Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Defense a dominating theme so far

It was widely assumed fans would be pulling neck muscles watching all the scoring plays in Pinellas County this season. After all, plenty of teams installed variations of the spread offense, the pass-happy system that thrives on speed and mismatches and is supposed to produce a ton of touchdowns.

So far, teams have not piled on the points because defenses have doused the fireworks.

Only four teams — Dixie Hollins, Indian Rocks Christian and Tarpon Springs — scored more than 20 points last week. Three teams were shut out.

In fact, defenses seemingly scored as much as the offenses. The Rebels' Gerard Atkins returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown. Dunedin's Ali Cheaib scored on a 35-yard fumble return. Lakewood and Countryside each recorded safeties.

Why are offenses playing catchup so early in the season? Here are a few reasons.

Young quarterbacks

Managing a young quarterback can be a balancing act. Very quickly, a coach must ascertain his passer's strengths and weaknesses, then formulate a game plan that isn't so complex as to overload his student yet have enough variety to keep opponents off guard.

It's a seesaw experience, and it takes time for a coach and quarterback to get in sync.

Most programs have not developed that yet. Of the 25 public and private school teams in the county, only four (Calvary Christian, Palm Harbor University, Shorecrest, Tarpon Springs) return quarterbacks who were full-time starters last year.

The Spongers' Danny Reyes, a three-year starter, had the most success in Week 1 with 359 yards passing and three touchdowns against PHU.

Depth on defense

The top teams in the county still are strong because they return the majority of their starters on defense. Largo has seven starters back. So does Dunedin. Gibbs is even better with eight returning, the same number as St. Petersburg.

All four teams won their openers last week.

Defense a dominating theme so far 09/11/08 [Last modified: Friday, September 12, 2008 1:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Storm routs Cleveland

    Storm

    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  2. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  3. Rowdies shut out Charleston

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Former closer Sergio Romo acquired from Dodgers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays made a move to help the bullpen Saturday night when they acquired RHP Sergio Romo, who had been designated for assignment last week by the Dodgers.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (23) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, July 7, 2017.
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. backs wife's "not worth risk'' opinion on Daytona

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Saturday defended his wife's Twitter post — and blamed himself for putting her in a position where she believed she had to speak out and upset some of his fans.

    Amy Earnhardt worries about Dale Jr.’s concussions.