Around the county in 30 days
A daily spring preview of every football program in Hillsborough County:
Coach: Tchecoy Blount (first season)
Last season: 7-3 (lost 17-7 to Countryside in Class 5A region quarterfinals)
District: Class 5A, District 7
Key losses: WR/DB Jacari Campbell, RB/LB Amonty Delisca, DL/LS Michael Gassaway, QB Tyler Guy, K Alex Landeta, OL/DL Jahari Moore, DB Eric Motes, WR/DB T.J. Mutcherson, DE Cory Turner
Who’s back: LB/RB Anthony Harrell, SS/OLB/RB Keith Lewis, WR/DB Robert Lohnes, LB/TE Alac Maughan, HB/DE/OLB Dustin Rauh, CB/RB/WR Tyrell Nunn, OL Kurt Schaller, OL/LB Josh Tanner
What’s new: Blount, a former USF linebacker hired to replace current Jesuit coach James Harrell, is logging 15- to 16-hour days in his first spring. When reached shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday, the married father of two still was in the coaches’ office. …Blount insists a missed block here or there last season separated what was Freedom’s best season from an even better one. As a result, he’s stressing the concept of blocking continually through the whistle. …Two transfers, rising senior Dominic Marino (Leto) and junior-to-be Jon Economou (Wiregrass Ranch), are vying for the quarterback job. The mobility and poise of Marino (5-11, 165 pounds) gave him the upper hand after Wednesday’s scrimmage, but Blount insists Economou (6-2, 220) has too strong of an arm to keep on the bench. …When the Patriots switch from the spread to an I-slot formation, look for Lewis to be the featured back with Harrell the fullback. Both have received Division I offers as linebacker/safety types and will anchor an athletic unit that will fluctuate between the 4-3 and 3-4. Throw Maughan in the mix, and Freedom might have the best set of linebackers in the county.
Audible: “Tackling. It all boils down to the fundamentals, being able to line up, block and tackle, because we’ve got guys that can go. They’ve already got motors.” — Blount, when asked to specify his biggest concern this spring
Did you know? Blount, an ESE teacher at Freedom, is the Patriots’ fifth coach since the start of the 2006 season. …The coaching staff isn’t short on high-level playing experience. Former USF linebacker Julian Johnson, a U.S. Army veteran and one of a handful of ex-Bulls hired by Blount, is defensive coordinator. Ian Smart, a former Canadian Football League player who spent four games on the Tampa Bay Bucs roster in 2004, is co-offensive coordinator with former FSU receiver E.G. Green. …Blount says he has had “a strong 55” kids at most practices this spring.
Spring game: One half vs. Tampa Bay Tech (at Wharton), May 21, 6:30 p.m.
Aug. 27 at Alonso (preseason)
Sept. 3 vs. Riverview
Sept. 10 vs. King
Sept. 16 at Sickles
Sept. 24 at Gaither
Oct. 8 vs. Tampa Bay Tech
Oct. 15 at Bloomingdale
Oct. 22 vs. Wharton
Oct. 29 at Leto
Nov. 5 at Brandon
Nov. 12 vs. Lennard