TAMPA — Around 5:08 p.m. Thursday, in short right-centerfield on Hillsborough’s baseball field, spring practice came to an end for the Terriers.
Let the games, or at least half of one Friday night, begin.
“It was excellent,” said coach Earl Garcia. “We had fun. We have a young team, players that want to be here, coaches that want to be here, and we enjoyed every day of it.”
Hillsborough will play Middleton in one half of jamboree football Friday.
The Tigers are coached by Alonzo Ashwood, who coached running backs last year at Hillsborough, part of a coaching staff overhaul that saw the Terriers also lose their offensive line and defensive backs coaches.
James Grant, who was the defensive coordinator at Middleton last year under former coach Jason Stokes, took over Ashwood’s old slot.
Longtime Hillsborough defensive coordinator Dean Eychner took over the defensive backs and John Seay, who played at Hillsborough, was promoted from junior varsity to take over the offensive line.
With a few minor adjustments and zero changes in philosophy, Garcia feels everything was covered this spring and “we’ll be going into camp in August with no questions about personnel.”
Especially on defense, where the best Terriers star.
Big lineman Earl Moore has 12 college offers and will be getting plenty more, and rising junior defensive end Jordan Sherit picked up his first offer from USF this week. The pair anchor what will be a strong line, and Sherit’s emergence means Moore should be free of some of the double teams that bottled him up at times last year.
“The defense, it’s a good unit,” said Moore. “We’re pretty aggressive.”
At linebacker, another rising junior, Nigel Harris, led the Terriers in tackles last year and has attracted an offer from Vanderbilt.
Speedster Jeremiah Green returns after a five-interception season and has looked good.
“All four of those guys did not disappoint us,” said Garcia.
Some questions remain, and Garcia will be watching closely for some answers Friday night.
The offensive line is hard-nosed but small. And while quarterback Jeremy Agrinzonis had a good spring, he has yet to prove he can win games consistently.
Last year, he threw four touchdowns against King in a must-win district game that put Hillsborough in the playoffs, but the three games that followed he threw six interceptions and no touchdowns.
This spring has been his chance to put the 2010 finish behind him.
“Jeremy needs to continue to improve at the rate he did this spring,” Garcia said. “He wasn’t happy at the end of last season, and I wasn’t happy. I told him if he didn’t improve, we would have to replace him.
“He has improved. He worked his butt off. I’m starting to feel much better about him on a daily basis.”
Wow stat of the day
Say what you will about Hillsborough falling from the upper tier of county football teams, but the only teams to beat the Terriers last year were Armwood, Jefferson and Plant. What do they all have in common? All played for a state championship.
Number of the day: 145-20
Record of the teams that have beaten Hillsborough the past three seasons.
Jamborees, 6:30 p.m. Friday
At Jefferson (Leto vs. Plant, Robinson vs. Jefferson)
At Chamberlain (Hillsborough vs. Middleton, Blake vs. Chamberlain)
At Strawberry Crest (Armwood vs. Plant City, Durant vs. Strawberry Crest)
At Gaither (Gaither vs. Sickles, Alonso vs. Steinbrenner)
At Spoto (Lennard vs. Riverview, East Bay vs. Spoto)
At Tampa Bay Tech (King vs. Wharton, Freedom vs. TBT)
At Bloomingdale (Jesuit vs. Newsome, Brandon vs. Bloomingdale)
Spring games (four quarters), 7:30 p.m. Friday unless noted
Tampa Catholic at Nature Coast
Calvary Christian vs. Seffner Christian (at Brandon High)
Gainesville Oak Hall vs. Cambridge Christian at Skyway Park
Berkeley Prep at Bradenton Bayshore
Carrollwood Day at Sarasota Cardinal Mooney, 7
What they’re saying
Every day, we pose a question to our readers on our Facebook page and print the best responses.
Wednesday’s question: Which football player has the best nickname?
• I think (Armwood’s) Eric Striker has a built-in nickname! LOL — William Alexander Lawson
• Devaun “DEBO” Stephens (Tampa Bay Tech) — Shaquille Andrew
• Brandon Teeling from Armwood … a.k.a. Drago (Russian boxer from the Rocky movie) — Marieux Mulero Driggers
Next up: What music is blaring in your iPod to get you pumped up for a game or practice?
What’s your call? Go here, become a fan and give us your thoughts.