TAMPA — They are a paradox in powder-blue helmets on this arid afternoon. For a team that lost nearly all of its prominent offensive skill players from a year ago, the King Lions still have some swagger to them.
Gone are the Ohio University-bound pass-catch tandem of QB Greg Windham and Chris Murray, No. 2 receiver Taylor Smith-Gonzales, even the top three rushers from 2011. But the Lions, 4-6 a year ago, talk like a team set to reload instead of regress.
“We’ve got some nice, fast receivers,” said 6-foot-4, 170-pound rising senior Alex Frederick, the heir to Windham after serving as his understudy the past two autumns. “We’ve still got the No. 1 tight end, I think, in the nation. We’ve got some good backs and we’re ready.”
Frederick, the son of former FSU and Tampa Bay Storm WR Leroy Frederick, will operate behind a line that returns everyone including 6-2, 215-pound TE Kim “Touchdown” Jackson (23 catches, 397 yards, seven TDs).
“He knows the offense, he’s very comfortable with the offense,” said fifth-year Lions coach Alvin Davis, who will modify his spread look to accommodate more of a running game. “He has run the (scout) team, taken contact.”
Yet the pedigree and veteran front can’t negate the fact that Frederick has thrown all of 10 varsity passes. Further, the new set of backs — namely speedsters Paul Harper and Devonte Bing, and 195-pound fullback Austin Long — totaled 30 rushing yards last season.
If nothing else, Frederick initially should have ample opportunity to practice the first lesson Windham taught him: Stay composed.
“(The offense) can be as good as I take ’em,” Frederick said. “As long as I don’t make any mistakes, stay composed, I feel we can go deep into the playoffs this year.”
Proving his worth
No one player meant more to his team on both sides of the ball last season than Newsome’s Will Worth. As the Wolves’ quarterback, he passed for 925 yards and ran for 1,020 more. As a starting linebacker, he led Newsome with 74 total tackles.
Worth, who was listed at 6-foot-4, 195 pounds last season, has caught the eye of coaches from Navy (which signed Durant option QB Nick Fabrizio in February) and N.C. State in particular. As far as positions go, though, he’s not too picky.
“I’d like to play quarterback in college, and I think I can,” Worth said. “We don’t pass too much here, but I believe I could. But I’d play anything, whatever can get me on the field.”
CDS, Jesuit seek foes
Jesuit coach James Harrell said Monday he’s still seeking a spring game opponent for May 25. If one can’t be found, the Tigers will compete in an intrasquad game that night.
Jesuit was set to play in a May 24 jamboree at Brandon, but the event conflicts with the Tigers’ final exam schedule. Any team interested in facing Jesuit should contact athletic director Terry Rupp at (813) 877-5344.
Meantime, Carrollwood Day coach Lane McLaughlin said he’s still seeking an opponent for the preseason kickoff classic. He said he would prefer a foe in Class 3A or lower (the Patriots are 2A), but seems willing to negotiate. Prospective foes can reach McLaughlin at (813) 784-8487.
Compiled by staff writers Joey Knight and Laura Keeley.