Summer football drills focus primarily on physical conditioning and the basic regimen of the game, but a more critical aspect figures into the framework – and so far, it’s going well for the Port Allen Pelicans.
Attitude has stood out most during the early weeks of the summer conditioning drills, second-year head coach Don Gibson said.
“I’m very proud of the kids so far,” he said Monday. “They understand the expectations of the coaching staff, and they realize what it will take to get our program where it needs to be.”
Gibson hopes the work ethic and positive mindset will ignite a spark that will lead to Port Allen’s first winning record in five years.
A 40-man roster means the Pels need to tap into the potential of every player on the lineup, regardless of their amount of experience, Gibson said. Returning standouts such as offensive tackle/defensive end Traveon Scott, linebacker/offensive tackle T.J. Shepard and Edward Wilson –who has worked at receiver, cornerback and several other positions –will all play a vital role on the lineup.
Justin Lewis will also be a significant asset for the defense at guard and tackle, while Myles Hopkins will ignite the defensive secondary. Thomas Shepherd, a lineman on both sides of the ball, will also return this year after he suffered a season-ending injury during the 2017 season.
The sophomore class showed great potential last season, Gibson said, and thus far he sees much of the same from the incoming freshmen.
“Right now, we’re teaching our younger guys about the expectations of our program,” he said. “We have a really good ninth grade, and we had a good class last year, so that says a lot about our future.”
The on-field performance from the players makes Gibson optimistic about the potential for next season, but he said he also stresses the positive attitude off the field.
“These days, that may be more important than what happens on the field,” he said. “We preach that a lot because it’s more than just about football.
“It’s about working hard academically, being a good member of the community and doing the right thing,” Gibson said. “Attitude is everything.”