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A couple of minutes with new Tampa Bay Tech coach Jayson Roberts, the former Titans defensive coordinator who has roughly 70 players in his inaugural spring camp:

You've said you're going to open up the offense (former Plant RBs coach Mo Harris is the coordinator). Who's the front-runner at quarterback?

Right now it's (rising senior) Derrell Thompson. He's a kid that has played the position for us and also some other positions, so he has a little bit of experience. But right now being in a new system and everything, of course he was an option quarterback before, so it's a learning curve for him, but I think he's going to do well for us.

Give us one area of this team you feel good about.

My defensive line. "We have three back; two interior guys, (rising juniors) Kadesh Reaves and Jevon Fripp. Both of them were all-county, all-Western Conference last year, and then (rising senior) Andrew Green at defensive end was a part-time starter. Up front on the D-line I think is the strength of our team right now.

Give us one area of concern.

I'd have to say right now it's depth. We're pretty good at all of our positions with the first group of guys, but behind them we're really inexperienced and young, so this spring is going to be big for us to find out exactly who we have and the guys who can contribute and give us something during the season.

Compare a practice in pads to one minus pads.

Oh man, without pads it's intense; guys are flying around. But by the third day the kids get a little restless and they've kind of gotten sick of each other and they're ready to get a piece of one another. So this first day in pads shoots up about five or 10 notches and they're ready to go.

Let's play two (quarters)

A list of the local public school spring jamborees, set for May 20 at 6:30 p.m., and one thing we're looking forward to seeing at each. (Each contest is one half):

At Bloomingdale

Jesuit vs. Newsome

Brandon vs. Bloomingdale

We're eager to see: New Tigers QB Tommy Eveld, loaded with upside but trying to develop consistency, according to coach James Harrell.

At Chamberlain

Hillsborough vs. Middleton

Blake vs. Chamberlain

We're eager to see: What all the hubbub is over Middleton WR Richard Benjamin. We can't get columnist John Cotey to stop raving about him in the office.

At Jefferson

Leto vs. Plant

Robinson vs. Jefferson

We're eager to see: The new quarterbacks for the Knights and Dragons, though for some bizarre reason, that Leto-Plant game intrigues us.

At Spoto

Lennard vs. Riverview

East Bay vs. Spoto

We're eager to see: The new offenses for East Bay and Spoto. Au revoir, wing-T and wishbone.

At Tampa Bay Tech

King vs. Wharton

Freedom vs. Tampa Bay Tech

We're eager to see: Just how much the Titans will spread things around offensively, and what kind of targets Lions QB Greg Windham will have outside of Chris Murray.

At Steinbrenner

Gaither vs. Sickles

Alonso vs. Steinbrenner

We're eager to see: How much Steinbrenner has evolved entering Year 3. Regardless of their quantum leap in classification (from 2A to 7A), the Warriors won't be an easy out for anyone this fall.

At Strawberry Crest

Armwood vs. Plant City

Durant vs. Strawberry Crest

We're eager to see: Matt Jones run, or Bennie Coney pass, or Cody Waldrop pancake someone, or Leon McQuay cover Lamarlin Wiggins in the open field. Heck, we could go on for two more pages.


"Everybody has what they call no-pad all-Americans. You lose them when the pads come on." - Carrollwood Day coach Lane McLaughlin, whose team (like all others in Florida) practiced for the first time in full pads Thursday. Incidentally, Jon Gruden is back for his second season as a Patriots assistant