With just 16 days of spring football practice leading to next week’s Jamboree, no coach is trying to reinvent the wheel.
Primarily they are trying to determine the roster and the depth chart.
“For us, we have 53 kids out with the sixth-graders, but on the varsity we are trying to find the missing pieces,” said Port St. Joe coach Chuck Gannon.
Having eight seniors, the on-field leadership of the team, graduated with the Class of 2013, Gannon said one effort is to identify just who is going to the vocal leader or leaders on the field.
“We lost those eight seniors and they were key and were our leaders,” Gannon said. “We need to find some guys who may have in the past laid back and led by example. Now, we need them to step up and be a bit more vocal.
“We need to look at who is going to be able to lead us because we have a bunch of seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders who are going to be pretty good but they are still learning. We need to figure out if we need to move a veteran guy to another position because we are young.”
The numbers on the field has been impressive as has the effort, Gannon said.
“The effort is there,” Gannon said. “Like I said, though, we are trying to find the type of guys who are going to be our leaders. We have them; we just need to find them and bring them along.”
Gannon also enters spring as a realist.
With most of his players have participated in other sports during the school year – soccer, basketball, track, baseball – the players have spent the past nine months on one field or another.
“I feel personally, and I may be alone in this, that once we get to this stage our kids, they are kind of worn out. The coaches are worn out,” Gannon said. “We just try to put the right pieces in the right places during the spring.”
The numbers are encouraging and Gannon said part of the turnout is due to a successful 7-3 campaign in 2012 which came up two touchdowns shy of a playoff berth.
Gannon said he also been talking to kids about coming out, giving the 16 days of spring a try and see if football is a fit.
“We are encouraged by the numbers but it is a young group,” Gannon said.
And while most of the returnees understand the system, Gannon said expect little unusual in the Jamboree. For example, there will be no kickoffs or punts and Gannon said the game would be a “glorified scrimmage.”
“We are not doing anything in the spring that is new or unusual,” Gannon said. “Our opponents will see a pretty vanilla playbook. We’re more interested in seeing the effort.
“Any coach would say they would like to win the spring game because you can take that has a confidence boost. But we’re looking for effort. We are looking for effort, execution and who is working hard.”
The Spring Jamboree will begin at 6:30 p.m. ET Thursday, May 16 at Shark Field. Franklin County will face Wewahitchka for two quarters and the Seahawks will play Port St. Joe for two quarters. The final two quarters will pit county rivals Wewahitchka and Port St. Joe.