But Abraham could be just what the Tornadoes need.
For starters, Clearwater's problem last season was defense. The Tornadoes gave up more than 30 points per game, including more than 50 twice. In the spring, it only got worse against Largo. Defense is Abaraham's specialty. After starting 0-3 in 2009 at Gibbs, Abraham helped turn the defense around, allowing just 76 points in the last seven games as the Gladiators went on a roll to win the school's first district title. True, Gibbs did stumble to 3-7 in 2010 but the Gladiators were in a rebuilding year after losing several key starters, including Division I recruits Jarvis West (Iowa State) and Tim Jackson (North Carolina).
As far as Abaraham's commitment, he left because he took a job with the Tampa Bay Storm but it also was quite a haul from the Tarpon Springs area to Gibbs each day. At Clearwater, he will have a much shorter drive. …
I think Class 5A, District 8 is the best district in Tampa Bay -- and I don't think it's even close, quite frankly -- I'd also argue that it's the best in the state.
And judging by the numbers of college scholarship offers from interested suitors, so do the folks at the next level.
We published a report on the growing number of college offers in Tampa Bay in Sunday's paper. You can read it here.
Of the nine schools competing in 5A-8, six have players with offers, and three of those schools have multiple players with offers. In all, 20 players in the district have a combined 194 offers.
While Gibbs (linebacker Maurice Hall has an Oklahoma offer), Dunedin (running back Tramaine Batten has five offers) and Spoto (running back Eric Moate has five offers) all sport one player, Robinson has two (USF offensive line commitments Bruce Hector and Conner Rafferty) and Jesuit (7) and Lakewood (8) lead the way.
The Tigers, the defending district champions, has 120 total offers, thanks to the hefty totals of Miami tight end commitment Travis Johnson (43) and 2014 linebacker/tight end Vincent Jackson, who has 28. …
Rivals analyst Chris Nee raised an interesting point on Twitter last week, noting Winter Park QB (and USF commit) Asiantii Woulard was the only Florida passer at the Elite 11 finals. “Kind of indicative of Fla. QB talent,” he wrote.
If the Spoto Spartans can pursue winning as intensely as their coach has pursued losing this offseason, they could run the table in Class 5A, District 8.
Veteran coach Dale Caparaso enters preseason drills 90 pounds lighter -- down to around 190 -- than he was at the outset of 2012. Pictured is the "after" Caparaso, who helped arrange our photo shoot Wednesday with Spartans standouts (left to right) Traverrian Williams, Marc McCoy and Eric Moate.
The way he described it, Caparaso's weight-loss program demanded commitment with little complexity. He and wife Anne, also employed by the Hillsborough County school district, have subsisted primarily on vegetables and chicken in recent months (though they did splurge a bit on a recent cruise). They complement their diet with daily workouts on their elliptical machine, stationary bike and treadmill.
COTEY:Well, Matt, the good news: no hate mail yet. I know USF fans tend to be a little sensitive on the subject of this “war” with UCF, but I wouldn’t be too worried if I were the Bulls. Not yet, anyway. I’m with them on this: I think the UCF thing is a little overhyped at this point.
BAKER: So if you’re a Bulls fan/coach, you’re not worried? Even though UCF has gained its first two USF targets from Tampa Bay in a decade? And that the Knights are a finalist for one of the area’s top players? And that they have a new assistant - a well-regarded recruiter - who happens to have ties here? And that if the current rankings hold true, UCF’s class will be ranked higher than USF’s for the third time in the last four seasons? …
Contrary to the source-less proclamations dispersed throughout Twitter-verse earlier today, a kickoff time for Plant's highly anticipated season opener at Jesuit has not been set, administrators and coaches at Plant say.
But a Friday night kickoff apparently is off the table.
"I have just been told that it will not be Friday night," Panthers coach Robert Weiner told the Times in a text message on Tuesday. "No word yet on when it will be."
