A whole new offensive ballgame
Their new coach has put in a more balanced attack for one thing.
By FRANK PASTOR
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 6, 2002
BROOKSVILLE -- Quarterback Joe Brazeau broke his right hand in the second quarter of Central's spring game. Since it was his non-throwing hand, he was able to play the second half.
A year ago, Brazeau could have broken either hand and still finished the game. He threw just one pass as a backup to Chase Evans, who attempted 18.
A more balanced offense is one of many changes for the Bears since John Wilkinson replaced coach Steve Crognale.
Wilkinson was an assistant at Merritt Island and the University of Massachusetts and spent last season as offensive coordinator at New Smyrna Beach, which clobbered Central 40-6 in the playoffs.
"It kind of struck me as weird after he destroyed us that he'd want to come coach us," defensive end Chris Ortiz said.
Crognale's teams relied on an experienced offensive line to open holes for running back Tim Gaynor, whose 1,769 yards and 19 touchdowns led the county last season. The combination clicked, as the Bears went 7-3 and made the Class 4A playoffs.
"Coach Crog and those guys were successful with what they did, so that's what they did," Wilkinson said. "That's the name of the game."
Central will continue to lean on Gaynor, but Brazeau's decision-making and the progress of a new line also will figure into the Bears' new multiple offense.
With Willie Winslett (Eastern Kentucky), T.J. Hedick (Lenoir-Rhyne), Billy Wood, Andrew Bourguignon and Doug Crowley lost to graduation, Central had to rebuild its line from scratch.
In tackles Nick Marty and Brian Oakes, guards Mike Gurske and Mike Nelson, centers Steve Favia and Jason Santiago and tight end Mike Noyes, the Bears think they have a combination of size and quickness.
Though they might not be as talented as their predecessors, they should be fresher under Wilkinson's two-platoon system.
There are changes on defense, too, as coordinator Lance Jenkins' unit will employ several fronts out of its base 4-4.
One thing that hasn't changed is the emphasis on teamwork. Wilkinson removed the names from the jerseys and suspended Gaynor from the spring game for violating team rules.
"Right then, we all knew he wasn't messing around," Brazeau said. "He wasn't there to play games. He was there to win."
Wilkinson said Gaynor met all of his obligations over the summer and is back in good standing.
"We have a clean slate with Timmy now," Wilkinson said. "We're all set. He's changed a lot over the summer."
So has Central.
OFFENSE: Central will run many packages out of its new multiple offense. Ideally, first-year coach John Wilkinson would like to see a 60-40 run-pass ratio from his previously ground-oriented team. But he is happy to stick with the running game as long as opponents are unable to stop tailback Tim Gaynor, who amassed nearly 1,800 yards last season. Mostly, though, Wilkinson would like to see his offense dictate alignments to opposing defenses. The unit will continue to revolve around Gaynor, but quarterback Joe Brazeau's decision-making and the work of an offensive line featuring five new starters will be equally important to the Bears' success.
DEFENSE: Where former coach Steve Crognale preferred an attacking defense, defensive coordinator Lance Jenkins' unit will rely more heavily on technique in its 4-4 base set. Last year, linemen were encouraged to shoot their gaps and get upfield. This year, they will be asked to read the offensive linemen and take their keys from them. Part of their responsibility will be to tie up the linemen, freeing the linebackers to make plays. Another difference is the two-platoon system Central will employ on both sides of the ball, intended to keep players fresher longer.
- COLORS: Blue and silver.
- CLASS: Class 4A, District 6.
- PLAYOFF HISTORY: 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001.
- LAST APPEARANCE: Lost to New Smyrna Beach 40-6.
- HEAD COACH: John Wilkinson, first year.
- ASSISTANTS: Lawrence Samuels, Lance Jenkins, Mike Ellison, Joe Nestor, Peter Irby, Justin Howell, Brian Bridges.
BEARS DEN: West of Brooksville. From State Road 50 east of U.S. 19 and west of Brooksville, turn north on Sunshine Grove Road. School complex will be on the right, about 1 mile.
Back to Sports
© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111
From the Times sports desk
U.S. Open Tennis
Sampras whips the kid
First Hewitt-Agassi match was a stunner
Davenport and Mauresmo up against Williams wall
On the Net
Tennis sites top NFL in searches
'Canes' DBs face big test
State practice reports
Silence isn't golden for DTs
Loss leads to better days
Beavers cruise to victory
Around the Nation
AL: A-Rod reaches 50 HRs in rout
NL: Four-run first helps Schilling get 22nd win
Streak is nice, but A's want division
Stewart nips Harvick for rare Truck victory
49ers win season opener
Around the NFC
Around the AFC
Sports on TV, Radio
Fox trio of announcers paving way to top spot
Mitchell promotes JV coach
Bears open with victory
New Chiefs, same dreams
Why run when they can fly?
