Land O'Lakes: Season preview

Promises for the '08 campaign

1. Passing, and more passing. Look for the offense to stick with a primary passing attack with the final Weatherford under center.

2. Lots of opportunities. The Gators must replace 31 seniors from last year, but don't worry, Gator fans, Land O'Lakes always seems to contend for the district title.

3. A 12th consecutive playoff berth. Despite the drop in experience, picking against the Gators is foolish given their track record.

What the Gators can't promise

1. A sixth consecutive district title. This year, Tarpon Springs appears likely to play spoiler.

2. That quarterback Stevie Weatherford will throw for 1,500 yards. There's no proven receiver on the roster, though Gaither transfer Nick Pardo is bound to be a solid option at tight end.

3. That this will be coach John Benedetto's last season. The Gators coach enters his 32nd season and has the most wins in Pasco County history. Chances are he'll see this final Weatherford of six through the program.

Primaries

A look at some of the key figures in the Gators' 2008 campaign

Primary offensive skill player: QB Stevie Weatherford. A talented passer with a knack for flourishing under immense pressure.

Primary defensive skill player: LB Alex Mathis. The punishing linebacker returns having led the Gators in tackles with 127 in 2007.

Primary offensive lineman: OL Shane Davey. He's a good center and very effective at 5-8, 215 pounds. He's smart, and he understands the game.

Primary defensive lineman: DL Christian Renner. A key starter last season at defensive tackle had a good season and returns as more of a leader for that unit this season.

Primary special-teams player: K Alex Spock. Arguably the North Suncoast's top kicker can boom punts in excess of 40 yards and makes 50-yard field goals look easy.

Voices from the precincts

What some are saying about the Gators

"Certainly they lost a lot of really good kids, but (Benedetto's) been around the program that he's got it established so well. There might be some glitches here and there, but they're going to be one of the best teams in the districts. " — Springstead coach Bill Vonada

Izzy Gould, Times staff writer

Land O'Lakes: Season preview 09/04/08 [Last modified: Thursday, September 4, 2008 3:26pm]

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