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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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By JOHN C. COTEY
Published August 25, 2006
[Times photo: William Dunkley]
St. Petersburg's Lawon Scott, center, is being counted on to be an anchor on the offensive and defensive lines.
ST. PETERSBURG - First-year coach Joe Fabrizio is teaching his Green Devils more than just a new offense.
He's trying to teach them patience.
In years past, the Green Devils have relied on the big play. But without it, they were just an average football team.
Now, with Fabrizio's Wing-T offense installed, the emphasis will be on long, time-consuming drives and wearing down opponents.
Fabrizio inherits a program that hasn't won a playoff game since 1984. As the offensive coordinator at Seminole, he helped the Warhawks become a perennial playoff contender, with an offense that ground up opposing defenses.
Now his toughest job may be convincing the formerly flashy Green Devils that there is a better way.
"They are still learning what we want them do," Fabrizio said. "But they have a chance to be really, really good if they buy into it."
ON THE GROUND: A trio of seniors will head up the Green Devils' ground game - Quinton Newton, Marcus Brown and Emmanuel Fleming.
Brown, the fullback, and his 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame is the perfect fit for the new offense. "He's the kind of pounder you need," Fabrizio said.
Newton and Fleming are both 5-8, 170 and run the 40 in 4.5.
They will run behind an offensive line that is still being tooled but shows plenty of promise. Lawon Scott (6-2, 315), drawing attention from Division I-A schools, will play tackle. The other tackle is John Wynn (6-2, 250), with center Corey Dickhause (6-2, 240) and guards Teddy Moser (6-1, 200) and Brent Arsenault (6-1, 190) rounding out the group.
THROUGH THE AIR: Junior Robert Lemon and senior Matt Bradbury are fighting for the starting quarterback job.
Bradbury may be the better athlete, but Fabrizio has been pleased with both. He's looking for one of them to step up and prove he can lead the team, his No. 1 criteria for the position.
The Green Devils will have to replace North Carolina State signee Donald Bowens and speedster Durand Kent. Travis Smith and Jernois Bradbury will try to be those guys.
DEFENSE! DEFENSE! The Green Devils gave up more points last year than the year before, showing an inability to shut down the county's better teams. They allowed 34 points or more in four of 10 games.
Scott will play tackle and is a force inside. Raynord Norton, Tejay Brown, Matt Benedict and Matt Baldwin will play on the line, with Marcus Brown, Deonte Jones and Kevin Claypool at linebacker.
Fabrizio will go with his speed guys in the defensive backfield - Newton, Fleming, Bradbury and Sanders.
JUST FOR KICKS: Nick Solomon will handle the kicking duties.