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ST. PETERSBURG — On Monday, St. Petersburg Catholic running backs squared off against defenders in a tackling drill while a former Tampa Bay Buccaneer known for shedding tacklers stood a few yards away.
Mike Alstott, a bruising fullback who was a six-time Pro Bowl selection, has joined the Barons’ coaching staff as a volunteer. He was invited by new coach Steve Dudley to help with the program.
“I’m more than pleased to be out here,” Alstott said. “I’ll help out wherever I’m needed. I’m just trying to help out with the fundamentals.”
Alstott played for the Buccaneers from 1996-2007, finishing his career with 5,088 yards and 71 touchdowns.
Last year, he started coaching in the youth league at Seminole, where he said he’ll coach again while with the Barons.
At St. Petersburg Catholic, Alstott will help coach Ryan Green, a rising junior who will be one of the area’s top running backs this season.
“The guys are starting to understand how to play as a team,” Alstott said. “It’s a nice core group and hopefully there is a long-lasting tradition here.”
The century club
Two county coaches, Osceola’s George Palmer and Largo’s Rick Rodriguez, can reach 100 career wins this fall.
Palmer, entering his 22nd season, has 99 wins. The Warriors went 1-9 last season with their lone win coming via forfeit against Blake.
Rodriguez is going into his 13th season with 96 wins. The Packers were 7-4 last season and won a district title for the sixth straight season.
If both men reach that mark, they’ll join three other current county coaches in the 100-win club: Shorecrest’s Phil Hayford (189), Clearwater’s Tom Bostic (164) and Seminole’s Sam Roper (114).
QB transfers to Lakewood
St. Petersburg Catholic quarterback Jaquel Cooper has transferred to Lakewood. Last season, Cooper took over under center for the Barons but an injury forced him to miss the last few games.
The rising senior will have a hard time unseating Tracy Johnson as the Spartans’ starting quarterback. Lakewood coach Cory Moore said Cooper likely will be used as a slot receiver this spring.
Cooper is the third player from St. Petersburg Catholic to transfer to Lakewood in the past two seasons, joining Dante Fowler and Evan Holmes, who both came over last season. Holmes is graduating and Fowler will be a senior.
Countryside defensive end Mike Love officially started his recruiting process with an offer from Alabama-Birmingham on Monday.
Love, a rising junior, had a breakthrough season in 2010 with a team-leading eight sacks to go along with 23 tackles.
What they’re saying
Every day, we pose a question to our readers on our Facebook page. They’re keen to offer their two cents … and we’re printing the best response.
Friday’s question: Who’s the biggest, nastiest offensive lineman this spring, and why does he strike fear in opponents’ wee little hearts?
• We have Harley “Rambo” Marangos at Dunedin High School! He’s one of the best linemen Dunedin has ever had! He goes RAMBO on the field! — Michael Singer
Next up: A lot of talented football players are graduating this month. Who’s the toughest to replace and who will pick up the slack?
What’s your call? Go here, become a fan and give us your thoughts.