Over the next couple of weeks, the Times will offer a comprehensive report on each team and its progress during spring practice.
Coach: Stevie Thomas (second year)
2006 record: 5-5
Key losses: RB Josh Bellamy (USF), WR/DB Preston Pace, WR Sherard Allen
Key returners: QB Orhian Johnson, DL Cody Hampton, DL Julius Forte, LB/RB Mundrae Francis
Newcomers: RB Donald Warren (transfer from St. Petersburg High), WR Javonta Trotter (transfer from St. Petersburg Catholic), RB Latavien Washington (JV)
Spring skinny: Thomas said he plans to open things up this season, and now he has the weapons to do just that. With transfers such as Warren and Trotter, the Pirates have the playmakers to spread teams three or four wide. Johnson, a junior, has improved his decision-making skills, as shown in the 24-10 spring game win over Gibbs, during which he had 151 yards passing and 100 yards rushing.
Key questions: Can two-way linemen Cody Hampton and Julius Forte carry the team up front? Will the Pirates continue to be plagued by penalties (115 yards worth on Friday)?
Gamebreaker: Washington. The 5-foot-9 sophomore-to-be slasher scored 15 TDs last year on JV, including four of 40 yards or more.
Schedule: Aug. 31: Dunedin; Sept. 7: Bye; Sept. 14: Dixie Hollins; Sept. 20: at Lakewood; Sept. 28: at St. Petersburg; Oct. 5: at Northeast; Oct. 12: Countryside; Oct. 19: at Southeast; Oct. 26: Osceola; Nov. 2: Bayshore; Nov. 9: at Gibbs.
Joe Smith, Times staff writer