Pels show promise in first week of drills
The first week of preseason practice drills gave Port Allen head football coach Don Gibson much of what he expected.
The second-year coach sees plenty of bright spots with his team, but they still have a long way to go, he said.
“It’s pretty much what you’d see out of the first week,” he said. “The kids are enthusiastic, they’re excited and they’re ready to get in to the season.”
At the same time, the first week meant the players had a lot of kinks to work out, something that’s still the case for the team a week later.
On a team that has three seniors – T.J. Shepherd, Travonte Scott and Michael Johnson — but top-heavy with sophomores and juniors, repetition will likely be the primary focus of attention.
“We have a lot of kids who are working with very raw skills right now, so it’s going to be a matter of getting them a lot of repetition so they can build confidence,” Gibson said.
A lot of the repetition will involve the honing of the offensive schemes.
“It’s just going to take working on it over and over,” Gibson said. “It’s new to a lot of these players, so the only way to get past that is to work on it over and over.”
The Pelicans practiced in shoulder pads Monday for the first time in the preseason run, which itself brought a new phase to the practice.
“I thought they looked pretty good for the first day in pads, although it took time for them to get adjusted to it,” he said. “It’s all part of the process.”
The Pelicans will don the full gear starting Thursday, eight days before they host White Castle in a preseason scrimmage at Guy Otwell Field.
“The kids are excited,” he said. “The enthusiasm and work ethic are well into play, and we’re fortunate to have a group of very well-disciplined players, and that’s one of the most important elements,” he said. “If we can build on what we have already, I think we have a chance to have a really good season.”
The Pelicans kick off the season with jamboree action Aug. 23 at Livonia. PAHS entertains arch rival Brusly in the regular season opener Aug. 31.
Practice makes Panthers
The pads are on, which means the high school football season is getting closer and closer.
The Brusly Panthers conducted their first practice in pads Monday as the team ramps up preparations for the 2018 season.
The excitement surrounding the padded practice was dulled to some degree, albeit for about 20 minutes, thanks to weather that passed through the area.
However, that didn’t stop the Panthers from getting off on a good note, according to head coach Hoff Schooler.
“One of the best things out of the day was how the guys responded to sudden change,” he said. “We went out and tried to get going, went through about 15-20 minutes worth and then weather came in, ran us off the field, but they handled it well. We got off the field, let the weather pass and they were able to pick right back up where they left off and actually they were better when we came back.”
Schooler added that the offensive line had one of its best practices to date and that having the pads on allowed the big guys up front to bang around.
He emphasized the coaching staff’s ability of maximizing the team’s strengths and he isn’t worried about piling too much on the players.
“We’re going to keep putting in as much as they can handle,” Schooler explained. “Coaches have done a really good job of finding the things that our kids do best and focusing on that and the kids have responded to it.”
The time leading up to the team’s scrimmage at home against Dunham and McKinley on Aug. 17 will be used to focus on fundamentals, the coach said.
“This week will be more about the run-game stuff that you can’t do during the summer because you’re not in pads, really focusing on the fundamentals defensively, tackling, running to the ball, being in the right spot, fitting where we need to fit,” Schooler said. “The first chance you see it in shorts, but it’s not the same as seeing it full speed and in pads.
“We have to make sure we’re finishing blocks and runs, making sure we’re in the right spot,” he continued. “You don’t really get to finish in shorts, but in pads, we need to learn how to finish. Whether it be offensively, defensively or special teams, we need to finish the play.”