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The Bucs are back: Bucs kick off spring football practice

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Head Coach Jimmy Barnett talks strategy with his players.
Photo by Jason B. Smith
As the 2004-2005 school year winds down for the students at Briarwood Academy, the school's upcoming football players are working harder than ever in getting prepared for next season.

Coach Jimmy Barnett's young group of Buccaneers are involved in a 10-day spring practice session that began on Monday, May 2, and will conclude with a three-team scrimmage session on Friday, May 13.

"We currently have around 29 players participating in spring practice, and these kids are experiencing a lot of new stuff," Coach Barnett said. "We are practicing in helmets and shorts to start with, but the big test for our players is how to absorb all the mental stuff we are giving them in a short period of time. Right now, there is a lot of mental confusion on the field, and we don't want to get them tied down."

The scrimmage will involve the players of Briarwood, Nathaniel Greene and Edmund Burke Academy beginning at 5 p.m. at the Buccaneer football field.

"This scrimmage will involve a lot of areas, except for the kicking game," said Coach Barnett. "Each team will run a certain number of plays, and then each school will attempt to drive down the field against each other."

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Chase Wilson listens to his coach.
Photo by Jason B. Smith
One of the biggest changes fans will see on the gridiron in the upcoming season will be a check-off by the quarterbacks in which they will call their own plays from the line of scrimmage at certain times. The Buccaneer quarterbacks will have a choice of three plays to run.

"We are in the process of doing a lot of new stuff that I have never done on the football field," Coach Barnett said. "I have spent a lot of time in the off-season attending coaching clinics and classes, and we are going to take some wrinkles from a lot of these classes and try to show some new things this fall. Right now, we have put a lot of mental strain on our quarterbacks, but overall, we are just teaching the basic fundamentals of football."

The Buccaneer football team has four athletes that will run the quarterback position. Those signal-callers are Joseph Batrous, David Russell, David Joesbury and Chase Walker.

"Batrous is the better runner of this group, and we have added some option wrinkles to our game plan," Coach Barnett said. "However, Russell is our better passer, and we have added some spread formations to aid his ability.

"Both of these guys will be starters for us. While one of them is playing quarterback, the other will be lined up in the backfield as a runner."

Joesbury and Walker will add depth at quarterback.

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Quarterback Chase Walker pitches a ball out during Monday's first practice.
Photo by Jason B. Smith
Coach Barnett said the "brightest and biggest spot" on the Bucs will be the presence of senior Tyler Wester.

"They do not come no tougher than he is," Coach Barnett said.

He also said the team has a young offensive line, but tight end Kyle Ewest and tackle Chase Wilson should be standouts.

"Overall, our weaknesses as a team are three-fold. We lack speed in a lot of areas, lack depth in the line and we do not know how the new kids will fit in our program yet," Coach Barnett said.

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Ryan Gerlach catches a pass during Monday's practice.
Photo by Jason B. Smith


Web posted on Thursday, May 5, 2005











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