When Hahnville takes the field Thursday night for their spring game against Rummel, Tiger head man Lou Valdin will be completely focused on the field and not the score board.
|Fans will get a sneak peak at the 2010 edition of the Hahnville Tigers on May 20 when the team hosts the Rummel Raiders at 5 p.m. Rummel eliminated the Tigers from the state playoffs 24-7 last season. Hahnville head man Lou Valdin said his team has been f
"Some coaches want to win everything, but I could care less about the score of the game," Valdin said. "Rummel could score 500 touchdowns on us, but I'm only going to be concerned with how we execute in some key areas."
On offense, that includes blocking, ball control, and successful execution in both the running and passing game. On defense, Valdin said he wants his players to line up right, run to the football and be aggressive.
"And I don't want anyone to get hurt," Valdin added.
The Tigers did well in all of those areas last year as they rolled to a 9-1 record in the regular season before falling to Rummel 24-7 in the third round of the Class 5A playoffs. During that stretch, the Tigers averaged 38 points per game while allowing just 15 points per game.
Offensively, the Tigers will miss running back Alfred Blue, who accounted for more than 1,800 yards of offense while scoring 32 touchdowns. However, Hahnville does return several important players on that side of the ball, including quarterback Brian Ensminger.
Ensminger threw for over 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns while completing 65 percent of his passes.
One of his top targets from last year, James Butler, has graduated, but receivers Derek Howard and Dontrell Strickland will both be back. Running back Ahmad White, who averaged almost 6 yards a carry last season, will shoulder the load on the ground.
"Normally, you find some surprises during the spring, but there really weren't any on offense," Valdin said. "The guys we knew were going to be good have all played well this spring."
Defensively, the Tigers have almost everyone back, including defensive linemen Linzell Rhodes and Eric Simpson, and linebackers Ben Taylor, Treval Dunmiles, Chris Campbell and Brody Bourg. In the secondary, Harry Celestine and Dyrenell Robinson will bring experience to the cornerback position.
One spot that will have to be filled is safety due to the graduation of Brion James. Valdin said James was his team's best defensive player last year.
"We have looked good on defense and we have actually had some players step up and surprise us," Valdin said. "You see them play on the field and you’re like 'where did that kid come from?'"
Valdin said he and his staff have had a lot of time to evaluate their players this spring because good weather has allowed his squad to get a lot of work in. The team has been focusing mainly on fundamentals and Valdin said he doesn't believe this is the time to install plays for either the offense or the defense.
"We ran some offenses this spring that we will probably never use during the season. We just knew that our defense was going to see those types of offenses next year and we wanted to let them work on defending them," Valdin said. "We also ran a lot more zone this spring than we do during the season because we knew our offense had to see zone."
The spring is also a time to make sure that the right players are in the right spots.
“You are mostly replacing guys that you lost, but you also have to make sure the guys coming back are in the right position,” Valdin said. “You might have a guy on defense who is better suited to offense or a guy on offense who should be playing defense.”
While Valdin has had plenty of time to evaluate, the main test comes on May 20.
"You can really tell a lot about your players when they take on another team," Valdin said. "On offense, we want our line, running backs and receivers to get a lot of reps because they are young.
"On defense, we just want to line up right, be physical and run to the football."