tampabay.com

Run may bring roll

By DOUG KATES
Published August 25, 2006


ST. PETERSBURG - Linebackers Zco and Navi Uhatafe are seniors this season and the twins hope to shut down opponents to push Gibbs over the .500 mark in 2006.

Gibbs will have only 12 seniors on opening night. The other 43 players will be asked to step up their games and help the seniors.

GROUND GAME: Coach Al Davis said improving over last year's 5-5 record will depend on moving the ball on the ground. "We will run to win ball games," he said.

Key players in the backfield will be Garrett Brunson, a senior, and Devon McCullough, a junior.

"They bring a lot of speed and power," Davis said. "They saw a lot of playing time last year."

AIR ATTACK: The big question mark for the offense will be at quarterback. Davis does not expect to name a starter until the first week of the season. Challenging for the position will be junior Lamar Hall and sophomore John Reynolds.

Hall was a quarterback at the junior varsity level and Reynolds played JV receiver. Davis said he wants a evenly balanced run-pass attack and pointed out each kid will get an equal chance in their scrimmage game to make a good impression.

The two passing targets will be veterans. Robert Woodall, a senior, and Larry Murphy, a junior, saw a lot of experience last year, despite playing behind two seniors. Davis said both can run 4.4 speed and know how to get open.

DEFENSE! DEFENSE! With the Uhatafe twins on the job for Gibbs, the defense should be double-trouble for opponents. Javier Ford will be another senior linebacker, while seniors Wade Bethel and Kelvin Riley will be on the line of scrimmage.

"They have to be physical," Davis said. "On a young defense, they have to be very smart on the football field. I think they are smart enough, and with their football knowledge, they can get the job done."

KICKING GAME: The kicker and punter should be junior Tom Hains. Davis said he has confidence in Hains to kick 30- to 35-yard field goals.

"He's been training in camp for many years," Davis said.

Waiting in the wings is Sam Snoots, another junior, who could get a chance to show his kicking abilities during the season.