Nearly three months removed from their spring game, the Brusly Panther football team took the field Monday afternoon to mark the first official day of practice.
Monday’s milestone was met with blistering temperatures as the Panthers battled the unrelenting heat for practice that lasted around an hour and a half.
“I think everybody, coaches, and players included are always anxious to get out in pads and see what you did in the summer if you can build on that,” said Brusly head coach Hoff Schooler Monday after practice. “They did a good job fighting through the heat. It’s hot today and they came out half shell and were able to get through the practice and got some good out of it.”
Brusly was last seen on the gridiron in May against Albany during its spring game. Schooler lauded the work put in over the summer to get his team prepared for the physical grind of the season.
“I think our summer program was probably the toughest one we’ve had since we’ve been here,” he admitted. “The strength and conditioning part of it, the weight part of it. The expectations are ramped up. Everybody knows what they’re doing in the weight room. Now it’s time to take another step and get stronger and get more. They did a good job. They’re in good shape, they’re in good condition and you need that.”
The Panthers enter the season with a new offensive coordinator, Earvin Moore and some new offensive wrinkles to instill before the Sept. 6 Sugarcane Classic matchup to open the season against Port Allen.
Schooler said new offensive play-caller or not, the approach for his team is the same.
“It’s still about playing Brusly football and going out and being a physical team and getting after it and playing as hard as we can play for 48 minutes,” he said. “The plays don’t matter one way or the other. It’s the effort and attitude that we come out and practice with every day that translates to Friday night.”
Brusly will rely heavily on its run game this season, which has gone through somewhat of an overhaul between the offensive line and the ball carriers. The Panthers lost three offensive linemen and three of their top rushers from last season.
“The first thing we did disappointing today was put the ball on the ground,” Schooler said. “We can’t put the ball on the ground and expect to do what we want to do. We have to protect the football. We’re going to get better at that. Everybody talks about the running backs, but really it’s up front (offensive line) and up front, we lost three starters and the guys who are filling in are doing a good job. They’re not where they need to be, but they’re taking steps each day to get to that point.”
With less than a month remaining before the 2019 season begins, the Brusly coach said a big focus will be on the basics.
“Everybody gets lost in the Xs and Os,” he said. “We want to make sure we take care of the fundamentals and make sure those things are where they need to be and just the teamwork and being excited for each other and pushing each other and challenging each other every day. Each guy needs to go as hard as he can go, he’s making his teammate better when he does that.”
Brusly will take on Dunham in scrimmage action at home Aug. 23 at 6 p.m.