With the first practice taking place Monday night, I thought I'd take a look at some of the things to watch for this month as the Blue Devils try and get ready for what they and most other NEC observers believe will be a run at another NEC title.

1) The running back situation: A staple of any Jeff McInerney team is the running game, and Central has two players at that spot who come into camp with question marks. We all know what Brian Fowler can do on the field, but will his injured shoulder hold up for a full season at a position that gets hit as much, if not more, than anyone else on the field?
Kevin Woolfolk was good during the spring game. Is he ready to take on more of a role? If so, does Central split time in the backfield?

2) The Gunnar show: Gunnar Jespersen became a leader in what seemed to be about 10 minutes last season. With a full year under his belt and another spring and summer of running the show, is he poised to have a real breakout year? How much can he be helped by the running game?

3) But to whom will he throw it?: Denzell Jones was probably as good a receiver as Central had in the spring along with tight end Anthony Julbes. Jones is explosive, but Central will either have to develop some sure WR threats or lean heavily on the run again.

4) Stop the ball: Central's defense wasn't bad on paper, but couldn't get big stops against the best teams on the schedule a year ago. Clamping down and giving the offense a little more breathing room would be a huge help to a title run.

5) Special intrests: Replacing kicker Joe Izzo will be key, as will kickoff coverage. One of the problems the defense faced last year was that it was up against a short field too often. Having the opponent start further back in its own end will help lower the PA column for the Blue Devils in 2011.

6) Health: The biggest one is always the health of the team by the time camp ends. If the Blue Devils have their whole team intact come September, they can get off to a good start. But any big injury this month can derail a great year before it ever offically begins.

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