As you may notice, we’ve shaken up our proverbial playbook this spring. Instead of the conventional team-by-team capsules (yawwwwn) we’ve typically published each May, we’re spreading things out, mixing up our coverages and, hopefully, providing a hot read each day. There’s no set formula here, but the objective remains clear: to be as comprehensive and creative as possible.
A kick in the right direction
Boca Ciega’s campus still is under construction, so the Pirates started spring football Monday by walking over to the former site of the Southeast Little League Region headquarters to conduct practice.
New coach Antez Brinson began his own reclamation project by concentrating on special teams, something that has vexed Boca Ciega for years.
Last season, the Pirates went 4-6 under Stevie Thomas and lost four games by a combined five points. Three of those losses came down to a missed extra point.
So Brinson decided one of his first priorities would be to shore up that unit. He started by asking the boys soccer players if anyone was interested in kicking. Omar Tovar is now Boca Ciega’s kicker; receiver Jaylaan Wimbush is the punter.
“You win games by winning the two of the three phases in offense, defense or special teams,” said Brinson, who was hired in January after spending the past seven seasons as an assistant at Lakewood. “I’m going to make sure we win on special teams. That’s why we are putting a big emphasis on it this spring.”
Monday’s practice started with the Pirates going over extra points on the football field. After walking over to the practice fields, Boca Ciega went through kickoff drills at full speed.
“They literally lost three games by a missed extra point,” Brinson said. “If they win those games, you’re probably talking to Stevie right now and not me. We’re going to put our best players on coverage units and put pressure on people through special teams.”
Quarterbacks on the move
Pinellas County is full of mobile quarterbacks. Some teams value their athleticism so much that they are going to move them around on offense to create the best possible matchups.
Admiral Farragut’s Rayshawn Jenkins and Palm Harbor University’s Billy Pavlock are two who could see time at other positions.
Jenkins, a versatile athlete who won his second straight state title in the 110 hurdles last week, will play some at receiver and running back, depending on the situation and personnel coach Chris Miller wants to use.
“We moved Rayshawn around a little bit last year,” Miller said. “We’ll continue to do that to try to exploit different matchups.”
How much Jenkins will be used at other skill positions will depend on the development of Dontae McGee at quarterback. McGee, an eighth-grader, was the Blue Jackets’ junior varsity quarterback last season and will get some snaps this spring.
Pavlock, who is coming back from a broken ankle, could see playing time at receiver if he is able to practice this spring. Tyler Kaminski, who took over when Pavlock was hurt last season, will likely handle the majority of the workload this spring. Coach Matt LePain said he wanted to move Pavlock around because he will likely be recruited as an athlete in college.
Big shoes to fill
East Lake’s Devin Abraham is following in his father’s footsteps. The rising sophomore is a defensive back just like his father, Donnie, who played in the NFL with the Buccaneers (1996-2001) and Jets (2002-04). Donnie Abraham was defensive backs coach with the Eagles before taking over as Gibbs coach in 2009-10. He is now coaching DBs with the Tampa Bay Storm. Devin moved up from JV and will start at safety for East Lake.
What they’re saying
Every day, we pose a question to our readers on our Facebook page, and they’re keen to offer their two cents … and we’re printing the best responses.
Tuesday’s question: Which player who did not see significant time last year (injury, reserve, JV, etc.) will surprise us most this spring and fall?
• Doug Foreman, as he has switched positions every year, but will be a ball-hawking safety for Dunedin and plays some wide receiver … with his 6-4, 190-pound frame that can fly down the field and catch the ball. — Dylan Parker McKeage
• Michael Johnson C-Side WR that is beginning to look like a man among boys at practice, who got caught between being pulled up as a sophomore last year and a passing game that struggled much of the year. … This year, I think the county will know MJ — Jim Chmelik
Next up: Last play of the game. Your team is on the 50, you trail 26-21. Which quarterback do you want taking the snap, and who is he handing off or throwing the long one to?
What’s your call? Go here, become a fan and give us your thoughts.