Promises for the '08 campaign
1. Improved defense. Coach Marty Williams, a former defensive coordinator with Bishop McLaughlin and South Sumter, is trying to limit the lopsided scoring Bishop McLaughlin fell victim to last season.
2. Intensity. As the losses piled up, the team's mood became downtrodden. The inclusion of the 'Canes in the Sunshine State Athletic Conference has players psyched to be on the field with programs of its own caliber.
3. Long-term goals. Williams is looking two and three years down the road. The main objectives are to turn the ship around from 1-8 in 2007 to consistent winning records in a few years and to compete every time out.
What the Hurricanes can't promise
1. A district championship. After two seasons in Class B, District 6, Bishop McLaughlin has shifted back to independent status and joined the Sunshine State Athletic Conference along with seven other private school programs.
2. Conservative offense. After running the wishbone last season and not having much to show for it, the 'Canes will take some chances this season, running a flurry of different looks including the pro-set, I-formation and split-back formation.
3. Powerhouse success. Change doesn't happen overnight, and even at their peak two seasons ago the 'Canes went 5-5. This program is looking to make small waves in its first season returning to independent status.
A look at the some of the key figures in the Hurricanes' 2008 campaign.
Primary offensive skill player: QB Jeff Pope. Pope is a fleet-footed field general, but if the Hurricanes learned anything from 2007, it's that a solid offensive line is needed to protect him.
Primary defensive skill player: LB Bobby Emmino. In the team's 3-5 zone defensive scheme, the senior will be counted on at middle linebacker to stop the run and provide vocal leadership.
Primary offensive lineman: OT Beau McDonald. Getting bigger, stronger and faster over the summer, the senior is the stout tackle who will need to step up and keep Pope off his back.
Primary defensive lineman: DE Daniel Ramirez. A multi-sport athlete, the senior's growth spurt makes him the 'Canes' primary pass rusher.
Primary special-teams player: KR Ryan Beeble. The senior scored on an 85-yard kick return last season against Calvary Christian and should contribute at wideout this season.
Derek LaRiviere, Times correspondent