Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Some spring observations

Spring football is over.
Did we learn anything? Some stuff, such as:
1. Manatee will score points. Quarterback Brion Carnes has already committed to USF, while receiver Ace Sanders and feature back Mike Blakely are being wooed by myriad Division I schools. Coach Joe Kinnan also expects wide receiver Quenton Bundrage, who caught a pair of touchdowns during the Hurricanes' spring win over Largo, to head to a top-tier program. That's four Division I prospects on offense. The defense and offensive line need work, but the Hurricanes should be an offensive juggernaut. Again.
2. Donald Campbell can play quarterback. Coach Raymond Woodie would love to keep Campbell at wide receiver, where Campbell has played since his freshman year. And the coach isn't closing the book on either Rian Kelly or Melvin Burston, neither of whom have varsity experience, filling the void left under center when Ethan Gilbert graduated. But Campbell was dazzling during the Tigers' spring game at St. Petersburg Northeast. His arm is solid, and he is extremely mobile and seems to have a good head on his shoulders. He isn't reckless - but he isn't afraid to take a chance or two, either. Don't be surprised to see Soup taking some snaps once Palmetto begins its district play.
3. Braden River is resilient. The players and coaching staff have been going through the emotional ringer since the March car accident that took the life of assistant coach Doug Garrity. Head coach Josh Hunter, who has driving that night, resigned his post a day before spring practice. But offensive coordinator/interim head coach Ed Volz and his staff, along with players, persevered, and capped the spring with an impressive win at Riverview.
4. Bayshore will be better. The Bruins looked solid during their win over Sarasota. Of course, it was a spring game, and each team played all freshmen during the first quarter. But Bayshore looked more like a team than it had in the past, and may have a bona fide running back in Alex Jackson, who scored three touchdowns while finding space behind a massive offensive line. Bayshore has a tough schedule - Booker, Braden River and Southeast compete in its district, and the Bruins' non-district foes include Palmetto, Manatee and Arcadia DeSoto, so it may be too early so start camping out for playoff tickets. But if their spring game is any indication, the Bruins appear to be heading in the right direction.

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