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BROOKSVILLE - Last season Central coach Mike Einspahr spent all spring and most of the fall trying to develop then-quarterback Cole Teater and install his offense with a group of young players.
Then Teater went down with a back injury that sidelined him much of the season.
The list of signal callers for the Bears was long and inexperienced.
“Last year, with the cluster of things that went on, it was tough to install anything,” Einspahr said. “We needed to take some pressure off of our young kids.”
Determined to not let that happen again, Einspahr is training two players to man the spot while also changing his offense. Going to more of a no-huddle look, Central has imitated the University of Oregon with signals on a sideline poster board used to relay the incoming play.
A series of numbers and shapes will help players see the play, and each offensive player will have a wristband to double check before the snap.
The players being counted on to run this new-look offense are rising senior Jamarcus Hayes and rising sophomore Cody Brooks. Both are athletic players who will see the field a great deal under center or elsewhere.
Hayes, who has never played prep football but was a member of the basketball team this past season, is still getting a grip on the mechanics.
Brooks started last season as the third-string junior varsity quarterback and played tight end. After a string of injuries resulted in call-ups to the varsity, he became the JV starter, gaining valuable experience. .
“Cody gained 15 pounds in the offseason,” Einspahr said, “and he really did well during in our 7-on-7 games (against other Hernando County programs) last month.”
Little brother syndrome
The last names will be familiar, but the first names won’t. A handful of last season’s stars have younger brothers who could make names for themselves this year:
Jordan Roberts, Zephyrhills: His brother, Jamal, is headed to Kent State. Jordan has the blazing speed (10.87 seconds in the 400) and great athleticism (district champion high jumper at 6-4) to make an immediate impact for the Bulldogs.
Justin Betancourt, Bishop McLaughlin: The older Jordan was the Hurricanes’ top player with 16 of his team’s 38 touchdowns. Justin had 40 tackles and more than 100 rushing yards during his junior season.
Ty Tanner, Wesley Chapel: Older brother Keegan was one of his team’s best all-around athletes (five TD passes and 322 rushing yards). Ty stepped in at quarterback (nine TD passes) and should be a key figure as a sophomore.
Trinidad, Mitchell: His brother, Ricky, was a freshman at Nebraska-Kearney last year. Christian had a solid sophomore season with four TD rushes. He could be a bigger part of the Mustangs’ offense this year.
Keep the hits coming
Count River Ridge among the programs happy to begin workouts with full pads and hitting Friday. After months in the weight room, the
Royal Knights were excited to see how their extra muscle translates on the field.
“We’re getting it out of their system a little bit,” coach Ryan Benjamin said.
Benjamin was impressed with his team’s offseason dedication. Quarterback Josh Maisel bulked up since November and has improved his arm strength. At least one player added 100 pounds to his bench press.
But the Royal Knights planned only an hour of hitting during practice. After all, it’s prom weekend.
“They’re going to go to prom with some bumps and bruises,” Benjamin said.
Pasco DL Joey Ivie picked up an offer from one of the state’s power programs when FSU offered him Friday, Pirates coach Tom McHugh said. UF attended Pasco’s practice Friday. USF had an assistant at Springstead to check out OT Will Allen on the first day of full-pads practice.
Number of the day
44 Combined touchdowns by Pasco stars Emmanuel and Grant last fall. No returning duo in the North Suncoast had as many scores.
Compiled by staff writer Matt Baker and correspondent Derek J. LaRiviere.