Pasco coaching pair sees spring as players’ proving ground for 2012

As the spring workout season begins to take shape around the area, two Pasco County coaches will be evaluating their players with an eye on it all.

Both Reginald Roberts of Zepyrhills and Thomas Carter of Gulf, are trying to gain an edge with their respective programs heading into the fall season.

” I would like to establish a solid group of players and depth at all positions,” said Carter, whose Buccaneers finished 3-8 last season. “Players (have) to understand their responsibilities, (we need) multiple team leaders, (have) focus and instill positive attitudes.”

Carter listed Travis Thomas (2014), Chance Belloise (2015), Andre Wilson (2014), Chris Klyap (2013), Yanquier Bastian (2015) and Genaro Ramirez (2013) as his prospects.  His main priority for the offseason workouts include “establishing a starting quarterback” according to Carter.

Meanwhile for Zephyrhills’ Roberts, his Bulldogs are coming off a season where they finished 8-3, including a 5-1 mark on the home turf.

“This spring we are looking for good numbers,” Roberts said. “The kids have hit the weight room hard this off-season and I’m looking forward to seeing how that translates onto the football field.  While we’ve begun to turn the corner, we still are a very young football team.  We will focus on teaching this spring.”

While meeting the eight win mark in 2011 is a good feeling across the board, Roberts said it will take a lot more training on and off the field to accomplish the team’s bigger goal of a state title.

” We have the philosophy now at Zephyrhills that if you want to win the state championship and/or play football at the next level, then you must train like it,” Roberts said. ” I’m very happy with how this football team is preparing.  Most of my guys have been working out since the day after our final  football game.  There has been an attitude shift when it comes to preparation.  The expectations are higher at Zephyrhills High School when it comes to football.”

When asked about players that could push the Bulldogs past the regular season and into the playoffs, Roberts credited a host of guys that could make the big impact Zephyrhills needs.

“I’m looking for a number of guys to have a very good spring and carryover into the fall but If i had to name a few,  Sophomore Devin Brockington led the team in tackles last year but was overshadowed by the year Jamal Roberts had last year.” Roberts said.  “Devin is an athlete and we will use that athletic ability to create on offense and attack on defense.  Sophomore Devon Long is another young athlete that can flat out play football.  Devon played offensive and defensive line this past season as a sophomore.  I often had coaches tell me that number “71” is a ball player.  I have high expectations for Devon on both sides of the ball.  Jordan Mutcherson had a very good 2011-12 at linebacker and has drawn a lot of interest after his sophomore season.”

Roberts then added, ” Junior Josh Shaffer had a solid 2011-12 season.  josh was moved to offensive line for quickness.  Josh will obviously play defensive end and/or linebacker at the next level.  He was a vital part of our defense last year and will see time at defensive end and linebacker this upcoming senior.”

In the end though, the coach stressed the importance of gaining team chemistry as the single most important catalyst for success this season.

“Spring will be huge for our program in the sense that we want to be fundamentally sound on both sides of the football.  I want this team to continue to grow as a family,” Roberts said.  “I really want this young football team to grow up before the fall.”

Follow Jeff Odom on Twitter, @JeffO_LutzNews for the latest prep sports news from Northwestern Hillsborough and Pasco County.