The Barbe Bucs have been on one heck of a streak since 2008 as the Bucs have averaged over 9 wins per season during that stretch. That run continued last year as the Bucs posted nine wins behind a strong senior class. But now the Bucs must face life post Gavin Nettles, Kirkland Banks and Nate Briscoe.
"The class we had last year, was an exceptional class. They were a very good group of kids and very successful. The way we practice and the way we prepare, those younger guys are ready. They lack in experience, but they've been practicing hard and they will be ready to play."
With the departure of Nettles, coach Mike Cutrera will have a decision to make at quarterback. Luke Richard or Ryan Smith? Richard filled in a year ago while Nettles battled injuries, while Smith posted a strong spring to close the gap.
"Ryan Smith makes some amazing reads, he barely has any flaws and Luke Richart has a Canon. He's very accurate and you can throw and he can run."
"These two guys are very competitive and they are going to push each other. Which ever one becomes the starter, the other one will be right there waiting. Each one of them brings different intangibles, they each have qualities that will help our offense out."
Fortunately for either quarterback, the Bucs don't lack firepower. The trio of Jaylon Smith, KeAndre Turner and Devon Pauley should give the young signal caller plenty to work with. Barbe also brings back some size, and experience on the offensive line.
"Those guys have been in the trenches and the battles and that's where we are most experienced on offense. We have three returning starters which is tremendous and will help the young quarterbacks."
On defense, five starters are back, and the defensive line will be the strength. C.J. Semien, LaMarcus Benton and Chandler Crawford will be the anchors that help the back half of the defense find themselves in the early part of the season. It's safe to say, it all starts up front for Barbe.
"We have some guys that are down there that have gotten playing experience are big and can play the run and we've got some guys are quick and fast and can rush the pass."
Despite the lack of experience and loss of talent, the Bucs are confident to buck the trend of three straight second round losses in the playoffs.
"Coaches have adjusted. They have found where our weaknesses are and they filled the spots very well. It gives us confidence in our guys that we know that they can step up to the plate. It's really assuring."
Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.