Brandon "Big Cat" Mitchell Stepping Up

For Brandon "Big Cat" Mitchell the road to Cincinnati was a personal one. Now with a new coaching staff in place, Mitchell seems to be on the verge of breaking through and taking his game to another level. Why is being successful so important to Mitchell? We caught up with the Bearcats defensive lineman about camp and his dream of becoming a starter.

Whenever there is a change in a coaching staff you're sure to find players who take steps back and steps forward. For Brandon Mitchell, it looks like the later has definitely happened as the red-shirt sophomore defensive tackle is pushing for major playing time and possibly even a role as a starter.

What has been the big difference for the 6-foot-2, 308-pound Mitchell?

"The new coaching staff is great and better than what we had before," stressed Mitchell. "Coach (Tommy) Tuberville is a great guy and defensive line coach (Fred) Tate is great and teaching me a lot of things and to be more aggressive on the inside. This camp has been going good for me."

With camp winding down, Mitchell looks to be finishing strong.

"Camp is going good so far and we're really out here trying to fight the weather more than anything," he said. "Every day has been a little bit easier working on technique, working on stamina and working on plays to be Purdue."

Gaining the praise of his head coach following Saturday's scrimmage, Mitchell knows there is work still needed before he reaches where he wants to be as a starter for his hometown team. However, if that would happen in week one, Mitchell knows those who supported him through his journey would be there to witness it.

"I felt I did pretty good but you can always do better," stressed Mitchell. "My technique was good but my footwork could have been a little better. Overall I thought I did pretty good in the scrimmage and still have a little bit of time left in camp to get it together.

"It would mean a lot (to be a starter) as I'm from Cincinnati. So to come out the opening game and be a starter finally would mean a lot to me, my family and those who have supported me all along. So it would mean a lot and show that my hard work is paying off."

During the course of his high school career, Mitchell and others who played at inner city schools always felt they were fighting an uphill battle to earn recognition. He now feels he's one of several changing the perception of the talent level located in inner city programs.

"People look down because we are from inner city schools," expressed the Withrow product. "They have a certain mindset towards our athletes, but we have great athletes and good student athletes.

"I feel I'm a prime example of the talent out of the city schools along with guys like Adolphus Washington out of Taft High School who is up at Ohio State. People should really change their mindset about inner city schools and give us a chance as you never know what you will find."

While each local Bearcat decided to stay home for different reasons, Mitchell's decision was more personal.

"It feels great to give back to my city in some way, shape or form," said Mitchell. "It reminds me as to why I decided to go to UC that way I could stay local and show that Ohio has a lot of talent, Withrow has a lot of talent, and inner city schools have a lot of talent. No matter where you are from or where you are going, as long as you put in good work you can be anything."

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