If you had to pick one game where Lamarq Caldwell hit his stride for the Tampa Bay Tech football team last season, it would have to be the Brandon game in Week 8.
After delivering an inspiring pregame speech to his teammates about playing as one unit and focusing on the playoffs, Caldwell rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns and caught a 2-point conversion pass in the Titans' 24-6 district win over the previously unbeaten Eagles.
And shortly after the game, Caldwell and his coaches learned he had suffered a broken collarbone during the game and had played the entire fourth quarter with the injury.
Caldwell was forced to the sidelines for the remainder of the season, including both of TBT's playoff games, and left to wonder "what if.''
"That was crazy. My season just ended like that,'' Caldwell said. "It was disappointing and at the same time, shocking.''
No wonder Caldwell is eagerly anticipating his senior season with the Titans. Not only is he healthy, bigger and stronger, new coach Jayson Roberts has scrapped TBT's long-standing veer/option offense and, under first-year offensive coordinator Mo Harris, has switched to a pro set.
In that scheme, big-play athletes like Caldwell, who is expected to line up in any number of positions, including fullback, halfback and slot receiver, should have more of a chance to shine.
"This (new offense) is definitely going to help us be athletes, that's what we're looking for because these are the type of offenses they're running at the collegiate level,'' said the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Caldwell. "We have a lot of depth at running back, receiver — any position you can think of.
"This offense is going to provide a lot more distribution (of the ball) to the people who can make plays.''
Now that Caldwell is a known commodity, Roberts is looking forward to using him to his fullest potential, which will include regular duty at linebacker.
But more than anything else, Roberts says he will be counting on Caldwell to continue his role as a leader, both vocally and by example.
"He's the type of guy every coach wants on the field because of that leadership role he provides,'' Roberts said. "You never have to say anything to him about effort or intensity. And when younger kids see that from your seniors, it's invaluable to you as a coach.''