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May 2, 2013

Coaches from around the state battle elements

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Day one of spring practice began rather inauspiciously for several schools throughout the 'Sunshine' state.

"We practiced for two hours in the gym," said Bradenton Southeast head coach Paul Maechtle. "I've got 49 anxious Seminoles ready to get on the field. Rain, rain go away."

Maechtle wasn't alone. In Hillsborough County, the rain forced the cancellation of most outdoor events, so schools headed to the gym and weight room - at least most of them did.

"Very wet, but a very productive day," said longtime Hillsborough High coach Earl Garcia. "We went for two and a half hours in the rain."

Florida high schools are limited to the total number of days they can hold organized practices during the spring - and must condition for three days before any contact.

"We had 95 kids out excited to represent," said Neptune Beach Fletcher High head coach Josh Corey. "Our kids are ready to get back at it."

Naples - which went to the state semi-finals last year - will start the spring without the services of QB Kilton Anderson, who will transfer to a Seattle, Wa. school.

"We had great energy," Kramer said. "It was the coolest (temperature) May 1 I can ever remember. We are fired up to put the pads on Saturday."

In some parts of the state, practice went just fine - like in Perry, where second-year coach Ryan Smith gets started on another season.

Smith had a "great first day" for the Bulldogs with 70 kids.

"It went really well," Smith said. "For a school of our size, that's pretty good. We had overcast skies, but no rain."

The Bulldogs picked up a move-in from Jefferson County, when 2014 WR Ladarian Smiley will add to the receiving corps, led by Rivals.com four-star receiver Moral Stephens and Chance Rogers. QB Daniel Wentworth returns from last year's 6-5 playoff team.

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