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State title doesn’t change Rams’ approach to spring practice

  • Tags:
  • Spring Practice
  • By:
  • George Becnel
  • Posted:
  • May 03, 2018 - 6:55pm

A state championship in 2017 hasn't changed to approach to this year's spring practice for West St. John coach Brandon Walters (center) and his Rams.

Capturing the Class 1A state title has served as sort of a seal of approval of what the West St. John Rams have felt all along.

“We always felt we had a target on our back,” said West St. John coach Brandon Walters on the second day of the Rams’ spring practice session on Thursday. “We get the best from everybody. We know we have a target on our backs. Now, it’s time to defend and learn how to play when everybody thinks that you are the guy or believe they are getting the team they played last year.

“We see a different group of kids, although some are still here. We want them to understand and believe that we can come back and have the same kind of year we had and be equally successful. We know we are playing with a target on our back and we will get everybody’s best attention and we just have to be prepared in everything we do.”

Because of that mentality, the Rams have always worked as if they were being pursued by someone, so having a state title to defend hasn’t altered much around Edgard.

“We’ve lived that since I’ve been here,” Walters said. “We play thinking that everybody wants our neck because people want to be able to get that skin on the wall and say, ‘We beat West St. John.’ Right now, it doesn’t matter if it’s checkers or tennis or whatever, everybody when you put that blue ‘West St. John’ on, everybody wants a piece and we will get ready for that type of football.”

State championship or not, Walters, a former offensive linemen, always puts his coaching emphasis on the line of scrimmage.

“We are working every area but my biggest thing this year; we want to solidify the trenches. That’s what we were pretty good at last year in those areas so we want to go back and make sure those guys know everything they need to do and that they are hungry, ready to play, are in good shape and can handle the physicality of doing it the way we do it,” the West St. John coach said.

The Rams will continue spring drills before concluding by hosting a four-team scrimmage beginning at 5:30 p.m. May 16. Joining West St. John in the event will be Riverdale, St. Helena and KIPP-Booker T. Washington.

All four teams will get a chance to face one another in the game.

“Everybody will play everybody. We will keep mixing it up. It will be a real good scrimmage. Everybody will get a lot of work on offense and defense. We will keep it moving so nobody is sitting around waiting and watching the other guys. As we keep rotating and switching and everybody will play their offense and defense against each of the teams. We will go for as long as we want to go or until we say, ‘hey, that’s enough.’ It will have a good-structured scrimmage for a certain amount of plays drawn out and we will stick with it,” Walters explained.

George Becnel | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

George Becnel is an award-winning journalist and has been a sports writer and editor for more than 30 years.