Q&A with Don Zimmerman

Q and A with ...

February 25, 2005|By Baltimoresun.com Staff

Read our transcript with the UMBC men's lacrosse coach

Don Zimmerman is in his 12th season as head coach at UMBC. The Retrievers finished 6-8 last season.

Baltimoresun.com: What have you learned about your team in the preseason?

Don Zimmerman: We've had two scrimmages and I think we played well in one and didn't play as well in the other, so we were a little inconsistent. We've been hampered by the weather a little bit. They are re-doing the turf in our stadium and we've been practicing on grass and have been forced to play indoors. The guys have handled it pretty well.

The team's attitude is good. They are willing to work hard and we're looking forward to our opening game against Duke.

Jason, Severna Park: Coach, there are a significant amount of freshman/newcomers on the roster. In the past you have not hesitated using freshmen in major roles (Wojtech, etc.). How are the freshmen coming along?

Don Zimmerman: The freshmen are coming along very well. I've never been a coach that has shied away from playing younger guys. We try to put the best guys out on the field and if a freshman proves to be one of those guys then we're going to use him.

The upperclassmen, especially our seniors, have done a real good job of providing leadership for the younger group. Right now we're still battling it out in the goal and one of the candidates is Kevin Cepelak, who started for us last year. Luke Reilly has played defensive middie for us throughout his career and he's going to be key. Corey Warner (Herkimer CC transfer) is going to be handling face-offs this year and that's a key position. Joe Cahill, who is a senior middie, has played well in the preseason. Dave Donohue is our only senior defenseman and he's played well thus far.

Amit, Baltimore: Do you think that implementing a shot clock would help the sport?

Don Zimmerman: I'm not in favor of the shot clock. I don't think it would help. I've always been in favor of eliminating substitution on the fly. I'd like to go to a basketball-type substitution which I think would make midfielders return to the days when they were true two-way middies. I think we would get more transition and the game would be more exciting. I don't think the shot clock is the answer.

George, Bedford, N.Y.: Do you have any advice as to how far away from a defender an offensive player should make his first move?

Don Zimmerman: If you are guarding someone right in front of the crease, you're not going to give him a lot of room. If you are midfielder who's guarding a guy at 25 yards and the ball is behind the goal, then you're going to drop in and help out on the crease area. The general rule is if you are playing off-ball, that when the ball arrives at your opponent, you have already arrived before the ball and you are ready to play good defense. When you are playing the ball, it depends on where the ball is in relation to the goal.

And you also have to judge your athletic ability versus your opponent's. If you feel like you have an advantage athletically, you might want to apply more pressure.

Ron, Windsor, Ontario: What does a high school student-athlete need to do to get a college coach to notice him?

Don Zimmerman: Definitely take advantage of the camps over the summer and get exposure that way. While playing on your high school team, do well and try to make yourself an integral part of your team and that way you'll get the support of your coach. Eventually, college coaches would like to see films of you playing. Basically, you have to get out and play. If you play other sports - like football or soccer in the fall or basketball or wrestling in the winter - I think that will help you overall. It's going to make you a better athlete and more competitive.

David, Katy, Texas: What do you think of the lacrosse talent coming from the greater Houston area?

Don Zimmerman: We're fortunate to have been able to go down to Austin for the past two years and work a clinic at one of the schools and I have noticed an increase in the number of kids that are playing and the quality. I think the sport is growing by leaps and bounds and a state like Texas has a lot of kids playing sports and is athletically inclined. I think you're starting to see more good players come out of that area.

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