “With the athleticism that we have here, there's no reason we can't compete to win football games every week,” he said. “I don't see why we can't go over .500, whether that's five, six or seven wins. Then it's just a matter of getting the breaks. If the ball bounces our way a couple of times, it could be a real special year.”

Among the team's leaders are seniors Devon Charles, Geoff Barry and Shai Paulding, and juniors A.J. Spencer and Tom Bartol, who will be the team's starting quarterback.

“He's aggressive, smart and more conservative on the pass,” assistant coach Steve Shortman said of Bartol.

“He's more of a feet guy,” Scholtz said.

Scholtz said the team will keep the double-wing offense it has used for years, but will open it up more to better utilize the speed and athleticism of the players. “We're not going to be afraid to go outside the box and utilize our strengths and what we have out in the open field,” he said.

The only thing that can hold the Rams back, Scholtz said, will be to not let go of the past, but if they keep focused on the play or game at hand, rather than a lost fumble or game, then all will be well.

“How are they going to be reacting to the disappointment of that one thing,” he said. “Put your head up, keep it up, and go stop them the next time, or go back and score on them, or whatever it may be.”

The hope is, that the team will be successful, and that will spread to other sports and the entire school spirit. “We want to bring back 'The Rock,'” Scholtz said.

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