St. Petersburg tries to fill in the blanks



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Mon. August 8, 2011 | Bob Putnam | Email

St. Petersburg spent the spring trying to find replacements for a graduating class that included 28 players, mostly starters.

Three months later, it still is a work in progress.

The Green Devils started fall practice by continuing to tinker with a lineup that has just two returning starters on offense and four on defense.

"We have guys who are plenty strong enough and fast enough," St. Petersburg coach Joe Fabrizio said. "But they are not experienced enough yet. We need to get them out there to make plays on their feet."

Nick Andre has the tough task of replacing Tyler Sweetland at center. Sweetland was valuable at the line of scrimmage because he made all the calls. A committee of backs will be asked to make up the yardage Rashad Lewis racked up at running back. And every linebacker will be new.

One of the experiments the Green Devils are working on this fall is moving quarterback David Jones to receiver and safety to take advantage of his athleticism.

"We do not want to pigeonhole David in one spot," Fabrizio said. "He's a three-sport athlete who needs to get out there so he can make some plays."

Jones missed the spring game against Countryside with a strained hamstring. Keegan Oberholzer replaced him and will be under center whenever St. Petersburg wants to move Jones around.

Jones said he doesn't mind the switch.

"As long as I'm playing I'm fine with it," Jones said. "It's a team game and I have to be as much of a leader as I can this year."

Players in post


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