Coach: Jeremy Shobe (first season)
Class: 4A, District 6
Stadium: Unnamed. 2909 Mansfield Blvd., Wesley Chapel
Playoff history: None
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Building blocks of a good season
A. Attitude: A change in head coach from Ricky Thomas to Jeremy Shobe also ushered in a change in attitude. The noticeable shift in focus took place at the beginning of spring football. The change in power has the players feeling good.
B. Blake Burch: The senior receiver/defensive back has a nice mix of talent and athleticism. "He's one of the best in the county," Shobe said. "He can catch, he can run, he's a great hitter." Burch led the Bulls with four interceptions and 422 yards.
C. Linebackers: Shobe calls them "the Headbusters." The unit is led by Malik Moss, Solomon Muhammad and Yemi Adetutu. They're vicious, they attack, they're fast and athletic. "They don't make excuses. All the coaches are jealous I've got these guys," Shobe said.
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123s Three potential pitfalls
1. Shobe: He's a first-time head coach faced with the challenge of guiding the Bulls through the next step of the building process. Of course, that next step is winning more than one game or even contending for a playoff berth. To do that, the offense will need more production, considering it has never averaged more than 11.6 points. "Bottom line, you have to produce a winning team and build character," Shobe said.
2. The offensive line: More production starts with giving the skilled offensive players time to develop plays. Shobe said he has the guys to do it in Morgan Hendrix, Jeff Hunt, Brandon Teeling, Byron Turner and Ryan Diaz. "But they need a killer instinct," Shobe said. "They have to get more nasty, and they have to jell and communicate together." Shobe said quarterback James Tringali also needs to make better decisions with the football.
3. Wesley Chapel game: The Wildcats roll in Week 3. The schools are natural rivals considering Wiregrass took a huge chunk of kids who would have gone to Wesley Chapel. But the Bulls believe they could build momentum if they can win games against Sunlake, Zephyrhills, then Wesley Chapel. "That's the big game for us if we want to set the tone," Shobe said.
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Extra credit The X-factor
Nick Lomba: The running back/defensive back has 4.5, 40-yard dash speed. He's got a 32-inch vertical jump and a 101/2-foot standing broad jump. "That just tells you how athletic and how explosive the kid is," Shobe said.
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Opposing coach's quotes
"I know Shobe will work hard and get them excited. Having them in the weight room and at 7-on-7 has helped, and they should be competitive." - Pasco coach Tom McHugh
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C; The Bulls talk a good game when it comes to preseason predictions. But let's reserve any jubilation until they win more than one game. The Bulls have never won a road game and open at Sunlake. Any momentum they gain could end during a four-game road stretch that includes Ridgewood, Crystal River, Palm Bay and Tarpon Springs.