Tigers working hard as fall scrimmage looms
The Donaldsonville Tigers wrapped up their first week of fall practice last week, and third-year head coach Benny Guilbeaux said he was happy with how his team performed.
The Tigers are trying to work out the kinks before they get their first taste of action this Friday night.
"For the most part, our conditioning is decent," Guilbeaux said. "My first year, we started off with 70 kids, but we ended up with about 40. It was different things--grades and acts of attrition. Hopefully, we can get past the jamboree with roughly 60 kids, and I believe we'll be able to sustain that. I think we're in decent shape."
One of the areas of encouragement for Donaldsonville thus far has been the array of young and hungry players that have been stepping up and making strides since the spring.
"We have five JV games this year. Hopefully, that'll be enough to keep the young guys around because around week nine and 10 and around the playoffs, we're really going to be depending on some of these guys," Guilbeaux said. "It gives them the opportunity to get some plays under their belts and prepare for the future
Ever since spring practice, the Tigers have been working feverishly to upgrade their rushing attack.
In Guilbeaux's first two seasons, Donaldsonville was blessed with explosive receivers like Leandre James and Jaquel Gant. However, those dangerous wideouts are now gone.
Though, they do bring back a seasoned offensive line that could open up some big running lanes.
Guilbeaux said the transition has been going well.
"We have two guys returning that are seniors--Davin Johnson and Colby Bozeman--and we have an up-in-coming sophomore named Jamal Pleasance," Guilbeaux said. "We have about five freshman. Once they get acclimated to the system, they'll definitely help us out with our outside runs, and we'll have an opportunity to control the ball some."
He said that clock management is another huge reason why a productive rushing attack will be so vital in 2015.
"When you throw the ball on first down and it's incomplete, that can make second and third kind of rough," Guilbeaux said. "There have been a couple of games in the past where we've been up, but we couldn't maintain our success running to be able to run down the clock. As a result, we were on the losing end of some of those games."
Defensively, Stephen Sullivan has seen much more action at defensive end this fall.
Guilbeaux said that he expects him to be a terror to opposing quarterbacks.
"When he's on defense, he has pretty much one responsibility: get to the quarterback," Guilbeaux said. "He's 6-foot-6, and on the grass, he clocked a legitimate 4.4, and that's not bad at all for weighing about 235. So, I think we can expect some big things from him on offense, defense and on special teams."
Donaldsonville will compete with both Country Day and Scotlandville in a three-way fall scrimmage this Friday night at 6 p.m., at Floyd Boutte Stadium.
Guilbeaux wants to see his team make some progressions as the regular season looms.
"I'd like to see guys being more polished. We still don't have all of our DBs back, so we're dealing with that," Guilbeaux said. "We have upperclassmen, but they haven't played a lot of football. We want to have them in the position where if they do get beat, they can refocus and not repeat the same error".