St. Petersburg has always taken an earthbound approach on offense, relying exclusively on the Wing-T to move the chains.
But the Green Devils may shuck their roots by going to the air more with rollouts and play-action passes.
The move is out of necessity. Running back Rashad Lewis, the St. Petersburg Times’ all-county offensive player of the year last season, is graduating. So is the majority of the offensive line.
The best returning skill player on offense is quarterback David Jones, a dual threat who in the past was relegated to handing the ball off in an offense that churned out rushing yards at a dizzying pace the past two seasons.
“We’re still going to do our stuff, which is run the football, Green Devils coach Joe Fabrizio said. “But we might try to throw more. We have to with David back and having a younger group.”
The Green Devils will have to wait until Monday for Jones to get back on the field. He is competing in the Class 4A state track meet Saturday.
Playing the waiting game
Pinellas Park is missing its best player this week. WR/LB Jeremi Powell, a Florida recruit, is still practicing with the track team and will be competing in the 4A state meet. The Patriots also are without Tyree Graves, Ryan Reinoso and Joshua Dallas, who play for the baseball team that advanced to Friday’s region semifinals.
“Sure we’d like to have all our guys, but it’s a good problem to have,” football coach Kenny Crawford said. “They’re out there representing the school.”
Graves, a sophomore who is competing for the starting quarterback job, had the winning ninth-inning hit Tuesday as the Patriots beat Tarpon Springs.
And sometimes the players still pop by for a little pigskin, too.
“I have to chase them off,” Crawford said. “I’m like, ‘Guys, you are in the postseason, get outta here.’ ”
Former Buc and current USC defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin stopped by Lakewood this week to check on defensive end Dante Fowler (whom the Trojans have already offered) and defensive back Javaris Little, and also couldn’t help but notice quarterback Tracy Johnson.
Johnson, a 6-2, 175-pound sophomore, is the likely starter for Lakewood next season.
“He’s one of the first guys Monte Kiffin wanted to know about,” said coach Cory Moore, who is running the offense this year after last year’s coordinator, Antez Brinson, left to head up Boca Ciega,
Over at Palm Harbor University, Duke, Central Florida and Charleston Southern stopped by to check on offensive standouts like running back Kenny Blanch, quarterback Billy Pavlock and wide receiver Hunter Beam, but no offers yet.
All on the line
Countryside’s biggest area of concern this spring will be the offensive line, where the Cougars lost both tackles. Rising senior Jeff Albert, who played guard last season, is the top returner and will take over at left tackle. Listed at 6-foot-5, 300 pounds last year, Albert is getting some college looks from USF, Tulane and Eastern Michigan. His emergence will be critical for a team that returns its talented backfield, including Miami QB commitment Gray Crow.
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 responses.
Thursday’s question: The pads go on today. Who’s the first person you plan to take down?
• I’m calling out and leveling the player I think is my biggest competition for a position because I’m trying to prove to the coaches I am the best at what I do. — Richard Devin Greene
Next up: Who’s the biggest, nastiest offensive lineman this spring, and why does he strike fear in opponents’ wee little hearts?
What’s your call? Go here, become a fan and give us your thoughts.
Compiled by staff writers Bob Putnam and John C. Cotey