Spread it out and hurry up
The spread offense was nothing new. The Cougars had played against it in recent years ... four, five wide receivers, only the quarterback in the backfield. Hurry up, no huddle — the QB and WRs all looked to the sideline for signals from the coaches.
A fellow in the press box at Harrah remarked on the Ada offense, “I have never seen a team have so much trouble remembering the play.”
Mitchell chuckled when he recalled he and head coach Matt Weber being somewhat amused by the seemingly unorganized spreads they had seen. But after the 2011 season as they pondered the offense for 2012 — and quickly realized all signals pointed to the spread — the race was on.
“We spent all the off-season trying to figure out how best to use what we had. We knew we had a lot, but what to do with them. Once we decided, we spent countless hours researching it everywhere, talked to everyone. We knew that with the drop to 4A and the district alignment that if we could just get by Ardmore in that first game, we would have a real good shot at being undefeated,” he said.
And so it was, until the semifinals and the run-in with old rival Clinton, the eventual state champ.
Ada opens the 2013 season at Norris Field against arch-rival Ardmore. Yes, Mitchell & Son will be there.
“I know that if I ever go back to coaching, I will never be able to find a job like I had there in Ada. The kids were great, the coaches were great, the support was great ...," Mitchell said.
Mitchell, a 1994 Velma-Alma grad and ECU grad in ‘99, put in a year each as an assistant at Cache and Nowata before returning to his alma mater for a 2001-07 stand. Then to Ada for a year on Weber’s first staff. Then a shot at being the head man at Kingston.
The lure of becoming a head coach was furthered by his old high school mentor, legendary Glen Pool, setting the hook and reeling him in. Pool, who had retired in the Kingston area, would come out of retirement to serve on Mitchell’s staff.
“I think he is one of the best eve,r and the opportunity to work with him again was great,” Mitchell said.
The W-L ledger did not match up to expectations, however. After going winless at 0-10 in 2009, his team did make the playoffs the following year but wound up a lackluster 4-8.
The 2011 season back at Ada was not exactly the welcome home he had hoped for — 5-6 with the fourth straight elimination in the first round of the playoffs for the Weber reign. But, like the rest of the staff, Mitchell saw great things coming for the Cougars with the drop to Class 4A and the senior season of a special group.
From his view from the press box, 2012 and its 12 wins, 11 blowouts, watching was F-U-N.