Around the North Suncoast in 30 days
A daily spring preview of every football program on the North Suncoast.
Coach: Rodney Byrd (second season, 2-8)
Last season: 2-8
District: Class 3A-6 (Crystal River, Nature Coast, Citrus, Lecanto)
Key losses: OL/DL Kyle Bechtelheimer, DE/OLB/RB Justin Braswell, QB/WR/FS Jason Davies,
RB George Fribley, LB Nick Pauliot, C/LS Jared Rickett, LB Taylor Rotunda
Who's back: WR/OLB/FS Jamel Byrd,
TB/CB Alvin Delaine, OL/DL David Hines
What's new: A bunch of faces who, to their credit, keep plugging along despite not knowing who their coach will be in August. Byrd, like all other Hernando coaches, has been required to reapply for his job by incoming principal Ken Pritz. Although the job is being pursued by nearly 40 other applicants, Byrd hasn't seemed to lose any resolve. Roughly 60 kids came out for spring ball, and their coach is trying to keep things simplified and fun. "You get that thought pattern of 'Why?' " said Byrd, a community fixture who starred for the Leopards in the mid 1970s. "I told (Pritz) that (reopening the job) is his prerogative and I understand and whatever will be, will be." … When the Leopards host Ocala West Port tonight, keep an eye on Delaine, a diminutive (5 feet 8, 165 pounds) spark plug who scored two touchdowns in last week's intrasquad scrimmage. "He can stop on a dime and give you change," Byrd said. Delaine will operate behind Hines (6-5, 270) and newcomer Scott Adamson (6-3, 220), who line up at right and left tackle, respectively.
Audible: "I told them, 'Hey, we come out here to play football, we're going to have fun playing football, and all that other stuff's taking care of itself.' … I'm coaching until they tell me otherwise. That's where we're at with that." — Byrd on the uncertainty of his long-term job status
Did you know?: Adamson, a senior, has never played organized football before, his coach said. "He was in band," Byrd said. … Virtually everyone refers to Delaine as "Chubbs," a nickname given to him by his mother.
vs. Ocala West Port,
Sept. 5 vs. Central
Sept. 12 at Hudson
Sept. 19 at Gulf
Sept. 26 vs. Wesley Chapel
Oct. 10 vs. Crystal River
Oct. 16 at Springstead
Oct. 24 at Lecanto
Oct. 31 at Nature Coast
Nov. 7 vs. Citrus
Nov. 14 vs. Pasco
Joey Knight, Times staff writer