Destrehan head coach Chris Stroud came away impressed with the play of two separate defenses after the Garnet squad battled the Gray squad to a 7-7 tie in the school’s spring game on Saturday.
It also looks like the staff achieved their goal of pitting two completely balanced teams against each other by drafting packages of players. For example, coaches could chose one offensive package that included starting quarterback Dillon Dent and running back Kevin Smith or another one that started backup quarterback Donovan Isom and the team’s top offensive weapon, receiver Rickey Jefferson.
“I was really pleased with the effort of all the players and it helped that we had two balanced teams out there,” Stroud said. “It’s been a while since we’ve played the Garnet and Gray game and they were really excited.
“We had a lot of good competition.”
Stroud singled out the play of both defenses, which were each mixed with starters and backups.
“The defense should be ahead in the spring, but I was really pleased with how they played in a 7-7 game,” he said. “Defensive linemen Dereck Robinson, Marrick Charles and B.J. Singleton played great and our linebackers, including guys like Gary Johnson and Orelyn Chopin, looked good as well.”
As for the secondary, the Wildcats will still be looking for starters in the fall because of the abundance of players fighting for positions.
“We have eight guys fighting for starting roles and they all played well, so we really weren’t able to see who will start at some of the positions,” he said. “The good thing is that we will have plenty of depth there.”
Offensively, Jefferson shined by breaking several big runs and coming down with some big catches, but he was kept out of the end zone.
“Rickey Jefferson looked good, but I was pleased with the way the defense was able to pursue him and cut him off,” Stroud said.
Both Dent and Isom played well at times, though Stroud said there were some mistakes made on the offensive side of the ball.
“But you are going to have that in the spring,” he said.
One surprise on offense was the emergence of a few young receivers, including Larry Holden, who scored his team’s only touchdown.
One concern is the lack of depth on the offensive line. A few players at the position quit during the spring.
“We did find five or six guys that can compete there, which would be fine as long as we don’t have any injuries,” Stroud said. “But we have got to get a lot more depth there.”
Stroud will enter his second year as head coach next season and said that the consistency between the players and the coaches has put the team farther ahead this spring than they were last spring.
“I’ve been in my position for a year and our offensive staff has now been in place for a whole year as well so that has allowed us to add some things on offense and get the ball into our playmakers’ hands,” he said.
And that familiarity has helped the squad accomplish everything they set out to during the spring.
“We worked on fundamentals, concentrated on techniques and just taught football,” Stroud said. “The guys really responded and we had a lot of physical drills.
“A lot of our questions were answered.”