Spring football capsule: Armwood

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Armwood

Coach: Sean Callahan (20th season, 156-68)

Last season: 12-1 (region final, lost 17-14 to Plant)

District: Class 4A-9 (East Bay, Hillsborough, King)

Key losses: QB Mywan Jackson, WR Rob Jones, RB Matt Eastman, WR Dykerius Cross, WR Eric Gonzalez, DB Angelo Hadley, LB Petey Smith, DL Ryne Giddins, LB Casey Callahan, OL Justin Cabbagestalk, DL Alton Bailey

Who's back: RB Tavari Grant, RB Sherman Jessie, WR Richard Jules, LB Brandon Hickman, DB Quinton Brown, LB Jermaine McKinley, DL David Tinsley, OL Fletcher Williams, OL Adam Arellano, RB D.J. Hitchman

What's new: The loss to Plant in the region final stuck with many of the Hawks throughout the offseason. Callahan said lack of camaraderie on last year's roster — a group that boasted arguably one of the best defensive units in state history — led to the Hawks' demise. To that end, Callahan feels there has been an attitude adjustment in the locker room. "I had to tighten things up here a bunch," Callahan said. "We had to tighten up the attitude." Armwood and egos go together like peanut butter and jelly, but with just six returning starters, there are plenty of battles for playing time. No position stands out more than quarterback, a spot vacated by North Carolina signee Mywan Jackson. The battle has centered on Freedom transfer Josh Grady and last year's JV quarterback, Tanner Emmons. After watching both perform in 7-on-7 games, Callahan said Grady is the front-runner. He hopes the offense will be more balanced and not rely so heavily on the run. Defensively, Armwood is switching to a 3-4 defense to try more blitzing.

Audible: "We are an extremely young team. We usually have between four and seven Division I guys. This year we might have two (Richard Jules and Khiry McQuay). We have to develop our offensive and defensive lines. … We hope to come out healthy and as coaches have a better understanding of how the kids will play for us." — Callahan

Did you know? Callahan has guided more than 60 players to Division I schools. Since 1995, Callahan said Armwood has had three or more Hawks go to D-I programs with seven or more in 2000, '03, '04 and '09. The value of scholarships exceeded $1 million in 2000, '04 and '09, Callahan said. This year's class had nine D-I signees. His first Division I player? Former linebacker Shane Carrigan, who signed with Louisiana Tech in 1991.

Spring game: At Armwood, with Plant City, Durant and Newsome, 6:30 p.m. May 22

2009 schedule

Aug. 28 vs. Middleton (preseason)

Sept. 4 at Newsome

Sept. 17 vs. Tampa Bay Tech

Sept. 25 at Wharton

Oct. 2 vs. Plant

Oct. 9 vs. King

Oct. 16 at Chamberlain

Oct. 23 vs. Hillsborough

Oct. 30 at Gaither

Nov. 6 at East Bay

Nov. 13 vs. Alonso

Izzy Gould, Times staff writer

Spring football capsule: Armwood 05/04/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 4, 2009 10:49pm]

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