Around the North Suncoast in 30 days
A daily spring preview of football programs on the North Suncoast
Coach: Jay Fulmer (fifth season, 25-18; 15th season overall, 70-79)
District: 3A-7 (Anclote, Land O'Lakes, Mitchell, Pasco, Sunlake, Wesley Chapel, Zephyrhills)
Last season: 10-2 (lost 50-0 to Pasco in second round of 3A playoffs)
Key losses: C/DL Brian Coss, RB/DB Tevin Gamble, RB/LB Devin Mason, TE/LB Joe Mesiana, OL/DL Josh Payne, WR/DB Kyle Scianna, OL/DL Jeremy Yankowski
Who's back: FB/LB Will Burbridge, QB/LB/P Madison Burr, LB Daryl Cooper, OL/DL C.J. Hart, TE/DL Leon Orr, OL/LB Chris Palasky
What's new: A primary ball carrier, perhaps? At this point, it's not totally clear whether senior tailback Bubba Golden, who set Pasco County's season rushing yardage record (2,514) last season, will play again for the Bucs. Golden, who arrived about 20 minutes late (and in street clothes) to Gulf's first spring practice Monday, said he recently moved from his grandmother's house in Holiday to his mom's place in Tarpon Springs. Golden indicated he probably would remain a Buc, but couldn't say for sure.
Audible: "In all the years I've been here, we haven't had a lineman as good as him." — Fulmer on sophomore guard/tackle Jeff Kruse, an honor student with a 325-pound bench press, 400-pound squat and 4.3 grade point average in Gulf's International Baccalaureate program.
Did you know? More than 40 players showed up for the Bucs' initial spring workout Monday. … Though Gulf is graduating four of its top six interior offensive linemen from last season, Fulmer thinks the 2009 group could be better. In addition to Kruse (6-foot-1, 260 pounds), he's also high on Hart and Palasky, whose older brother John once hiked the ball to ex-Bucs standout Alton Voss. … Burbridge, famously tagged with NFL potential by Fulmer last spring, received a handwritten recruiting letter from Western Michigan on Monday. … Burr, arguably the most underrated quarterback in the bay area, also could punt and kick for Gulf. "Madison might be one of the best punters I've seen," retiring assistant Jerry Young said.
Spring game: May 28, 7 p.m. (intrasquad)
Sept. 4 at Hudson
Sept. 11 River Ridge
Sept. 18 Ridgewood
Sept. 25 Sunlake
Oct. 2 at Land O'Lakes
Oct. 9 at Pasco
Oct. 15 Mitchell
Oct. 30 at Zephyrhills
Nov. 6 at Wesley Chapel
Joey Knight, Times staff writer