tampabay.com

'Round the county in 12 days: Gulf

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published May 30, 2007


Gulf

A team-by-team look at Pasco County football:

Coach: Jay Fulmer

Last year: The Bucs went 6-5 and finished runnerup in their district, losing to Orlando Bishop Moore in the school's first playoff game.

District: Class 3A-8 (Pasco, Zephyrhills, Hudson)

Did you know?: Bucs placekicker Courtney Cohen will be the first female to kick in a high school game this fall since Pasco's Amanda Newsome in 2001.

Breakout player: David Williams didn't mesh with the coaching staff at Ridgewood and as a result hasn't played varsity football the past two seasons. He seems to be getting along just fine at Gulf, however. The rising senior brings speed and a small but strong package to the running game, and even if Julian Ford doesn't return the Bucs could have a 1, 000-yard rusher on their hands. Williams was outstanding running the ball in the spring game and delivered a big hit on defense, too.

Who's back: Jene McGinnis will lead an experienced group on the offensive line, and J.D. Ramirez impressed coaches this spring. But other than that, the Bucs don't have too much back this season. If Ford returns from his legal woes, the Bucs will at least have the makings of a potent offense. "If he comes back, " said Fulmer, "it will be like an extra Christmas next fall."

What's new: The running game. Yes, the Bucs insist they will be running the ball this year after some "awful" attempts in the past few years. If it works, it will take a lot of the pressure off rising sophomore Madison Burr, who will take over the reins at quarterback after guiding the junior varsity team to a 5-3 record. Burr reminds Fulmer of a young Alton Voss, though he will need seasoning to approach the same kind of contributions the now-USF player made.

Spring revelation: Will Burbridge was looking like a potential starter at tight end, but Ford's absence forced Fulmer to stick him in at running back and now he's a potential starter in the backfield. He's 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and will get his share of carries. "We didn't even have him slated as a starter in the backfield; we had him slated at TE, " Fulmer said. "But we asked him to step in and he did a really good job. He saved our hides this spring. He's got all the tools."