tampabay.com

Turf's only thing green now

Hudson freshman QB Zach Wynn took his licks and has learned from them.

By IZZY GOULD
Published May 15, 2007


NEW PORT RICHEY - Zach Wynn patiently stood along the sideline and simply watched spring football. That's basically all he could do a year ago as an eighth grader.

Just being around the varsity was better than nothing. Cobras coach Mark Nash needed a varsity quarterback and his eyes were focused on Wynn, even if the kid couldn't throw on a helmet until August.

A year later, everyone is smiling.

"His arm strength is just incredibly better, " Nash said. "His field awareness is better. As a freshman he was lucky if he could find a receiver. Things happen at a million miles an hour."

Wynn came out and quickly gained the respect of teammates. He led the Cobras to an opening night victory, 26-18 against River Ridge.

He proved he could lead the offense and take some hits in the process, though quarterbacks are off limits in practice.

"You have to hit him a couple times to make sure he's still alive, " Hudson lineman Travis Tindell said with a laugh. "We try not to hurt him."

The reality of Hudson's heavy personnel losses from the 2005 region final team quickly set in last season. The Cobras went on to lose seven consecutive games.

Along the way Wynn learned to adjust to the speed of the game. He learned to find receivers, to make the proper run or the proper throw if needed.

"First couple of games it was fast, " said Wynn, whose playing weight was 160 pounds. "I couldn't get my head under me. It was horrible."

Wynn still looks pretty thin, relatively speaking, but he's still a freshman until August.

Nash insists he has added weight and strength.

"He's still got a thin frame because of his age, " Nash said. "But every one of his core lifts has gone up. He's benching over 200 pounds, which for a freshman is not bad."

As far as progression is concerned, Nash wants Wynn to continue adjusting to varsity football. That's the major goal this spring. In the fall, Wynn might have telegraphed his passes to one receiver.

"Now he's seeing the field, " Nash said. "He's not even the same player."

Wynn seems to have control of the huddle, though he often looks to his coaches if he has a question about a play, a formation or a defensive look.

Wynn will get a pair of scrimmages to show his improvement, though Nash admits he's not putting a lot of stock into the spring.

This is a progression for Wynn and Hudson as well.

"The way he works I think the sky's the limit, " Nash said of Wynn. "I think he could legitimately be a Division I quarterback. He has the work ethic. He has the mind for it."

Izzy Gould can be reached at igould@tampabay.com or 727 580-5315.