Plant principal Robert Nelson added a date has not been set and both schools are trying to work things out. Jesuit athletic director Terry Rupp wasn't immediately available Tuesday, but school spokesman Michael Hogan said he had no confirmation of a game date yet. Rupp recently told the Times the date of the game would hinge on when the school could secure an adequate police presence.
With the RNC set to end Thursday, Aug. 30, moving the game back a day appears out, which would leave Saturday. …
Now that the blog is back, it's time for the Blog Bowl to be back.
The Blog Bowl, you say? Oh, you newbies.
Back in 2007, before staff writer Matt Baker was even born, the first Blog Bowl featured Indian Rocks Christian against Northside Christian. The Golden Eagles won that one, and we awarded Jonny Sitton MVP honors and the Blog Bowl trophy -- a broken laptop decorated by artiste Joey Knight.
In 2008, Jimbo Chmelik and Dorrance Roberts led Countryside over Dunedin. They got limited edition Friday Night Rewind tee-shirts. You can watch that here:
Back then, the blog was generating some serious heat over these games. So we took that and ran with it, creating games around the interest. Since it was the most talked about game, we ran a boatload of blog items during the week, special interviews, video previews, guest posts and appearances and game breakdowns.
To cap it off, the game led off the award-winning Friday Night Rewind, and featured a MVP presentation afterwards.
Was it overkill? Yes. Yes it was. But the teams loved it, and it made for more great debate.
Unfortunately, the old blog was run aground by anonymous commentors, so we've regrouped. This is our new, shiny, cooler blog. …
We started our series of district previews today, and we start with Class 2A-5 right HERE.
While Bob Putnam and Joey Knight, the authors of the preview, are picking Admiral Farragut first and CDS second, I mentioned on Twitter (where I can be found at @JohnnyHomeTeam) that CDS coach Lane McLaughlin has almost convinced me that the Patriots, and not the Blue Jackets, will be winning that district.
They looked good this weekend in 7-on-7, with new QB Vidal Woodruff hooking up with RB Robert Davis and WR Andy Embody, but McLaughlin said he has some hogs to play on the offensive line this year for a change. He's pumped up.
Cortavious Givens, AFA's top player if his knee gets back to 100 percent, and former CDS QB Billy Embody (his brother Andy is on this year's squad) engaged in a little back-and-forth on Twitter on the correct order for 2A-5.
Givens best point was this: I didn't play in last year's game. …
John Kaleo is capping months of camps, combines and 7-on-7s with a summer showcase, bringing together most of the area's top football players for a NFL-style combine and skills challenge.
The Kaleo QB Academy will hold its second annual invite only event July 27th at Skyway Park. Former Bucs Todd Yoder (tight end), Reidel Anthony (wide receiver), Yo Murphy (wide receiver) and Casey Weldon (quarterback) will serve as guest coaches, along with Kaleo and local quarterback guru Chip Bennett.
East Lake WR Artavis Scott was No. 5 on the recruiting site’s list. The 2014 prospect “is quick off the line of scrimmage, easily able to beat press coverage and gets into routes with quickness,” 247 writes.
Teammate Mason Cole, a 275-pound offensive tackle, was No. 9 on the list because if his quick feet and good technique.
Just for fun, what do you think Clearwater should do as it seeks out a "coach-in-waiting" to take over for Tom Bostic after the 2012 season?
I'm writing a column on this today, but the coach-in-waiting idea seems a little short-sighted. This is a good job, right? A big job, right? This could be, in time with some serious elbow grease and dedication to restoration, a really reeeeally good job.
So why give youself a few weeks to hire someone for what is, truly, the biggest athletic hire at the school in some time...maybe ever.
Times have changed. Football programs can change the whole culture of an athletic program, if you do it right.
So what should Clearwater do?
a. Hire from within. Appoint one of the current assistant coaches as the coach-in-waiting, for familiarity's sake.
b. Grab the best candidate available, lure him away from whereever he's coaching, and get him in there to monitor and assist during the 2012 season.
c. Get rid of Bostic today, and turn the job over to one of the assistants, and see what they can do. That way, at the end of the year, you're not locked into him. Or, you could be. …