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Three questions: Culpeper

CULPEPER BLUE DEVILS

Coach: Ken Wakefield (first year)

Last year’s record: 1-9

Last playoff season: 2001

HOW’S THE ATTITUDE AFTER A DOWN STRETCH?

Culpeper won just eight games in five seasons under former coach Mike Williams. But his successor, Ken Wakefield, says he didn’t inherit a team with a losing mentality. It helps that he has 17 seniors who would like to reverse that trend before they graduate. “From day one, I was really surprised,” Wakefield says. “We need a culture change, but it goes back to the senior leadership. Right away, they were in the weight room. They want to be the ones that turn this around.” Having a new coach and a new district (the Evergreen) also helps foster a sense of change.

CAN THE DEFENSE CARRY THE LOAD EARLY?

Culpeper allowed 323 points in its first nine games last season before ending with a shutout of Caroline. Wakefield expects his veteran defense to be markedly improved, and it may need to be—especially early in the season, as the offense tries to develop rhythm. Wakefield has two solid building blocks in seniors Bill Hogan and Marcellus Greene. Hogan is a tackling machine at linebacker, and Greene should anchor the front from his defensive tackle position along with fellow senior Darion Romeo.

CAN THE OFFENSIVE LINE PROVIDE STABILITY?

As of Wednesday, Wakefield said most of the starting blocking positions were still up for grabs. Fortunately, he said, that’s because the Blue Devils have more depth along the line than in past years, fostering healthy competition. Romeo (240 pounds) and Chaz Joliffe (280) are good bets to start at tackle and protect whomever starts at quarterback, Jeremy Robinson or sophomore Hunter Crim. “We’ll definitely pass the eyeball test,” Wakefield quipped. “We’ll look good getting off the bus.”

–Steve DeShazo

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