Tigers complete first spring under Richardson

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Donaldsonville is trying to rebound after a 3-7 season in 2015. Photo by Kyle Riviere .

That’s one spring in the books for Donaldsonville under first-year head coach Brian Richardson.

The Tigers wrapped up their spring session last week, and Richardson was happy with how smoothly things transpired for his team.

“It has been great. There has been a lot of learning. The guys have been learning new schemes and getting to know the new coaching staff,” Richardson said.

Richardson took over as head coach shortly after the 2015 season came to a close when Benny Guilbeaux departed from the school after three seasons.

He is a former Donaldsonville player and a Southern University graduate. He served as an assistant for one season at Southern Lab, and he has been an assistant for the Tigers for 15 years.

He couldn’t be happier leading the Tigers into 2016.

“It has been unbelievable. This is something that I’ve dreamed about since I was a little kid,” Richardson said. “I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. It’s great because people I grew up with, people who are my friends, I’m getting the chance to coach their kids, so it’s really an honor and a pleasure.”

He will certainly have his work cut out for him in his first year. Donaldsonville is coming off of a 3-7 campaign where they missed the playoffs for the first time in three years.

In addition to the losing record, the Tigers will be losing some of their best players. This includes an LSU signee in receiver Stephen Sullivan—a first-team all-district selection and All-Parish Offensive MVP.

They also lost their defensive MVP in all-district star and Tulsa signee Tyarise Stevenson. Stevenson has been the anchor of the Donaldsonville defensive line for the past two seasons.

Finally, the Tigers have lost a three-year starter at quarterback in Southern signee Tyler Brown. Brown was a second-team All-Parish selection in 2015.

One of the most important aspects of the Tigers’ spring has been finding someone to replace Brown.

“We had a wide-open quarterback competition with four guys competing. Jaylin Williams has probably been the guy that has stood out the most between the four,” Richardson said. “It’s tough losing a guy like Tyler Brown. He was a great player for us for so long, and he was almost like a coach out on the field. He had so much experience and knew all the reads.”

Williams was one of the Tigers’ top receivers from last season—earning second-team all-district and All-Parish honors. However, he did see some snaps at quarterback.

Despite the losses, Richardson thinks his team will be the strongest in the trenches. They return all-district performers like Davon Wright and Tahj Brown.

“I think our strength will be the offensive and defensive lines. We have the most experience there,” Richardson said. “That’s where the guys have come further along. They really play together well. They’ve formed a brotherhood, and they carry each other well.”

Regardless of what happens on the field, Richardson is looking to make his players better men. To him, that’s the most important part of his job.

“My main goal is getting our guys ready to graduate with a high-quality education. If they have that, football will take care of itself,” Richardson said. “We want to groom these guys and mold them into great young men that can go on to represent our school and our community well on and off of the field.”