WESLEY CHAPEL - While there are teams that have their quarterback situation already figured out for next season, most don't have that luxury and are using the Pasco County 7-on-7 league to help find a starter for the position.
The seven-week, eight-team league, which now includes Nature Coast after Zephyrhills bowed out, enters its third week today at Ridgewood, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
The league has been beneficial to teams trying to fill the quarterback position thanks to graduates like Wesley Chapel's Greg Jenkins, River Ridge's Blake Spinks, Mitchell's Tate Humphrey and Ridgewood's T.J. Haab even if the football isn't full-on with pads.
"This gives us an opportunity to throw the ball and work on our passing game," Ridgewood coach Chris Taylor said. "Even though you guys keep writing that we didn't throw the ball much last year, we still threw it more last year than we did the year before. But we threw it successfully and only threw it at times when we needed it. And this helped us last year and it's only going to help more this year since we're so young."
Ridgewood's outlook on its quarterback position has changed several times since spring. The Rams expected Jimmy Mattos to step into the starting role, but he left the team in early spring to concentrate on baseball.
That left the Rams with two inexperienced underclassmen to groom. Then Hudson's No. 2 quarterback, Scott Kujak, transferred to Ridgewood via open enrollment about a month ago.
Then Mattos had a change of heart and returned to the team in time to play in the 7-on-7 league, though Taylor said Mattos also will be used in some other positions like wide receiver and there are a couple of other possibilities for him on defense.
And any extra playing time the Rams can get in after graduating more than 20 seniors.
"We're so young, our quarterback is inexperienced so I feel it's really helped us out," Taylor said.
Wesley Chapel is in a similar situation, trying to decide which of two quarterbacks - junior C.J. West and sophomore Geoff DeGroot - is going to be the starter.
Wildcats coach John Castelamare is reserving judgment until the team can have full practices with pads but having both quarterbacks take reps with their receivers is getting them prepared for the real test of the season.
"We'll see," Castelamare said. "Right now, until you put the pads on you won't know but we've got two that are going to go at each other and that's good because you have two young ones.
"As soon as we put the gear on, C.J. has a little more experience, but Geoff had a good spring. Right now I'm not upset with playing them both and it might be that but you won't know until you put the gear on and you're into the season."