UT ready to honor its best
Daily fishing report
NFL Football preview 2002
Light up the cannons and hold your ears
Gruden's path littered with historic hurdles
League site gives fans what they want
Bucs by the numbers
Kiffin's in charge of the defense, as always
What to bring and what to leave home
Dilger site knocked off-line by Sept. 11
NFC South capsules
Confidence still strong despite loss of talent
So fast, they're scary
Buccaneers defensive capsules
Buccaneers offensive capsules
The Florida Keys
'I am making a guarantee'
Buccaneers at a glance
Bucs: High Hopes
On the road with the Bucs
Team by team breakdown
Dolphins: For the fans
No more excuses for Miami
New NFL stadiums
Jacksonville looking dim without its stars
Jaguars: For the fans
NFL: By the numbers
What they're saying about the Bucs
What they're saying about the Dolphins
What they're saying about the Dolphins
What's past is past for Panthers, unless you hang on for motivation
Panthers: Special teams must keep scoring points
Prep football preview 2002
4A-6 DISTRICT PREVIEW: Defending champ faces tough road
Losing season doesn't sit well with Hawks
Team's continued rise depends on cohesion
Graduation forces Spongers to ''reload''
Barons look forward to tough schedule
New-look Warhawks boast lofty goals
New Pats coach plans plenty of changes
Devils welcome fresh cast of characters
'Canes in playoffs? Not that far-fetched
Explosive Felton to carry Warriors' load
Small Mustangs must rely on experience
Harris looks to measure up in win column
Packers boast new weapon at quarterback
Loaded Spartans have talent to dominate
Crusaders hope to make success a habit
Numbers to give Eagles breathing room
Gladiators trying to stay more grounded
Eagles likely to finally get off the ground
Seniors have Falcons thinking playoffs
Rebels pinning hopes on healthy veterans
Cougars must surmount rugged district
Healthy Marauders pose playoff threat
Nucleus has Tornadoes primed to rebound
Pirates hope confidence is the difference
New coach looking to stretch the field
Big dreams without big heads
You've come a long way baby!
The small things come first for county's newest teams
Hillsborough distric outlook
From the editor:
Team's character, offense are focus
West Preview: Could this be the season the west finally fights back?
Veteran leadership strength of Cougars
This Cowboys coach promises to stay put
Don't be surprised by Indians this time
It's now or never for the Dragons
Potential for title run has Lions' attention
One loss motivates Tigers to improve
Leto's new offense, season hold promise
Reaves ready to put Panthers in spotlight
Rebuilding Raiders must grow up fast
It's Hicks' turn to carry load for Knights
New-look Titans plan to pass first
Too many veterans not to be optimistic
Crusaders continue rebuilding project
Wildcats begin to whisper about playoffs
Last season's woes strengthen Eagles
Ravens' growth will determine success
Last season's stars are tough to replace
Bucs want early wins then trip to playoffs
Nine-game skid shakes team's foundation
Bulls out to end trend of one-win seasons
Depth in trenches crucial for Eagles
Pasco County: For the fans
Playoff losses big motivation for Gators
The word little's a big deal for Mustangs
If Pirates can remain healthy, watch out
This season's schedule bound to have more surprises
New coach, offense give Rams new hope
Juniors out to resurrect Knights' success
Wildcats prepare for tougher challenges
Bulldogs are lacking in numbers, as usual
10 Games to Watch: A week-by-week county primer
10 Questions: Setting the record straight for 2002 ... sort of
Gators begin making big waves
National Signing Day will be a big deal this time around
Bucs sport a new look called the Spread-I
Conference race has new meaning
Offense has promise, defense a concern
Weightman to test reloading Hudson
New Bears coach is all about approach
Hernando: For the Fans
On the Net
Castillo, Leopards ready to break into open
Eagles to take field with winning feeling
Hernando County's college players to watch
Eagles in for rocky start, strong finish
Springstead ready to push Central
Scheme stays same but faces change
Panthers standout isn't very hard to find on field
Pirates bent on dismissing doubters, foes
Panthers have tasted success, want more
Buoyed by experience, athleticism
Tigers have playoff potential if they unite
A whole new offensive ballgame
Citrus County football from A to Z
RaysRays, Kennedy get swept away
Naimoli says deal should help sport
Nash to get out of jail
Up next: Rangers
BucsProductive Saints QB still looking for respect
Lightning forces players into garage
From the wire
From the state sports wire Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
Brown anxious to face old team for first time
Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts